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Picture old Sherbrooke House, during the 1940’s, a genteel British country manor, owned by Benedict Graeme—a man who passionately loves Christmas. Among the many guests he invites to enjoy the holiday this season, is Mordecai Tremaine, a gentle older man, a lifelong bachelor with a love of romance, who is also an astute observer of human nature, and known to have abilities to solve mysteries. The reader quickly realizes there will eventually be a murder mystery for him to work on, in his quiet, methodical way.
This book was such a great find! Written by Francis Duncan (pseudonym for William Underhill) who wrote his first detective story in 1936, as a bit of a sideline, while he worked at another job. Lost to readers for many years, he seems to have been rediscovered, and becoming acquainted with old Mordecai Tremaine (the male version of Miss Marple?) was fun.
Do not look for this book to seem modern—it isn’t. The writing has the form popular at the time, in which the characters speak with the somewhat proper, even fussy, sort of polite style that may now sound a little stilted. Yet it’s such a pleasure to listen, keeping in mind that that book was written in an era when that was the norm.
There are lots of characters in this book, but luckily the narrator handles them very well. Everyone has assembled in this Grand house, in the village of Sherbrooke, to celebrate Christmas. Many do not initially know each other. But they all know that old Benedict loves a really big party for Christmas, and all are prepared to help him celebrate, until of course, the inevitable murder occurs, and then the reader joins Mordecai Tremaine in having to figure out the whodunnit part.
This book was fun to listen to. I’m hoping to find more in this short series featuring Mordecai Tremaine. If you enjoy discovering another author who wrote during the great classic British mystery period (think Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and others) you will love this book.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
Murder for Christmas is a great listen. Mordeci Tremaine is a wonderful period detective. This book was originally published in 1949, the second of five Mordeci Tremaine mysteries. The characters are fun, the plot intriguing, and the solution a surprise. This is the only Francis Duncan title available in the US. I hope Audible adds more because I would like to get to know Mordeci better, and find out why he likes to read romance novels.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful