28 May 2023

Review: AN A-LIST FOR DEATH, Pamela Hart

  • this edition published 2022, made available by my local library
  • published by HQ Fiction
  • ISBN 978-1-8672-0189-2
  • 353 pages
  • Author website
  • #2 in the Poppy McGowan series

Synopsis (author website)

Shooting for fame could end your career … and your life. A sparkling mystery from a stylish new voice in crime fiction, in a book that will delight fans of Richard Osman and Kerry Greenwood.

TV researcher Poppy McGowan has never sought the spotlight and is none too happy to be photographed with rock god Nathan Castle. When the photo pops up on celebrity gossip sites, it sparks a media feeding frenzy, forcing Poppy to go to ground, don a wig, and pull some nifty moves to escape a tailing car. And she cops abuse from Nathan’s outraged fans.

None of this would have happened if Poppy had not found Nathan’s mother Daisy, one-time glamour girl and elderly best friend of her Aunty Mary, bleeding and unconscious in her bathroom. The police dismiss the case as an accident, but Poppy is sure there are questions to be answered. Who attacked Daisy, and why? Will she come out of her coma? What secrets are her gathering family hiding? What happens to Daisy’s money if she dies?

When a murder occurs outside Daisy’s flat, the police step in at last. Unfortunately, they finger Poppy’s boyfriend, Tol, for the crime – after all, he had bad blood with the victim. As Daisy’s money-hungry family circle, amid hints of poisoning, bribery and blackmail, Poppy must find a way to clear Tol’s name and ensure Daisy’s safety.  

My Take

To me, this novel feels a cross between chick-lit, geezer-lit, and a cozy.

If none of those terms are familiar to you, then perhaps the closest is cozy, although there are a couple of nasty deaths and a couple of close calls.

The narrator is the heroine, Poppy McGowan herself, a youngish woman who works for the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) on producing research material for children's programs. This role gets Poppy into Museums and other places which might be difficult to crack. So an Australian writer, using Australian settings.

The novel is tightly plotted although I found the main plot a little implausible. However the characters are strong and believable.

My rating: 4.5

About the author
Pamela Hart is my married name and The Soldier’s Wife was my first book under that name, inspired by my grandfather’s service as an ANZAC at Gallipoli (see The Story behind The Soldier’s Wife). Since then, I’ve enjoyed working with other true stories set in and after WWI. Each book has given rise to the next, as I stumble over wonderful stories while doing the research for the current book. As Pamela Freeman, I’ve written children’s fiction, epic fantasy, crime fiction and children’s poetry. You can find out more about my other books here.

I became seriously interested in historical fiction when I wrote The Black Dress, a fictional account of the childhood of Mary MacKillop in the Australia of the 1840s-1860s.

I have a Doctor of Creative Arts in Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney, and I teach writing (face-to-face and online) at the Australian Writers’ Centre.

My writing started when I was a children’s scriptwriter for ABC Kids, which was where I began to write children’s stories. But then I found that I wanted to tell stories for adults, too, and particularly stories about women’s lives, loves, tears and joys.

I live in Sydney with my husband and son and many musical instruments. (I’m a drummer – or at least I’m learning to be one!)

I love to keep in touch with my readers, so follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


    The Black Dress, NSW Premier’s History Prize, 2006
    Victor’s Challenge, Aurealis Award, 2009
    Ember and Ash, Aurealis Award, 2011
    Desert Lake, ASO Librarian’s Choice Award, 2017
    Shortlistings: NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Romantic Book of the Year Australia (the Ruby), Romantic Book of the Year UK (the Rona), Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards, Koala Awards, Wilderness Society Environment Award, Speech Pathology Awards.

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