Portrait of a Murderer – A Christmas Crime Story by Anne Meredith
I have been a lover of Christmas Crime novels for many a year and was delighted when the British Library Publishing sent me a copy of Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith. This book marks the 50th in the series these really capture the crime writing of time gone by and with this current release in time for the festive period it is the perfect fireside read.
I have been lucky during a previous Christmas to take part in a murder mystery which took place at a country house during the Christmas holidays and in Portrait of a Murderer you really get the feel for this.
It is Christmas 1931 and like every Christmas the Gray family gather to celebrate at the home of their father Adrian Gray a rather unlikeable fellow, mind you his offspring are not that pleasant either. At the start we get to meet each of the family in turn in all their glory (said rather loosely). So now we have the full family tree and all their personalities. While I was reading this introduction to the family I had in my mind Cluedo, yes we have all played this over Christmas and some of us still do. But here Adrian Gray will meet his death at the hands of one of his own Children. It is an instantaneous murder and unplanned. But who did and what was the reason. Each of his children have their own agenda and would like to get their hands on his money. Adrian seems to have been at loggerheads with each of his children and it seems they attend Christmas at his country home through gritted teeth.
The reasons why several of the family would wish him harm are many and all have money at the heart of this. Whether it is because one is being blackmailed or through bad business dealings and then there is one who just wants to grab his father’s cash and leave his wife and children and all his responsibilities and fee to Paris and start a new life.
So now it begins and pretty soon an arrest is made and all the evidence looks damming for the accused and the gallows now look a dead cert. But hang on there not all is as it seems and one family member sees a flaw in the evidence and the real murderer may escape justice and an innocent person my hang in their place.
This is such an accomplished crime novel and a compelling read of a dysfunctional family at war with their father. This is an ideal Christmas read as there is more to this story than just a murder mystery. How Meredith managed to create each of the characters in their own unique way and bring them to life. Christmas is a time for family to get together but for some there are dark feelings lurking at the back of their minds and Meredith has brought this together brilliantly. If you are being forced to attend a family Christmas when you would rather not, then get a copy of this book and settle down with a glass and the tin of chocolates and enjoy Portrait of a Murderer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith is published by British Library Publishing and was published on 25th September 2017 and is available through The British Library and Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.