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07 December 2015

Christmas Is Murder by C. S. Challinor

Christmas Is Murder is the first book in C. S. Challinor's series starring Scottish Crown Prosecutor Rex Graves. He has received an invitation to spend Christmas at a English manor-turned-hotel from a friend of his mother's and, since it beats spending the holidays alone, he goes. By the time he arrives (on makeshift snowshoes made out of tennis rackets with a new stray puppy in his coat pocket), a death has already occurred and the local authorities and medical personnel cannot make it through the snow storm to get to the hotel. I guess they don't have any tennis rackets of their own.

Rex soon meets the remaining guests -- paramedic Charley and his new wife Yvette, gay interior designers Patrick and Anthony, recently divorced Wanda traveling with her friend Helen, and a literary agent from New York named Miriam. Upon finding out that Rex is a criminal attorney, Charley tells him that he believes the recently deceased guest was a victim of cyanide poisoning and the two go poking around trying to find out who killed the old man.

And then there's another victim.

And another.

And ... well, you get the idea.

Very And Then There Were None-ish. In fact, it's even mentioned in the story along with Murder On The Orient Express and my favorite Belgian, Hercule Poirot. It's like a light-hearted Christie mish-mashed with the board game Clue right down to the big reveal with everyone who's left gathered together at the end. Christie it definitely is not, but it is a cozy little jaunt (I finished it in a work-shift while also folding laundry and doing other job-related stuffs) reminiscent of some other favorites like Charlotte MacLeod and M.C. Beaton. And I already have the next book in the series in my Cloud waiting to be read ...

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