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How to Host a Killer Party by Penny Warner
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How to Host a Killer Party: 06/05/10

cover art

Last January Booking Through Thursday asked for our recommendations of "favorite unknown" authors. I posted about Penny Warner and quickly received a lovely response from her with an offer to review her newest book, How to Host a Killer Party. I was even invited to the launch party which I attended and came home with bookmarks and other fun stuff. So please go into this review knowing that I am a fan who carried my review copy around as if it were glued to my hand for the week I was reading it.

In How to Host a Killer Party, Warner introduces a new sleuth, Presley Parker, a party planner who lives and works out of Treasure Island. Her first big event is the crime themed wedding of the San Francisco mayor, staged on Alcatraz. Unfortunately for Presley the girlfriend and then the original event planner are murdered.

Even if I hadn't been a fan of Penny Warner's, I would have wanted to read this for a number of reasons. First and foremost: my experience with event planning. Secondly, the location: it's set in and about San Francisco. Finally, the genre: it is a cozy mystery, a favorite genre of mine.

My grandmother worked as a wedding coordinator. It was a job she sort of fell into. As she was also my primary care provider after school while my parents worked, I fell into being her assistant. So starting off a new mystery series with a wedding reception gone completely wrong gave me a personal connection making the book all the more special. As it turns out Penny Warner, when she's not writing, she works as an event planner (doing more than just weddings). Her experience comes through in How to Host a Killer Party.

Next is the location: San Francisco. It's not San Francisco as viewed by an outsider (Fisherman's Warf, Golden Gate Bridge and Sauselito as a neighborhood). Instead, it's San Francisco from an insider: Treasure Island, San Francisco State, and Sauselito being a city in North Bay). Although the mayor in the book is fictional, anyone who's familiar with the City's politics will nod along and snicker. Likewise, Treasure island's history and current revival is there making me want to plan a drive out there.

Finally there's genre. I like all sorts of mysteries but the cozies are lovely to curl up with or read in snatches. I did both with this book: carrying it in my purse to read whenever I could and enjoy a chapter before bed.

As it turns out, the second book in the series is coming out in August. I plan to treat myself to a copy of How to Crash a Killer Bash for my birthday.

I received a signed copy from the author for review but I would have bought a copy anyway.

Comments (10)

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Comment #1: Sunday, June, 6, 2010 at 07:49:08

Buffy Garber

Thanks for sharing this book with us! It's been added to my list of "stuff to put on hold at the library when my holds account is more open"

Comment #2: Monday, June 7, 2010 at 11:40:47


The book's well worth clearing a spot on your holds account. Happy reading!

Comment #3: Sunday, June, 6, 2010 at 18:14:14

Penny Warner

What a nice review! Thanks so much!

I loved that your grandmother was a wedding planner. You could write your own book, I'm sure.

And I love your writing style.

Thanks again for the kind review.
Best, Penny

Comment #4: Monday, June 7, 2010 at 11:43:18


Thanks! My grandmother actually planned my wedding too with help from my husband. It was the last wedding she did. Having helped her with so many weddings had worn me out. I decided I wanted to be surprised by my own wedding. All I picked was my dress.

Comment #5: Friday, June, 11, 2010 at 07:23:22


Nice review. I like cozy mysteries as well. I saw this while browsing at B&N and immediately added it to my TBR list. I'm always looking for a new series to start reading.

Comment #6: Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 21:31:27


I have enjoyed every book by Penny Warner that I've read. Happy reading!

Comment #7: Friday, June, 11, 2010 at 21:53:48


Hi, followed over from Blogger Hop. I HEART a good cozy mystery and this certainly sounds like one.

Thanks for the review. I'm going to have some fun going through all your posts.

Have a great weekend, Bonnie

Comment #8: Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 21:35:15


Check out my archive of mystery reviews. Scroll down to W to learn about other Penny Warner books.

Comment #9: Tuesday, April, 12, 2011 at 12:34:05

Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

Ok, this sounds really cute. I love cozy mysteries but haven't picked up any good ones this year. I'll look for this one at the library this summer.

Comment #10: Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 19:42:23


It's a cute series. Book #3 is my favorite so far.

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