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Review: Murder Most Festive

4/5 stars

Murder Most Festive, by Ada Moncrieff (2020)

A really charming and clever murder mystery. Very British, but in a poking-fun-at-oneself way, not a pretentious way. I thought there was quite a lot of humor in it, which made it even more fun!


The story is set at Christmas time in 1938 at Westbury Manor, the country home of the Westbury family - Lord & Lady Westbury, and their adult children, self-centered life-of-the-party Stephen, vegetarian (how dare she) spinster Lydia, and outspoken activist Eddy. Joining the family for Christmas are friends of the family David Campbell-Scott, just returned from a controversial stay in Malaya (formerly a British territory, now part of Malaysia), Hugh Galveston, close friend and Lydia's confidante, humourless William Ashwell and his wife Rosalind, who is a dear from of Lady Wetbury's, and, the most VIP of the guests, Member of Parliament Anthony de Havilland, who no one knows very well but everyone is honored to entertain.


Sibling squabbles, light-hearted teasing, bad tempers, eccentricities, and political conversations carry the guests along on Christmas Eve, but Christmas morning brings an entirely new predicament - David Campbell-Scott has been found dead outside in the snow of an apparent suicide. Of course, it's obviously not a suicide, or there'd be no murder mystery! As a lover of detective novels, Hugh launches a private investigation into all of the household members, revealing a number of other secrets along with the truth about how David was killed.


A perfect little festive read for the holiday season!


This is Moncrieff's debut, and I'm definitely interested in reading her latest - Murder at the Theatre Royal. It's another Christmas season murder mystery, so I may wait until the end of this year.

 

UP NEXT: The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams


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