The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict
Twelve days of Christmas.
But who will survive until Twelfth Night?
Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House – the grand family home where her mother died twenty-one Christmases ago. Until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve twelve clues, to find twelve keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.
Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: The clues will also reveal who really killed Lily’s mother all those years ago.
So, for the twelve days of Christmas, Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home, but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house – and not all of them are playing fair.
As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realises that she is no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.
This Christmas is to die for . . . Let the game begin
You cannot beat a murder mystery at Christmas and especially set in a country house and a family that lets face don’t quite get on and in The Christmas Murder Mystery (Zaffre) by Alexandra Benedict you all these and a snow storm to add to the setting.
I featured The Christmas murder Game on my Christmas Books for the Somerset Cool Christmas Show as part of the Book Club, and I said that it just reminded me of Cluedo a game I still enjoy today. It really does have that feel about.
The lead character is Lily Armitage who cannot face ever returning to her aunt Lillian’s home that is Endgame House that is situated in the Yorkshire Dales, this this is where her mother died when Lily was young. But Lillian has died, and she has requested that the family must return to Endgame House over the Christmas holiday, but for Lily this means spending time with a family that has more than just a few cracks in it. But she has the chance of finding out what really happened to her mother all those years ago. But there is a catch, in that her aunt has insisted the family must partake in the Christmas Game that Lillian has set. There are twelve clues that Lillian has created in Sonnets and these must be solved as there are twelve keys to be found. The family must have no communication with the outside world and all mobile phones and devices must be handed in. At the end the winner will have the keys to Endgame House.
As Lily settles into the creepy old house, memories come flooding back of when she was here as a young child. What really did happen all those Christmases ago? Within the walls of Endgame House lie secrets that have gone untold for many years. Is this where the secrets finally seep out of the walls and into the open and how is this going to affect a family that really does not get on. Lilly wants to go back home to London where she now belongs.
What Lily does not know yet is that these games will include murder and that Lily will need to be on her guard as there is someone here who desperately wants this house for a reason and now just to make things worse a snowstorm has hit this part of remote Yorkshire. Lily feels she is trapped in a home and with relatives she does not trust, and some will not be playing these games fairly some will kill to win.
This is a claustrophobic Christmas murder mystery that is just a wonderful read. There is so much that is hidden away within the pages, Alexandra Benedict has created some let’s say interesting characters but one in Lily that you will cheer for.
The Christmas Murder Game is just the perfect festive read, it is fun and one that you will enjoy if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie. But there is more Alexandra has dropped in a few little games for the reader to play while trying to solve this gripping murder mystery. Hidden in the pages at twelve book titles and at the end of the book there is a puzzle to solve that you will enjoy while you digest that extra slice of Christmas cake you wish you had said no to but pour that glass of wine and settle down to read a festive murder mystery.
The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict is Published by Zaffre on 30th September and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org