Title: The Christmas Murder Game
Author: Alexandra Benedict
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 30
(see below for breakdown)
Follow the clues. Find the fortune. Solve the Mystery. This Christmas is to die for. Let the game begin…
‘Endgame has kept our secrets for half a century, now it’s time for it, and its secrets, to have a new owner.’
When Lily returns home to her aunt’s manor house, she discovers that in order to inherit, she and her estranged cousins must stay together over the Christmas week and take part in a family tradition: the annual treasure hunt.
But as they are drawn deeper into the game, the clues seem to point not to the deeds to the manor house, but to the key to a twenty-year-old mystery: what really happened to Lily’s mother?
As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, it becomes apparent that the game has turned deadly and that Lily is fighting for more than just an inheritance: she is now fighting for her life. Does she have what it takes to survive?
12 clues, 12 keys and 12 days of Christmas for the heirs of Endgame House to find their inheritance, but how many will die before Twelfth Night?
This was a mixed bag for me it was an entertaining read but over all mildly disappointing in its outcome. What I enjoyed most about reading it was the games that Author had set for the reader to look out for throughout the book. One was spotting well known cosy mystery book titles and the other, which was much harder, was spotting the anagrams of the 12 days of Christmas in each of the 12 Days the mystery takes place over.
I just found or Main Character rather a wet blanket. I am all for dressing up and love a good corset on a night out but she seemed to dress daily like she was from the 1800’s purely so the author could have her swishing about a manor house and snow covered maze gardens in corsets and huge skirts despite it being modern day, all of which made the setting muddled. There was also the blatant acceptance by all involved that this scavenger hunt for the deeds to the house was acceptable. There was no arguing or questioning they all just went along with it and that again made the suspension of disbelief hard.
I felt a lot of the strained relationships between the cousins were realistic but that there was no real depth to the explanation of how these feuds came about. The development and back ground were all really thin. This was particularly true when the mystery of what happened to Lily’s mother is revealed. We get the solution but no real explanation as the the motivation other than a sentence or two. This to me made the ending weak and just rather unsatisfying.
The actual riddles and games themselves were fun and entertaining to read. I wish there was more involvement of the reader in these moments that would have allowed the reader to solve the riddles alongside the characters but it was fun to see them figuring it out. I liked the various different dynamics and there were moments of shock and tension when the games turned deadly. However, there is a big reveal at the start of the book that effectively negates the purse of the entire game so all of this is rather pointless fun in terms of the overall plot. So I did enjoy reading this book it just wish there was more substance to it.
However for a rather light, quick festive read it is good. Made even the more fun if you spend more time of the games the author has set over the main story itself.