Book Review: A Very Murderous Christmas: Ten Classic Crime Stories for the Festive Season by Cecily Gayford

A Very Murderous Christmas: Ten Classic Crime Stories for the Festive Season by Cecily Gayford
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: Profile Books

A quite enjoyable collection. Not all stories had murders central to them but they all felt appropriate for the theme. I quite liked seven of the ten offered here and below were my favourites:

Camberwell Crackers by Anthony Horowitz- in which the new owner of Camberwell Crackers meets his end in a very gruesome but apropos way.

A Problem in White by Nicholas Blake- in which a robbery and murder occur on a train on a snowy night. This one reminded me of Mystery in White.

Loopy by Ruth Rendell- in which the fate of a woman engaged to a man who is forty-two and reluctant to leave his mother's home ends exactly as one would expect in such a story. Clever telling from the man's POV.

Morse's Greatest Mystery by Colin Dexter- in which the cranky and curmudgeonly Morse displays his heart for the Littlemore Charity for Mentally Handicapped Children. Very sweet & no murder here.

The Jar of Ginger by Gladys Mitchell- in which a group sit and discuss the ways to dispose of a spouse and a bit of laced ginger is suggested the conduit to that end. Creepy and clever to the last.

Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces by John Mortimer- in which Rumpole helps a country prior bend the new "country squire" into a donation for the church and also solves an intricately planned and executed robbery to the exoneration of his client, both due to his memory. Loved this!

The Problem of Santa's Lighthouse by Edward Hoch- in which a vacationing doctor finds himself investigating the curious case of how Harry Quay died when he was ostensibly the only one on the walkway of the lighthouse. The solution here was obvious to me but I still enjoyed this one and its attempt of misdirection.

If you're looking for some short stories to get stuck into during the Christmas or snowy season, this does nicely. Definitely recommended.

Summary: The Christmas season is one of comfort and joy, sparkling lights and steam rising from cups of mulled wine at frosty carol services. A season of goodwill to all men, as families and friends come together to forget their differences and celebrate the year together. Unless, of course, you happen to be harbouring a grudge. Or hiding a guilty secret. Or you want something so much you just have to have it - whatever the cost. In A Very Murderous Christmas, ten of the best classic crime writers come together to unleash festive havoc, with murder, mayhem and twists aplenty.
Following Murder on Christmas Eve and Murder under the Christmas Tree, this is the perfect accompaniment to a mince pie and a roaring fire. Just make sure you're really, truly alone ...

No comments