Your Preview Verdict: Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Your Preview Verdict: Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle meet Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club in this fiendishly clever blend of classic and modern murder mystery.

Following a heated auction in Hollywood, film/TV rights were sold to HBO. Major rights deals have been completed in the US, UK and 16 translation territories so far!

I was dreading the Cunningham family reunion even before the first murder.

Before the storm stranded us at the mountain resort, snow and bodies piling up.

The thing is, us Cunninghams don’t really get along. We’ve only got one thing in common: we’ve all killed someone.

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

What an entertaining book! Cleverly written in a very chatty conversational style with the reader. Felt much more like an easy reading light humour book than a heavy murder mystery, but still had all the suspense, twists, character development of a good murder mystery. A great read. Megan, NSW, 5 Stars

What a cracker of a book “Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone” is! Its not your typical murder mystery although it kind of is: family get together at a luxury mountain retreat, loads of familial tension, murder and mayhem in the midst of a snowstorm and the “hero” endeavouring to solve the crime before there are further deaths. The author, Benjamin Stevenson, has great fun playing with the genre, voicing his reluctant sleuth, Ernest, in the first person. Ernest writes books on how to write books – mystery thrillers – and finds himself in the middle of his own murder mystery involving his extended family, with the body count increasing. The prologue even announces the pages on which there will be deaths, however the plot twists and turns and nothing is what it seems. I loved this book: fast paced, original, comedic writing with unexpected outcomes. Fenella, NSW, 5 Stars

A very interesting read, a style that takes a bit of getting used to, it’s different to what I usually read but happily have discovered another new author to me, Benjamin Stevenson, remember his name as I think we’ll be hearing more of him. For fans of Agatha Christie and so much like the movie Knives Out. I learned so much as I was constantly googling people, places and historical events. The “ear mark here”: nothing short of ground breaking, makes you feel more involved as you’ve had a part to play if you choose, 10/10 for that clever idea. Make sure you read the prologue, I was hooked by page 4. This book is as teasing and cheeky as any Jack Heath novel and it make you really think to piece it all together. In the beginning I couldn’t tell what era the novel was set in, but once I read “hot-boxing” I knew it was modern! It was page 23 by the time I knew where it was set, but that was a fun read to that point trying to figure it out if it was Australia or the USA or UK. I think the question now is WHO IS GOING TO PLAY ERNIE IN THE MOVIE ADAPTATION? Another excellent pick by Better Reading, thank you!!!!! Louise, NSW, 5 Stars

Benjamin Stevenson has crafted something I didn’t even know I needed with his novel “Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone”. Stevenson artfully infuses comedy into a traditional mystery whodunit set-up. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” and for readers who love a spoiler this is the book for you. Stevenson’s main character Ernest Cunningham lays out the page numbers of the books highlights “dead bodies” in the books prologue. I personally loved knowing when the next body was coming but know it would not please all. Highly recommend and cannot wait to push this book onto all my family and friends. Jaclyn, WA, 5 Stars

Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone is a book I wanted to read just because of its interesting title. The book opens with Ronald Knox’s ten commandments of Detective Fiction. The story is hilariously told by the narrator, Ernest, who promises to be reliable. The Cunninghams have a family union at a remote resort, and someone ends up dead. Ernest, who writes books about how to write books, refers to these ten commandants to find out who did it. The book has an engaging conversational tone, and the set-up gives you Agatha Christie vibes. It is super-witty and fast-paced. You will never be able to guess what will happen on the next page. I would highly recommend this fab read. Divya, NSW, 5 Stars

Ern Cunningham writes “How to Write” crime books for online sale. His advice is based on Ronald Knox’s ’10 Commandments of Detective Fiction’ 1929. Earmark them – they may be manipulated throughout the novel. Ern is joining his family at a remote ski resort for a reunion. Each member has successfully killed someone but how, and why, is tantalizingly, slowly revealed throughout this clever, witty novel. This family are completely wacky starting with his brother Michael, to his highly-strung mother, Audrey, and the OCD Katherine. Ern even offers you the page numbers of the murders so you can skip straight to them. However, don’t deny yourself the beauty, twists and anticipatory joy of how and why the people had to die. Not to mention the theories some family members espouse. Benjamin Stevenson embraces a wonderfully sardonic tone throughout his novel. His ‘asides’ have you agree there are times in a crime novel when you suspend disbelief so long, your mind goes numb. Who doesn’t love a novel that says of where the denouement takes place, ‘Hollywood would be pretty pissed if we didn’t use the library, don’t you think?’. Cynthia, NSW, 5 Stars

Although killing is a serious matter, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud at the quirky writing style of the author. The author’s narrator is Ernest Cunningham and Ernest’s story is about his assorted family (both by blood and marriage). Now, Ern (as Ernest is commonly known) is a sensitive bloke. As an example, Chapter 9 is titled ‘My Wife’ and has only 7 words – “I don’t want to talk about it”. ‘Everyone in My Family has Killed Someone’ is a humorous read and strangely enough a thrilling read with an interesting plot and fascinating characters. Difficult to describe but there are several deaths and many suspects in a forbidding snowstorm at a remote mountain chalet. I loved it! Sandra, ACT, 5 Stars

Loved it! A clever thriller full of dark humour, and enough twists to keep me turning pages. A really good Australian whodunnit with characters you can’t help but like. Will search out other books by this writer for sure! Alanna, QLD, 5 Stars

Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone is the story of the Cunningham family reunion. Told by an unreliable narrator it’s clever, well written and engaging. While often rambling, it’s a great tale of how the human mind reflects on behaviour, both ones own, and that of others. A modern murder mystery, with a big nod to the classic detectives. Kylie, VIC, 5 Stars

I’ve been a long time fan of crime fiction especially noir crime fiction. I was therefore a bit weary of reading Benjamin Stevenson’s new book “Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone”. Knowing that Benjamin Stevenson is a stand-up comedian, made me sceptical about this book’s capacity to keep me engaged. How wrong was I! What a clever writer. From the very beginning, with its unique introduction, I was hooked. Far from my initial hesitation about reading the book, the author had me eagerly turning every page in the hope of uncovering another clue to solve not just one but multiple murders. If you pay close attention to everything the narrator tells you, every word and even punctuation, you too might solve the mystery before he is uncovered to us all. This was an enjoyable, entertaining read with an intriguing delivery, one that will keep you guessing for quite some time. Louisa, SA, 5 Stars

Loved the opening, quite quickly became an engrossing whodunnit murder mystery, extremely entertaining, loved every page. Nicole, VIC, 5 Stars

Absolutely amazing thriller. I was hooked from the prologue. I enjoyed the way the character Ernest narrates it, i thought the authors writing style was very unique & incredibly witty. Absolute page turner from start to finish. Love love love, seriously can’t give it enough positive praise. Very original book & I was surprised that it wasn’t a debut, however it was definitely something I would have bought for myself to read also as i really enjoy books that keep the reader wanting more. Shannan, NSW, 5 Stars

Thank you Better Reading for my ARC of this very clever who done it! Laugh out loud funny (really!), whip smart humour, I loved the conversational tone of the book as the narrator (reliable, no unreliable narrators allowed under the golden rule of fair play) details the worst family get together in the history of family reunions. A fabulous read! Pamela, QLD, 5 Stars

This is a ripper read! The title grabs you first, and just as you are thinking who, why, and when, our devious narrator, Ernest, lures you into the story by releasing selective and often explosive information about his family members. Ernest is a cool character who really wants you to understand his relatives and why they act as they do. In keeping with the time-honoured rules of the Mystery Writers Club, he scrupulously takes the reader into the somewhat dysfunctional world of the Cunningham clan, and chats his way through the action, giving detailed accounts of literally every moment. The tension begins to mount as the family is trapped together in a mountain resort by a snowstorm. We see the best and the worst of each character through Ern’s eyes and his quirky, often hilarious, side comments. When the first body appears, you have already been warned it will happen and even the page number on which it occurs! The reader is caught in a finely orchestrated web of relationships, past actions and a murderer who has his victims just where he wants them. Benjamin Stevenson has crafted a murder mystery worthy of the great tradition. The characters are finely detailed and believable, the plot has many twists and turns, the suspense mounts with each murder and the cleverness of the grand finale takes your breath away. Dianne, WA, 5 Stars

I had such a good time reading this book. Its got the right amount of everything. Suspense, tension, humour, it’s all there. The characters are believably flawed, yet endearing. And the narrator, well he makes the book what it is. Love his little writerly asides, they are a bit of a masterclass in writing crime fiction. Carol, VIC, 5 Stars

I was pretty excited to receive a preview copy of this book! A cross between Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Knives Out! I feel like this book was written exclusively for me! And I wasn’t disappointed. As a mystery fan this book just kept on giving – a Russian doll story of mystery inside mystery inside mystery. Just when you think you have it figured out it all changes on you once again. Hugely entertaining and funny with the author infusing his love of the genre onto every page. High recommended to all mystery and book lovers in general! Sean, ACT, 5 Stars

Engrossing and whip-smart, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone deserves to be a bestseller, both here and internationally. Experienced author Benjamin Stevenson is also an award-winning comedian and those combined skills make this, his latest novel, a must-read. I’ll guarantee you won’t even finish reading Stevenson’s prologue before you begin flipping to page numbers he specifies just to be sure he’s telling the truth. And his declaration: “Have I Killed someone? Yes, I have.” just signals the start of what is a romp of a read. Basically, it’s a story of a family gathering in the Snowy Mountains, a serial killer known as the Black Tongue and, of course, a bag stashed with cash. Stevenson sets the scene perfectly and once the family starts arriving, the pace never slackens. The suspense lasts until the very end of what is one of the best novels I’ve read in years. Don, SA, 5 Stars

Benjamin Stevenson’s novel ‘Everyone in My Family has Killed Someone’ is a comedic, dramatic yet chilled crime delight – filled with clue after clue (or is it a clue!) It’s the kind of story I could see unfolding under lights on stage in a theatre or cinematic release. Keep your eyes peeled as the writer expertly distracts the reader from vital information that this reader didn’t connect till the very end – this was a wonderful surprise. The characters are complex, endearing and cart much baggage – just the type of leads that mysteriously come alive and intrigue you. Jump into this book and you will not be disappointed. Fantastic clue solving ending. Cathy, QLD, 5 Stars

#everyoneinmyfamilyhaskilledsomeone ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ by Benjamin Stevenson is a page turning #whodunnit. The main character interrupts their own story to help you, the reader, keep up and feel included. Full of characters you will love or hate (or both at different points). It follows the dramatic Cunningham reunion, a motley family with more drama than a soap opera! This episode sees the family stranded in a mountain resort with a sleepy cop as the bodies start piling up. No secret is left undisturbed, no family member is safe and no-one has the whole picture. Will there be anyone left alive when the storm moves on? Available from March 2022 from your fav @penguinbooksaus stockist! Mary, SA, 5 Stars

I LOVED this book! It’s so fun, engaging and clever! I definitely did NOT pick who did it, and all the mini-twists and reveals were a delight. All the characters were brilliant, and so well fleshed out even if they only got a few appearances. I had a lot of trouble putting it down because the action and the answers and the questions just kept flowing. Kestrel, NSW, 5 Stars

My family has killed someone is a quirky book which takes you on a family’s journey like no other with interesting twists throughout the book! Rhonda, QLD, 4 Stars

Benjamin Stevenson has written a unique murder mystery, unlike anything I have read before! It was self-aware and lighthearted, with Stevenson regularly breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to the reader – this helped keep me engaged, as well as enhanced my understanding of plot points and developments. It was like a friend catching you up on recent events! Everything tied together nicely. An intriguing read that I couldn’t put down! Rowan, TAS, 4 Stars

This book caught my attention from the title and the fact it is described as Agatha Christie meets Knives out. From the very first page, that advises you to earmark it, I was fascinated. The book is written so different to anything else I have read because the narrator voices things directly to the reader, which makes this book a fun murder mystery. The book is about the Cunningham family reunion and there are quite a few characters, some I liked, some I did not. I found I enjoyed the narrator as a character, and I liked how it was set at a mountain resort. The setting really added to that whodunnit murder mystery, and I felt this book was really easy to binge read because I just could not put it down until I knew how it all ended. I loved the fast-paced storyline, the different narrating style and just everything about this book. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves crime fiction books with an Agatha Christie vibe. Such a great read! Karin, WA, 4 Stars

Benjamin Stevenson’s topical, smart first crime novel “Greenlight” was Ned Kelly award finalist – and fans of his Jack Quick novels won’t be disappointed with this latest standalone gem. Ronald Knox’s 1924 Ten Commandments of crime fiction followed by the greats such as Christie and Conan Doyle, are spelt out on the first page. Here lies the first hint that the plot is a nod to the classic genre of crime whodunnits. Throw in a remote snowbound resort, a dead body and a raft of immediate and extended family members fostering grudges, secrets and motives … and the scene is set. A successful stand up comic as well as a writer, Stevenson delivers a funny, fast paced, twisty filled read as Ernie Cunningham attempts to nail the killer among killers in his family. A dodgy family who still haven’t forgiven him for dobbing on his killer brother. The author also cites the Coen brothers as a great influence and this quirky, funny story definitely has the comedic, quirky, elements. It is a difficult book to review without divulging spoilers – but I would highly recommend it for it’s humour, plot, pace and cheeky wink to the classics. Lizzie, VIC, 4 Stars

Stevenson delivers a novel that reminds us we can’t choose our family. With a dynamic like no other, we are shown a family who have deadly secrets that keep us engaged in the storyline right to the very end. Esther, VIC, 4 Stars

This is not normally the style of writing that would encourage me to read a book – however, because I was lucky enough to receive a free copy, I went ahead and read it, and surprised myself by enjoying it, though I won’t say I am a total convert to this style of writing! I enjoyed the cleverness of the plot, and the way it all came together, and the mystery (which isn’t unusual!) that many things came together differently from what is first assumed when you read what appear to be facts. It was hard to get to know the characters and their personalities, but enough information was given for the reader to feel sympathy or pleasure when outcomes were revealed. On the whole, I enjoyed the book and was pleasantly surprised by how much – and it certainly managed to get me out of my “comfort zone” as far as writing style is concerned. Marilyn, NSW, 4 Stars

A brilliant, fun crime novel based in an Australian ski resort. I was so happy that I wasn’t able to guess the killer until they were revealed and I’m very excited to read more from this author. Celia, SA, 4 Stars

Sharp, witty and original. This is a gripping new take on the classic murder mystery. The characters are fantastic and the plot speeds along, with the final twist an absolute corker – I didn’t see it coming. Combine all that with a ‘locked-in’ setting in alpine Australia, and you have a brilliant read a strong new voice in Aussie crime. Inessa, NSW, 4 Stars

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is the new fast paced book by Benjamin Stevenson and it does not disappoint! It’s the story of a family reunion in the Snowy Mountains, in which all family members have killed someone. The reunion turns deadly and the narrator, Ernest, uses his crime Commandments to help solve the case. The book is action packed with loads of suspense and humour. Highly recommended – 4 stars! Brenda, NSW, 4 Stars

Ernest Cunningham or Ern as he would have you know is the main player in the book “Everyone in my family has killed someone”. He is both supposedly part of the family and the narrator of this story. This novel is broken up into chapters about different members of the family. Read the prologue, it will give an insight into what is going to happen. Occasionally throughout the book, Ern as the narrator will give you a rundown as to what has happened already so that you the reader are up to date. The murder mystery part was clever and well thought out. All in all this was an easy read. I enjoyed it. Although if you are looking for a meaty murder mystery that keeps you enthralled to the last page then maybe this isn’t the book for you. Nicola, VIC, 4 Stars

A really fresh and involving read, kept you really engaged and you know everyone has killed someone in that family. A family that don’t get along at all, an interesting plot line that engages you, the Cunningham family really are a different family and have the bodies to prove it. A great page turner you wont be able to put down. Julie, NSW, 4 Stars

I found this book easy to read and utterly enjoyable from the very first page. After a delightfully short and witty prologue, the reader is plunged straight into the action, and I found it hard to put the book down after that! Benjamin Stevenson has a way of making the reader like all the members of his family, despite the fact that, as the title says, all of them have killed someone. His characters are real, with problems, vices and hang-ups, and you cannot help hoping that all of them will make it out of this novel alive! To be honest, I’m not usually a big fan of murder mysteries, but I’m so glad I gave this one a go. I got to the end of this book and thought, “Well! THAT was fun!” Yvonne, NSW, 4 Stars

A slightly dysfunctional family reunion set in the snow fields of Australia. This book was not your usual murder mystery who done it that I was expecting but I guess the title should have told me that – very different. I enjoyed this book with all its twists and turns and this book will make for some lively discussions if chosen for your monthly book club read, some will like it some will not, I for one enjoyed this book all the way through. Leigh, WA, 4 Stars

As the reader, you need to adjust to the chatty style with the author speaking in asides to the reader. The author helps the reader with the plot by providing little hints and recaps of salient moments every few chapters. I found this story about a dis-functional family amusing at times and enjoyable. A complicated family meets for a weekend reunion in a remote snowy country resort. We learn about the family’s sad and tragic lives that are the result of several events that occurred years previously. The chatty style means that the suspense is not always maintained but the slow reveal of different events kept me interested throughout. The snow country is also a key part of the story. Heather, SA, 4 Stars

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is an unusual murder mystery, involving the reader from the start. An easy enjoyable read with an unexpected twist at the end. A contemporary Who-dunnit, with the feel of a classic, set in the Australian Alps at a secluded ski resort during a blizzard. Here the members of the ‘notorious Cunningham crime family’ have gathered for a family reunion. With a threatening blizzard closing in an unidentified body is discovered in the snow, possibly the victim of a serial killer. Very soon there is a second victim followed by more deaths. Slowly our self-appointed detective and central character, Ernest Cunningham, reveals how every member of his family has killed someone. But who amongst them is the murderer? Following the family’s chequered past and the many twists and turns of the investigation is an enjoyable challenge for the reader. The final reveal, in the library with everyone present, does justice to the murder mystery genre. The finale although unexpected was a very fitting end. I was glad Benjamin Stevenson, through Ernest, kept to the ’10 Commandments of Detective Fiction’, with all the clues needed to solve the mystery being shared with the reader. Sandra, NSW, 4 Stars

While I found the mystery intriguing, I did find this a challenging book to read because I really didn’t like any of the main characters. They weren’t a family I’d want to be related to: it makes me feel very grateful that my family are nicer than that! I was also a little irritated by the narrator’s constant references to being a narrator – it jolted me out of the story when Ernie kept saying things like “67 pages until the next murder” – but the story was compelling enough that I wanted to keep going to find out which of the murderous family members committed which murder! Helen, VIC, 3 Stars

A clever and enjoyable read that has fun playing with the tropes of crime writing. There are some truly funny and witty moments, as well as some shocking twists. I found the story to be a bit convoluted – there’s a lot to keep track of – but the writer/narrator does his best to continually recap what’s going on, even to the point of explaining the clues which he left behind in previous pages, which made for a very entertaining read. Fans of true crime will no doubt love this, and it is refreshing to have an Australian crime novel set in the snow, as opposed to a hot dusty town or a remote seaside community. Katrina, TAS, 3 Stars

This book “Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone” by Benjamin Stevenson left me with mixed feelings. It is both clever and frustrating. Right at the outset you are given rules for writing a crime thriller. The author tells you upfront that his real life job is to coach potential wanna-be writers how to write a successful crime book and then he takes us along the ride of following his own murder/s mystery in his own family, the Cunninghams, adhering to these rules and dropping clues for us along the way to play detective and find the eventual killer whilst only revealing what he himself knew at the time as each chapter progresses. He fleshes out each of the family characters involved and their complex relationships as they are all given their own chapters. Who have each murdered and why? Will the clues and action keep you reading and wanting more? There are many twists and turns and the main action occurs at a snowed out ski resort where the family are having an unwelcomed family reunion. The book cover itself has some important clues. Why does that bird wear a medal? Will you solve the mystery before it is finally revealed? Fran, VIC, 3 Stars

A novel (pun intended) way of writing, this spoof-crime-comedy breaks the fourth wall, with the narrator-come-protagonist speaking directly to the reader. While at times this made for clunky reading- given the inadvertent pauses in the story- it was also an interesting way of gaining insight into the workings of the protagonist’s mind. Overall, I moderately enjoyed the book and would recommend it as a light-hearted summer beach read. Mopsy, VIC, 3 Stars

The Cunnigham family reunion is set in a mountain resort. the main character, Earnie is dreading the reunion because his family members have very little in common and don’t get along. They all have only one thing in common. They have all killed someone. This book came across as one long monologue, so not an enjoyable read for me on this occasion. Carolyn, WA, 2 Stars

Admittedly, it’s not like I did not enjoy this book, because I did. I read half the book in a sitting -something I rarely do- because I was genuinely invested in this contemporary Australian whodunnit Mystery, full of suspense and enigmas that did not seem to stop accumulating. However, my rating system does not apply correctly here because these two stars do not mean that it was an OK novel. It is more of an it-was-disappointing issue thanks to an unlucky combination of hype and probably unrealistic expectations. I also must remark that, even though I never thought I’d say something like this, there is such a thing as too much witticism. I did not appreciate how the narrator -and protagonist- constantly addresses the reader directly. I understand how this is meant to be funny and witty, but halfway through it stopped being amusing. Overall, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is a fast-paced, page-turning Mystery, sadly too witty and far-fetched for my liking. Camila, NSW, 2 Stars

Definitely not my cup of tea. Based on the title, its definitely something I would buy if I saw it on the shelf – but kind of glad I got offered to review it… It was confusing and broken. I realise what the author was trying to do but to me, it just didn’t make sense. It wasn’t until maybe the last 2 chapters where it got a little better (Bearable). I desperately tried to get into this book, but just couldn’t. Connie, VIC, 2 Stars

Related Articles

Live Book Event: Benjamin Stevenson, Author of Either Side of Midnight

News | Events & Festivals

4 September 2020

Live Book Event: Benjamin Stevenson, Author of Either Side of Midnight

    Rollicking Reads: Benjamin Stevenson on funny books to read over the holidays

    News

    19 December 2018

    Rollicking Reads: Benjamin Stevenson on funny books to read over the holidays

      Podcast: True Crime Original with Benjamin Stevenson

      Podcast

      2 October 2018

      Podcast: True Crime Original with Benjamin Stevenson

        Absolute Knock-Out: Read an extract from Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

        News

        11 September 2018

        Absolute Knock-Out: Read an extract from Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

          Simply Un-Putdownable: Benjamin Stevenson talks about writing his debut thriller Greenlight

          News

          11 September 2018

          Simply Un-Putdownable: Benjamin Stevenson talks about writing his debut thriller Greenlight

            Best Rural Crime This Year? Review of Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

            News

            11 September 2018

            Best Rural Crime This Year? Review of Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

              Publisher details

              Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone
              Author
              Benjamin Stevenson
              Publisher
              Penguin
              Genre
              Fiction
              Released
              29 March, 2022
              ISBN
              9780143795650

              Synopsis

              Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle meet Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club in this fiendishly clever blend of classic and modern murder mystery.

              I was dreading the Cunningham family reunion even before the first murder.

              Before the storm stranded us at the mountain resort, snow and bodies piling up.

              The thing is, us Cunninghams don’t really get along. We’ve only got one thing in common: we’ve all killed someone.

              Benjamin Stevenson
              About the author

              Benjamin Stevenson

              Benjamin Stevenson is an award-winning stand-up comedian and author. He has sold out shows from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has appeared on ABCTV, Channel 10, and The Comedy Channel. Off-stage, Benjamin has worked for publishing houses and literary agencies in Australia and the USA. He currently works with some of Australia’s best-loved authors at Curtis Brown Australia. Greenlight is his first novel.

              Books by Benjamin Stevenson

              COMMENTS

              Leave a Reply

              Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *