Thriller/Mystery

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

I’ve finally read a Christmassy book! (Even if it’s a murder mystery one)

Themes: Christmas, murder mystery

The synopsis

Follow the clues. Find the fortune. Solve the Mystery. This Christmas is to die for. Let the game begin…

‘Endgame has kept our secrets for half a century, now it’s time for it, and its secrets, to have a new owner.’

When Lily returns home to her aunt’s manor house, she discovers that in order to inherit, she and her estranged cousins must stay together over the Christmas week and take part in a family tradition: the annual treasure hunt.

But as they are drawn deeper into the game, the clues seem to point not to the deeds to the manor house, but to the key to a twenty-year-old mystery: what really happened to Lily’s mother?

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, it becomes apparent that the game has turned deadly and that Lily is fighting for more than just an inheritance: she is now fighting for her life. Does she have what it takes to survive?

12 clues, 12 keys and 12 days of Christmas for the heirs of Endgame House to find their inheritance, but how many will die before Twelfth Night?

The review

What’s better than a murder mystery taking place in a big mansion in the middle of the English countryside during Christmas? That’s the situation Lily finds herself in when she decides to join her family for their annual Christmas game. But soon, corpses begin to appear and the game takes a deadly turn.

I really enjoyed this book and its atmosphere which was perfect for Christmas. The mansion is full of secrets, hidden rooms, and is surrounded by snow. Even the headings of the chapters are prettily linked to Christmas and murder. The game is punctuated by the days following Christmas and all the food and activities you can enjoy during this special period of the year. The reader is invited to join the game too thanks to riddles and hints left between the lines (guess who did not catch a single one of them? 😂). All this atmosphere combined with the setting and the murders gave me a bit of Agatha Christie’ vibes, which was exactly what I expected from this book.

Concerning the characters and the resolution, they both were a bit simple for my taste. The characters were quite one-dimensional and were given just the information needed to place them in the story (for example, we only know the family links between them and if they have a children or not, so not a lot really). I truly disliked Sarah because of her greediness and wasn’t convinced by Lily since she lacked in character and action. And even if the plot made sense, I found some deaths useless (if not illogical) and finding the main culprit wasn’t difficult.

In brief: A fairly good book to pass a moment in the ambience of Christmas. But if you’re looking for a complex mystery it’s not in this book you’ll find it. I also spotted some typos/mistakes in the text but don’t really know if they were real mistakes or part of the game for the reader…

My rating: 3/5

5 thoughts on “The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict”

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