Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas is Murder by C.S. Challinor

55. Christmas is Murder - first in the Rex Graves series
by C.S. Challinor
mystery, 2008
finished, 11/26/09

I've often longed to spend Christmastime in England. And what could be better than an old country house which has been turned into a hotel? And a snowstorm that keeps the guests inside by the cozy fire with a library full of books? Ah, a dream come true. Except if the other guests start dying off (and not in the same way). And because of the snow the bodies must stay in the house. And the worry that you might be next.

This is the story in Christmas is Murder, a first mystery with Reginald (Rex) Graves who is a Scottish barrister. He happens to be invited to the house for Christmas because the owner is an old friend of his mother's. He spent some time here in his childhood. It was a wonderful home in those days, but since then it has had to be turned into a hotel because the husband died. The mother is in mourning for her son, a soldier who died in Iraq. She resents being a hotel owner, and has no sign out front. The only guests must be invited by her. I suppose that way it feels less like an ordinary place where any old person can put down their money and have a room for the night.

This book offers one of my favorite features of a mystery story: a list of characters right at the beginning so the reader can go back and see who's who.
According to the author's website, there are two books following this one. I look forward to them. I want to know more about Mr. Graves, and I want to find out if he is still in touch with a certain woman he meets in this book. He's a quiet, kindly man who drives a Mini Cooper (Les!) and smokes a pipe, and is a wonderful new addition to the mystery genre.


  1. Nan, sounds like a good one! I would love to spend my Christmas holiday in England also. Maybe some year we will both get our wish!

  2. Hello Nan; thanks for the tip about the book. You are starting to have an influence on me, as I have made several of your recipes, and I read "Mrs. Pallfrey at the Clairmont". It was written with much perception, and it was sad. About the Wallinger series, I wondered if you knew that an epidode was on PBS, which I seldom see. But I caught it, and the acting was outstanding, and made it memorable. Kenneth Brannaugh, who used to be skinny and red-haired, but there looked bleary and weary. I think that would be one DVD that wouldn't disappoint, after having read the book. (Although I haven't read the book yet. But I will)

    Fran in Calgary

  3. Isn't it great to find an author whom you enjoy and be able to look forward to finding and reading more of his works!At the moment, for me this is the English writer Kate Atkinson. I think Christmas in Maine must be lovely too!

  4. That sounds like a wonderful book! I am going over to Barnes and Noble after work today! I can't believe all the snow you are have! There is just something about being home bound when it is snowing outside and having your generator keeping everything up and running! Good to hear you are prepared! Now get that fireplace going! miles of smiles!

  5. Sherri, it all sounds so enchanting to me.

    Kcoustou, Yes, it is. I'm not in Maine, though. :<)

    Linda, we don't have a fireplace, just a woodstove in the kitchen which is going all the time. Have fun in the bookstore!

    Fran, you know something? I didn't read it. I have brought it home from the library a few times and brought it back unread. I think that means it isn't for me! I did a posting on the wonderful Wallander series. I had never heard of it before the PBS shows. They are all at netflix now.


  6. Rod and I were just talking about my Mini. Hard to believe I've had it for almost 6 years! Did I tell you he bought a 1969 VW convertible? He's having the body work and paint taken care of right now. I'll take pictures when we get it back.

  7. I love that list of characters and I'm on such a huge mystery kick. This one sounds perfect to read in a blizzard but to read in your own house!! LOL!!

  8. Sorry, I don't know why I pictured you in Maine!

  9. That's great, Les! I love to think of him doing that.

    Staci, that's right!

    K, I've visited Maine. :<)

  10. This sounds really good, how do you keep on finding books I long to read? Genius!
    I would like to spend Christmas in New Hampshire, perhaps we should swap!!
    Oh how I loved my mini-cooper in the 60's, the look of surprise when I overtook grander cars was very funny.

  11. Carole, we could be like the movie The Holiday! Did you see it? I long for the English house in it, even though I read in the credits it was manufactured for the movie. The car is just mentioned at the start, but maybe we'll see it more in future books. Great story about yours!


I'll answer your comments as soon as I possibly can. Please do come back if you've asked a question.
Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.