Merry Murderous Christmas Reads: four books I’ll be reading during Advent.

Today is Advent Sunday. We’re four weeks away from Christmas and, for me, one of the joys of the season is reading Christmas crime fiction. This year, I’ve found four new-to-me Christmas Crime books to celebrate Advent with, two contemporary books and two Golden Age-Mysteries. One is the fourth book in a murder series set in Cornwall, one is set on Christmas Eve 1943 in Melbourne, one is a collection of four Golden Age Christmas short stories and one is a light-hearted Golden Age mystery novel.

If you’re looking for some festive crime this year, give one of these a try.


A PINCH OF PARANOIA

It’s three days before Christmas, and detective-turned-chef Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker is drafted in to cater a charity event run by a notorious millionaire at a 13th-century abbey on Bodmin Moor.

A DASH OF DECEPTION

Things get more complicated when a snowstorm descends, stranding them all, and the next morning they find one of the guests has been gruesomely murdered in their bed…

A MURDER UNDER THE MISTLETOE

Secrets mull in every corner – can Jodie solve the crime before the killer strikes again?

This is the fourth book in the Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery series which Fiona Leitch describes as: “Cornwall, cooking, handsome detectives, and a Pomeranian named Germaine…


If only the killings had stopped at two. The police are desperate to come to grips with an extraordinary and disquieting upsurge of violence. For Constable Helen Lord, it is an opportunity to make her mark in a male-dominated world where she is patronised as a novelty. For Detective Joe Sable, the investigation forces a reassessment of his indifference to his Jewish heritage. Racing against the clock, the police uncover simmering tensions among secretive local Nazi sympathisers as a psychopathic fascist usurper makes his move.

Published in 2013, there’s nothing cosy about this Australian historical crime fiction novel set in Melbourne in1943. It is the first book in Robert Gott’s four-book Holiday Murder series.


Perhaps it’ll start being Christmas now you’re here… 

And who better to spend a cosy Christmas with than ingenious and affable investigator, Albert Campion. 

Featuring two classic Campion mysteries and two special holiday tales, this short story collection from Queen of Crime, Margery Allingham, is the perfect Christmas treat for any Golden Age Crime enthusiast. Filled with traditional British charm, snow covered crime scenes, and just a touch of Christmas magic, these festive stories are perfect for the season. 

This collection includes ‘On Christmas Day in the Morning’ (1963), ‘Happy Christmas’ (1962), ‘The Case of the Man with the Sack’ (1937), and ‘Word in Season: A Story for Christmas’ (1965). 

My introduction to Albert Campion came by way of a Christmas Short Story called, ‘The Case Is Altered’ which was one of the best stories in Martin Edwards’ collection of Golden Age Christmas stories, ‘Silent Night’. I’m hoping these will be equally as impressive.


An ingenious lost Christmas mystery returns to print for the first time since 1944

‘Did you say he was ill?’ asked John from behind.
‘Nothing much. Wanted some mince pies. Paulina said they were unlucky before Christmas, so of course he ate five or six.’

Good old Uncle Willie – rich, truculent and seemingly propped up by his fierce willpower alone – has come to stay with the Redpaths for the holidays. It is just their luck for him to be found dead the morning after Christmas day, dressed in his Santa Claus costume, seemingly poisoned by his favourite chocolates. Or was there something sinister in the mince pies? If so, was it the ones stashed in his room or those sent to him mysteriously by post? More importantly, since his will was recently redrafted, who stands to gain by this unseasonable crime?

First published in 1944, Murder After Christmas is a lively riot of murder, mince pies and misdirection, cleverly playing with beloved murder mystery tropes to create something pacey, light-hearted, and admirably suited for the holiday season.

I’d have bought this just for the cover. How does British Library Crime Classics keep coming up with such gorgeous covers? I’m partially interested to read a book that’s been out of print since shortly after it was first published in 1944. I hoping for something with a strong period feel and a clever plot.

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