Invitation to DieMy name is Dr. Muriel Crowther. I’m British and I live in London. As a philosopher, I’m used to talking at academic conferences. I have written a handful of books on the subject of ethics. I’m not shy of the limelight. But it is a new experience for me to see my recent adventures with Emily Castles written up in a murder mystery series! Emily is my neighbor. She’s a delightful young woman who lives across the street from me. I met her at a rather strange party in a big, empty house that had been taken over by a troupe of avant-garde circus performers on bonfire night last November. Emily was convinced that she had seen someone killed right in front of her… but there was no sign of a body. So we teamed up to try to discover what had happened.

It’s part of my job to ask lots of questions. Emily enjoys answering them. Solving puzzles is a hobby of hers, you could say. Despite the difference in our ages—I must be thirty years older than Emily, I should think—we get on very well. We share a similar quirky sense of humor. Older people like to say, don’t they, that a younger person is “like a daughter” or “like a son” to them. I don’t feel motherly toward Emily. She’s a younger comrade-in-arms. By chance, we have had several amusing adventures together. I hope these will continue. But I do wish people wouldn’t keep dying around us. That really is most inconvenient for the victims, and tragic for their families, of course.

So you’re wondering what I do with myself all day, when I’m not stumbling over dead bodies with Emily? I spend a lot of my time thinking. One or two days a week I teach undergraduate philosophy students. But I also travel all over the world to lecture on the subject of ethics. You’ll see me on cruise ships or at authors’ conferences. I recently attended a conference of psychics, philosophers and sceptics in Torquay called Belief and Beyond. Before that, I was scheduled to speak at a romance writers’ conference in Bloomsbury, London. But unfortunately an American blogger was lured there to her death, poor woman, and the program had to be abandoned. In order to make a living talking, I have to have something to say. And in order to have something to say, I have to spend a lot of time thinking. It’s all about thinking! That’s what my days involve.

When I’m not working, I enjoy gardening—another interest shared with Emily—and making marmalade. If you’ve never had it, marmalade is a bitter-tasting orange jam that’s popular with British people. We spread it on our toast in the morning. I’m very proud of my marmalade and I shall be entering a pot of it into the domestic exhibits at the Lambeth Country Fair in Brixton this summer. But, you know, one of the best things about gardening and cooking is that your mind is free. So I never stop thinking.

Helen is giving away one (1) digital copy of INVITATION TO DIE for Kindle only. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The e-book will be sent directly by the author. Contest ends June 22.

You can read more about Dr. Muriel and Emily in Invitation to Die, the first full-length novel in the “Emily Castles” mystery series. Emily is also featured in two novellas, Three Sisters and Showstoppers.

Invitation To Die
Twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles is out of work… again. So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely offers her a job helping out at a conference in London, Emily accepts. Just as eagerly, American blogger Winnie Kraster accepts an invitation from Morgana to attend as a guest, not realizing she has, in effect, accepted an invitation to die.

As a cast of oddball characters assembles at the conference hotel, grievances, differences, and secrets begin to emerge. When Winnie goes missing, and then is found murdered nearby, Emily begins to suspect that someone involved with the conference is responsible. Could it be one of the organizers, one of the authors, a member of the hotel staff, or even the supplier of the chocolates for the conference gift bags? Emily teams up with guest speaker and eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel to find out.

Offbeat and engaging, this entertaining comic mystery is the first full-length novel featuring amateur British sleuth Emily Castles.

Meet the author
Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of Alison Wonderland, Being Light and The Miracle Inspector as well as the Emily Castles mysteries. Visit Helen at

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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