On the Radar: A Christmas murder, or two

3 Mins read

You know it’s been a tough year when people are talking about Christmas weeks and weeks before Halloween. It’s been a tough decade so far, come to think of it. Perhaps another Christmas will be introduced around June time? It would appear this would suit the publishing industry very nicely as here we bring you two (more) Christmas crime novels, a mystery with Jane Austen investigating, a murder in Drury Lane plus a good Samaritan who turns sleuth. Some traditional themes seem to weave together quite nicely amongst these titles from Janice Hallett, Stephanie Barron, Vanessa Riley, Alan Orloff and Sophie Hannah. Even Poirot puts in an appearance…

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The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett front cover

Christmas is coming in Lower Lockwood, and the Fairway Players are busy rehearsing their festive pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, to raise money for the church roof appeal. But despite the season, goodwill is distinctly lacking amongst the amateur dramatics enthusiasts and it appears that someone is intent on ruining the panto even before the curtain goes up as all manner of things go wrong. Things go from bad to worse with the discovery of a dead Santa. Who could possibly have had the victim on their naughty list? It’s up to lawyers Femi and Charlotte to get to the truth in Janice Hallett‘s The Christmas Appeal, out on 26 October.
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Jane and the Final Mystery by Stephanie Barron

Jane and the Final Mystery by Stephanie Barron front cover

The final episode in Stephanie Baron’s hugely popular Being a Jane Austen Mystery series finds our heroine in ill health. It’s March, 1817 and Jane is struggling to finish her latest manuscript. But when her nephew Edward brings chilling news of a death at his former school, Winchester College, not even her debilitating ailment can keep Jane from seeking out the truth. Who killed senior pupil Arthur Prendergast – and what is the meaning of the incriminating note found in his waistcoat pocket, penned by the young William Heathcote, the son of Jane’s dear friend Elizabeth? We’ll find out when Jane and the Final Mystery is published on 24 October.
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Murder in Drury Lane by Vanessa Riley

Murder in Drury Lane by Vanessa Riley front cover

Step back into the Regency era with Murder in Drury Lane, second book in Vanessa Riley’s Lady Worthing Mysteries, out on 24 October. Lady Abigail Worthing’s marriage to an absent lord does at least provide some benefits, including a box at the Drury Lane theatre, owned by the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan – and she does love a good drama! Which is exactly what she gets one June evening, when a man is found dead backstage in the middle of a performance. Abigail is warned off investigating the death, but ploughs on regardless and soon uncovers a plot that threatens the very future of the Drury Lane theatre…
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Sanctuary Motel by Alan Orloff

Meet Mess Hopkins, proprietor of the seen-better-days Fairfax Manor Inn, who is always wiling to offer a helping hand. That’s why he throws open the doors of the motel to the homeless, victims of abuse, or anyone else who could benefit from a comfy bed with clean sheets and a roof overhead. This is how he meets a mother and her teenage boy seeking refuge from an abusive husband. When the woman goes missing, soon followed by the boy, Mess is in a quandary. Have they been abducted? Run away? Something worse? He and his friend Vell Jackson and local news reporter Lia Katsaros take to the streets to find out the truth. Sanctuary Motel by Alan Orloff is released on 24 October.
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Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah

Hercule Poirot's Silent Night by Sophie Hannah front cover

She started her Hercule Poirot journey back in 2014 with The Monogram Murders. Now Sophie Hannah has penned her fifth novel following in the footsteps of Agatha Christie – and Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night arrives on 24 October. It’s 19 December 1931 when Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are called to investigate the murder of a man in a Norfolk hospital ward. Catchpool’s mother, Cynthia, insists that Poirot stays with them while he solves the case – her friend Arnold is soon to be admitted to that same hospital and his wife is convinced he will be the killer’s next victim. With time running out, can our hero put his little grey cells to good use once again?
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