Series: Mordecai Tremaine #2
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on October 1, 2017 (first published 1949)
Genres: Vintage Mystery, Christmas
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A festive mystery for the holiday season: mulled wine, mince pies... and murder.
When Mordecai Tremaine arrives at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame on Christmas Eve, he discovers that the revelries are in full swing in the sleepy village of Sherbroome--but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.
When midnight strikes, the partygoers discover that presents aren't the only things nestled 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 suspicions flying, it's up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit--and prevent anyone else from getting murder for Christmas.
It’s probably no surprise that I enjoyed Murder for Christmas. It ticks off all the boxes:
√ Vintage murder mystery
√ English manor house
√ Eccentric set of characters
√ Christmas celebrations
√ Amateur detective with a romantic streak
Benedict Grame always throws a large house party for Christmas and this year is not exception. It’s an interesting collection of people. There’s the usual household, Grame and his assistant Nicholas Blaise, his old friend Jeremy Rainer and Rainer’s ward, a lovely young woman and her suitor. Grame also has a spinster sister who lives with them and another relative he assists, a gambler with a penchant for practical jokes. There’s also a visiting scientist, a politician, a glamorous woman who both Grame and Rainer are attracted too, a couple from the village, and of course Mordecai Tremaine, our amateur detective who has been specially invited. It should be a fun, traditional Christmas.
Of course the merriment is interrupted by murder – Father Christmas dead under the decorated tree. The mystery itself was well-done, plenty of clues, a few red herrings, more than enough secrets to dig up.
Mordecai Tremaine is an interesting detective, very unassuming, non-confrontational. He observes, notices, talks to people. He also is a bit of a romantic who would like to believe in people’s goodness, who wants to see love triumph. I liked him. He’s not the aloof, overly analytical detective or the jaded who has lost his faith in the system. He’s a good, sweet guy, which is rare enough.
Murder for Christmas manages to be both festive and menacing, which makes it a perfect Christmas mystery.