Murder for Christmas (1931)

This is the first book I’ve started and finished in 2019.  Written by Francis Duncan and republished in 2015, the publisher did not know who he was until his kids came forward and revealed he was a man named William Underhill.  I had been wanting to read a Christmas mystery and this was a pretty good choice.  It’s the first Mordecai Tremaine novel.  Mordecai is a helpful amateur who loves romance stories.  He doesn’t have much time for them during his visit to the home of Benedict Grame.  Benedict is so enthusiastic about Christmas he dresses up as Santa and puts presents on the tree for everyone.  He does this after everyone goes to bed, so the point of dressing up escapes me, but that’s what he does.  Then shortly after midnight, the whole house is awakened by screaming.  Father Christmas lies shot beneath the tree and all the presents except one are gone!   The victim is not Benedict Grame, however.  Someone else has been dressing up as old St. Nick, but why?  And why take the presents?  And who was that mysterious stranger hanging around the house?

An interesting situation and a rather macabre Christmas.  Mordecai meets the police inspector assigned to the case who fortunately happens to know all about him and so he is encouraged to help.   It’s a strange group as no one is actually related and several of them are rather disagreeable.  I found the interviews a bit frustrating as no one seemed to ask a direct question and they settled for very evasive answers.  I got to the end feeling like almost no clues had been revealed.  Certainly not enough for me to guess what was going on.  So, I wouldn’t call it fair play and how the murder was committed seems impossible to me, but still I enjoyed reading it and will probably read some more.  This is probably owing to the character of Tremaine who is not without charm despite keeping too many conclusions to himself.


I am hereby signing up for Bev’s latest challenge – Calendar of Crime.  And this will be my book for December.   Each month has different requirements and you don’t have to read the book that fits those requirements in that particular month.   They also don’t have to be Golden Age, although this one is.  Head to Bev’s blog and sign up, too!  It’ll be fun.

Well, I’ll try.   The post a link thing is no longer working for me.    So, I tried to leave a comment.   If people weren’t such obnoxious jerks, we wouldn’t have these problems.

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