Originally published: 1949 (This edition published 2015)
Author: Francis Duncan
Published by: Vintage
Genre: Crime Thriller
Length: 228 pages
Reading dates: 11-14 December 2018
Over the last three years, for our December book club meeting we have read a Christmas themed murder mystery book. One of our members reads the whole book, then tells us where to read up to and on the night, we try and solve the murder! This year we read Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan.
Mordecai Tremaine, a former tobacconist and lover of romance novels is invited to spend Christmas in the sleepy village of Sherbroome at the country home of Benedict Grame. Arriving on Christmas Eve, he finds the preparations for Christmas well under way but there is sense of tension amongst the guests. When midnight strikes and a scream rings out, the guests soon discover a dead body under the tree, with a striking resemblance to Father Christmas. Along with the local police, Tremaine turns detective to try and solve the murder!
Very similar in style to Agatha Christie, Francis Duncan wrote around 30 books, 22 of which were murder mysteries but has largely been forgotten. I didn’t feel this had the pacing of a Christie novel – there is a lot of ground laying before the murder even takes place. When it came to guessing the murderer and motive, I really didn’t have a clue but several members on the night came very close. We had a lot of fun and laughter as our theories got more and more outlandish! My opinion of the book improved once I discovered who the murderer was and the motive – it was actually very clever!
If you fancy trying this your self with friends or for a festive book club meeting, read up to the end of Chapter 16 (page 204 in this edition).
The other books we have read for our Christmas murder mystery book club are
- Hercules Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie. Read no further than page 195, and stop with the words: “it was a woman”.
- Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story by J Jefferson Farjeon. Read up to page 214
Shoreham Book Club has been in existence since August 2014. I joined in February 2015 – I’d wanted to join a book club for a while and I found myself with more time so was pleased to find one in my home town. We meet in the local pub (which has a cosy seating area tucked away in a quiet part of the pub). We meet the last Thursday of the month and take it in turns to choose a book but it is very informal – often there are a couple of books suggested and we vote to choose. I really enjoy the group – we are of mixed ages and backgrounds and I have read lots of books I wouldn’t normally have chosen. If you are interested in the books we have chosen, you can find the Meetup Group here