Murder on Christmas Eve by Cecily Gayford

Murder on Christmas Eve: Classic Mysteries for the Festive Season

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It is the time of the year for wintery,Christmas stories and short stories are well adapted to represent the different aspects of the Christmas spirit.
There are ten stories in this edition and I found perhaps two of them less attractive. Not too bad for an anthology. They are or charming and very Christmas minded or dark and very wintery.
There is a lovely story by Ellis Peters(The Trinity Cat),a rather sad one by Margery Allingham(On Christmas Day in the Morning),a closed room mystery by Julian Symons (the Santa Claus Club),a classic golden age one by John Dickson Carr (The Footprints in the Sky) and some stories by ” newer” authors (Ian Ranking,Val Mcdermid…).
All in all a very good compilation of Christmas mysteries.

The Bone Jar by S W Kane

The Bone Jar

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London is groaning under a severe snowstorm and Siberian temperatures when the body of an elderly woman is found in an isolated ward of an abandoned and derelict asylum. As soon as Detective Lew Kirby and his partner Pete Anderson start their investigation a second body is found in the River Thames. It soon becomes clear that the past of Blackwater Asylum ,with its tragedies,rumours and whispers,is to play a major part towards the solving of these crimes.
It is a good story and the setting,an abandoned asylum during wintertime,is fabulously atmospheric. The writing is sound and the two detectives are likeable and believable. But,there is always a but,there are so many storylines who are, some closely and some marginally, interweaved that it becomes a tad confusing and it does not always lead to a better story.
And then some secondary storylines are left unsolved ,probably for a second episode, but ,barring a fantasy trilogy, I don’t really like that kind of open ending.

Death in White Pyjamas/Death Knows no Calendar by John Bude

Death in White Pyjamas: & Death Knows No Calendar (British Library Crime Classics Book 76)

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In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and ,of course, almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And ” everybody ” means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was.
As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on…The solution to the murder or more precisely the “how” is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues.
All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden…) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense.
John Bude has better stories to tell…

That’s the way to do it…

As there is a rather torrid heatwave in the land and covid-19 is still lurking around the corner,tempers tend to run high(and very high). Just this weekend there was a fight between some youngsters and the police on a beach. Yes indeed,on a beach !  Everybody seems to find some fault with,well,basically everything and everybody…

And then there are these two sworn enemies (admittedly from a lower order) showing us how to deal with it….20200810_100224