The Christmas Murder Game
By Alexandra Benedict
What it’s about?
Twelve clues. Twelve keys. Twelve days of Christmas. But how many will die before Twelfth Night?
The annual Christmas Game is afoot at Endgame House, the Armitages’ grand family home. This year’s prize is to die for–deeds to the house itself–but Lily Armitage has no intention of returning. She hasn’t been back to Endgame since her mother died, twenty-one years ago, and she has no intention of claiming the house that haunts her dreams.
Until, that is, she receives a letter from her aunt promising that the game’s riddles will give her the keys not only to Endgame, but to its darkest secrets, including the identity of her mother’s murderer.
Now, Lily must compete with her estranged cousins for the twelve days of Christmas. The snow is thick, the phone lines are down, and no one is getting in or out. Lily will have to keep her wits about her, because not everyone is playing fair, and there’s no telling how many will die before the winner is declared.
What I think:
Last review of the year from me.
I really thought this would be a five-star read as I loved the premise and the sheer cleverness. There’s a few unavoidable spoilers ahead, so stop now if you don’t want to know more.
I loved the treasure hunt, and the clues were clever and engaging. I wanted to solve them even though I had no knowledge of the house!
I was rooting for Lily all the way through the book and wanted her to solve everything – l although I found her insistence that she wasn’t actually interested in winning less than convincing.
What I didn’t like was that some of the other characters were completely two-dimensional, particularly Sara, who is just horrible to everyone for no apparent reason.
The whole family are just hideous, and even the ‘loving’ aunt is just manipulative and often downright cruel. Her cousins are either horrible or bland. And they are all willing to leave their young children behind at Christmas to try and win the house. Even after her death, Liliana is manipulating everyone.
Where things lost their way for me was when someone was murdered. And then everyone went back to playing the game and solving clues. There were literally bodies stacking up in the ice house, and the housekeeper was making cold buffets and cocktails!
The ending also feels rushed – after such an engaging and well-thought out build-up, it all felt a bit over the top.
I must admit that I didn’t spot any of the anagrams hidden for the readers and was grateful for the answers!
This definitely wasn’t a five-star read for me, but I did really enjoy it. With my disbelief suspended, it was completing compelling, and I stayed up late into the night to keep reading. It was also great to read a Christmas book that was dark and twisty.
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