A Very Murderous Christmas: Ten Classic Crime Stories for the Festive Season by Various Authors and edited by Cecily Gayford
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 …
I bought this book last year just after Christmas so I never read it and thought I would save if for Christmas 2019. I’ve been desperate to start my Christmas reading and so kicked it off by reading this book. I read a short story a night and loved it.
The book has a range of short stories but sadly they are not all murder mysteries and some are just merely mysteries. My favourite story was Camberwell Crackers by Anthony Horowitz, it really made me giggle.
The first story in the book The Man with the Sack by Margery Allingham set the scene of a wonderful Christmas in the old days where the village children would come and visit the big house and someone would dress as Father Christmas and give out presents. I really enjoyed the beginning of this story but must admit I found the ending rather a disappointment and it was all a bit too predictable for me.
The Adventure of the Red Widow by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr was very amusing and it was a nice Sherlock Holmes mystery and I enjoyed the murder mystery immensely but I must admit I found the ending rather sad, not something I wanted from a Christmas book, even a murder mystery Christmas book.
Camberwell Crackers by Anthony Horowitz my absolute favourite of the book and made me giggle. A proper little Christmas story.
The Flying Stars by G. K. Chesterton I must admit I found this story rather annoying in places and rather predictable. Just could not get on with characters in this story and rather pleased it was only short.
A Problem in White by Nicholas Blake this story I did enjoy and loved how it unfurled, a real mystery and set on a train with snow. A perfect Christmas tale with more than one crime to solve.
Loopy by Ruth Rendell now this story I found disturbing and rather worrying. The main character had clearly been over protected by his mother his entire life and also did not live in the real world or cope well when made to deal with it.
Morse’s Greatest Mystery by Colin Dexter. Oh I love a Morse story and this one was excellent. Morse is so eccentric in this story and his usual grumpy self, it did make me laugh.
The Jar of Ginger by Gladys Mitchell. An odd Christmas story and I’m not entirely sure I would have included it in a Christmas book if I had been choosing the stories but the plot was good and overall an interesting concept.
Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces by John Mortimer. This is another wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It had all the Christmas requirements: a pantomime, snow, a cold vicarage, Christmas parties and festive spirit. A perfect little Christmas story.
The Problem of Santa’s Lighthouse by Edward Hook. The last story of the book was a great mystery and rather Johnathan Creek in style and not just because of the windmill!
Overall I loved this book and would highly recommend it, especially as you can just dip into it over the festive season. The only reason it didn’t get the full 5/5 Dragons and only 4 was because it did not have a full set of murder mystery stories and because The Flying Stars just annoyed me.