Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

It's the night before Christmas Eve, and the sleeper train to Fort William leaves Euston with a number of passengers on board, including a killer, a stowaway, and former Met detective Roz Parker. The first part of the book introduces us to all the characters. In addition to Roz, we have a widely varied group, including a social media influencer and her boyfriend, a reality tv "star"; four students competing for a place in a quiz team; a couple traveling with their four children; a lawyer; an elderly woman and her son; and of course the train crew. Somewhere after Edinburgh, in heavy snow, the train is derailed, and shortly afterward, one of the passengers is found dead. I love a good closed-circle mystery, especially one set around Christmas. MurderOne of the people on the train is a killer, that's clear, especially when there's a second death. Of course, several of the passengers have secrets, worries, and, in true...
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Santa’s Little Yelpers by David Rosenfelt

Santa’s Little Yelpers by David Rosenfelt

Andy Carpenter is a reluctant lawyer who keeps getting drawn back into the courtroom. Andy and his wife also run the Tara Foundation, an organization dedicated to rescuing dogs, so dogs are always at least tangential to the story (and the covers are adorable). The Tara Foundation has just received a mother Golden Retriever, and her eight puppies. Chris Myers, their newest worker, offers to foster them. Chris is a former lawyer who lost his practice when he was jailed for manslaughter. He claims to be innocent, but a witness lied. Now the witness wants to recant his false testimony, and Andy volunteers to help clear Chris's name. Of course, nothing is ever that easy and when the witness ends up dead, Chris is once again on trial. Grover Gardner is the narrator of this audiobook and he is perfect. Andy has a dry sense of humor, is self-deprecating and sarcastic, and Gardner captures his personality perfectly. The characters surrounding Andy...
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Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder is the fifth in the series, but the first I've read. I never felt lost. The author did a good job of introducing the characters and giving me enough background to let me feel like I knew them well. At the same time, I might have cared more about the relationship between Lucy and her boyfriend, Azad, which took up a lot of the book. The mystery itself was well-done. The victim was not a nice person and there were plenty of suspects in town. Lucy had a reasonable reason to be investigating - one of her friends is the prime suspect. The clues were placed well, along with a few red herrings. The story started off well, but the middle was a bit too slow and plodding. I did have a guess who the killer was, so that might have been a bit too obvious since I'm rarely right. I think this is the last of...
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A Corpse for Christmas by Rena Leith

A Corpse for Christmas by Rena Leith

A Corpse for Christmas is the third in the Cass Peake series, but the first I've read. For me, it took a while to get all the characters straight, and I think if I had read the series in order, that wouldn't have been an issue. I also would have felt like I knew at least Cass and the other recurring characters, including Doris the ghost, better. Cass takes on the job of doing a new video for a local college and hires some young people to help her out. It's the holidays so the campus is pretty empty, making it easier to film locations, but while working, Cass and her crew stumble onto a murder. Her obligatory cop boyfriend, George, doesn’t like her getting involved, but Cass of course can't let it go, especially when a neighbor asks for her help. There's a lot going on here. We have the project for the local college; it's Christmas so Cass' brother...
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Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Wealthy, mean Simeon Lee has invited his family to spend Christmas. We've got 4 adult sons, three of whom have wives with them, and a granddaughter from Spain, an exotic young woman out of place in the traditional English setting. Simeon's goal, however, doesn't seem to be a happy family reunion. Instead, he is amusing himself by re-igniting all the old angers and rivalries. Of course, it's still a shock to them when he ends up dead, murdered in a locked room. Hercule Poirot's Christmas was another reread for me, and to be honest I'm surprised I didn't remember who the killer was. Poirot was staying with a friend in the neighborhood when the death was reported and agreed to help discover the killer. Of course, we've got plenty of motives, from hatred to money to diamonds, and everyone in the household is a suspect. I like how much even the most minor of the characters has their own personality. Each...
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Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel was a reread for me. I always enjoy Marsh's mysteries and this is no exception. Troy is spending Christmas at Hillary's manor house, painting his portrait. We meet all the other guests and staff, most of whom were former convicts. And then, of course, someone is killed. Well, someone disappears, but this is a Marsh book, we know he's dead, it's just a matter of finding him. Alleyn of course comes to the house and takes over the investigation. Reading Tied Up in Tinsel is like spending the holidays with old friends. Honestly, murders at country houses during the holidays are my favorites. The house guests and staff are an eccentric lot and almost all could be considered suspects. There were also enough clues that we could put it together, which is not always the case when Alleyn is investigating. We don't always know what he's thinking or clues he notices. Maybe I'll go back and...
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