Sunday, 23 December 2018

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan - Book Review - Vintage Murder Mystery

First Published:  1949
Re-Published by Vintage:  12 Nov 2015

A Classic Mystery for the Festive Season, Mulled Wine, Mince Pies ....... and Murder

Mordecai Tremaine, former tobacconist and perennial lover of romance novels, has been invited to spend Christmas in the sleepy village of Sherbroome at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame. 

Arriving on Christmas Eve, he finds that the revelries are in full flow - but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.

Midnight strikes and the party-goers discover that it's not just presents nestling under the tree...there's a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas. 

With the snow falling and the suspicions flying, it's up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit - and prevent someone else from getting murder for Christmas.

The scene is set .... a country house at Christmas, snow falling, an eclectic cast of characters including an amateur sleuth, smouldering drama, resentments and secrets .........

Our protagonist with the wonderfully sounding name of Mordecai Tremaine, having already helped the police solve one murder recently, is taken into the confidence of the local constabulary who want him to inveigle himself with the house guests in order to try and discover who the killer may be.

An undercurrent of tension flows through the story as Mordecai's easy manner has them giving him information that they don't want the police to know as the truth is slowly revealed over the course of the Christmas holidays.

Set in the 1940's, I really enjoyed the careful writing style and sixty something bachelor Mordecai is an interesting character, he wears a pince-nez, reads romantic stories, has a sentimental soul and enjoys weighing up all the house guests.

This murder mystery is a great addition to the vintage 'golden age' of crime fiction.

My thanks to Dead Good Books for giving me the opportunity to read this vintage novel.  You can read the first chapter of Murder for Christmas on their website

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