The Santa Klaus Murder
by Mavis Hay
Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Oct. 6, 2015
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
A classic country-house murder mystery. Aunt Mildred declares that no good could come from the Melbury family gathering at their country residence Flaxmere for Christmas. When Sir Osmond Melbury, the family patriarch, is found dead on Christmas Day by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus, the festivities are plunged into chaos.
Nearly every member of the party stands to reap some sort of benefit from Sir Osmond’s death, but Santa Klaus, the one person who seems to have every opportunity to fire the shot that killed him, has no apparent motive. Members of the family have their private suspicions about the identity of the murderer, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion...and a headache for the detective who needs to know information that the family is hiding.
The Santa Klaus Murder is a mystery novel set in England in 1935. The first chapters, which cover the days leading up to the murder, are reports written by various members of the family. Each described what happened on a certain day and why certain people would or would not have a motive to kill. Once the murder occurred, the story was written primarily from the viewpoint of the detective. I enjoyed this format as it allowed us to get into the thoughts of several characters and better understand the family dynamics.
There were clues, and many of them were in those reports about the days leading up to the murder. The detective didn't get these reports until later, so the reader had the advantage of knowing more information. Using this information, you can quickly identify the few, actual suspects. Then it was simply a matter of narrowing down who was involved. The detective steadily followed up the clues he found, but he had a harder time of it. Almost everyone was hiding things from him. The mystery kept me curious until the end even though I had most of it worked out before the detective.
There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language and a few uses of name calling (referring to a person as a certain equine animal). Overall, I'd recommend this mystery to those who enjoy old-style puzzle-mysteries with interesting formats.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.