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Mystery in White

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  3,825 ratings  ·  645 reviews
On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home.

Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst.

Kindle Edition, British Library Crime Classics, 256 pages
Published September 28th 2014 by The British Library (first published 1937)
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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 ·  3,825 ratings  ·  645 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’The horrors on the train, great though as it may turn to be, will not compete with the horror that exists here, in this house.’’

It is Christmas Eve and several passengers have found themselves cooped up in a train, heading to their destinations, loaded with presents and dubious intentions. As the train proves to be no match for the greedy snowfall, the strange, newly-formed fellowship decides to venture out and find shelter away from the locomotive. A cosy, yet imposing, country house welc
Diane S ☔
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The golden age of mysteries, which included Nero Wolfe, Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christies. All authors I have read though not for many years. This author was apparently a very successful member of that group, but I had never heard of nor read him before. This book was re-released recently and I was captivated by the cover and the title.

I forgot how fun these books are, the days before CSI, no forensics, DNA, computer data bases. Just plain, good old detecting, using the evidence in front of y
Nov 28, 2016 marked it as british-crime-library-classics
The Hook - Last December I participated in an Elfster Holiday Swap with some book loving friends. Imagine my delight when I received two British Classic Christmas Crime Mysteries from across the seas from a Tracey in the UK. I saved both for this Christmas season and just finished the first.

The Line - ”Miss Noyes”, replied Lydia, “suppose this house belonged to you, and you returned to it after the world’s worst snowstorm, would you rather find your larder empty or seven skeletons?

The Sinker -
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
3.5 stars for Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon, the second book I have read by this author.

On Christmas Eve a snowstorm rages. A group of disoriented travellers who, somewhat unwisely, have abandoned their stranded train, have stumbled upon a deserted house. But a deserted house where a bread knife lays on the floor, the kettle is boiling, the fires are lit and tea is laid.

I really enjoyed most of this book. It was not until we got to the final chapters that it all began to wear a little
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Once again I'm pleased to have read a re-release of a late 1930s classic mystery, Mystery in White, that combines elements of many other classics (many that had not yet been written!). There is the journey of a disparate group on Christmas Eve; the train stuck in the storm on the tracks; some passengers who decide to strike out for a nearby rail station despite the storm. And then the deserted, yet welcoming, country house. Are there ghosts or are there humans to beware of. Many questions and a ...more
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This Golden Age mystery was first published in 1937. It is Christmas Eve and a group of people are stranded on a train after heavy snow. There are a good cast of characters, including an elderly bore, a psychic, a brother and sister, a young office clerk and a chorus girl travelling to an audition. The psychic, Edward Maltby, decides to leave the train and attempt to find another station and he is soon followed by others from his train carriage. Indeed, eventually the travellers find themselves ...more
Connie G
"Mystery in White" is a Golden Age mystery set during a heavy snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Passengers are on their way to holiday gatherings on a train traveling from London to the countryside. When the train gets stuck in the huge snowdrifts on the tracks, some of the passengers decide to walk to the next station. For a while it looks like they might get lost in the white-out, but they come upon a deserted house. It's a strange situation with the door unlocked, fires burning in the fireplaces, t ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Captivated by Thirteen Guests (1936), I wasted no time downloading the only other J. Jefferson Farjeon novel I could find in the Kindle format: Mystery in White, first published the following year. This novel proved even better than the first — and that’s saying something! Dorothy L. Sayers called Farjeon “unsurpassed for creepy skill in mysterious adventures,” and he certainly proves it in Mystery in White!

Led by the intrepid and perspicacious Edward Maltby, 60 years old and a proud member of t
Samuel Bigglesworth
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was great! Fast paced read of Noir style. For me, as good as the Orient Express. This is a great cosy Christmas read. People who review on Goodreads have often read so much that nothing is original to them, and they are hard to please. Is that fair to say? Anyhow, if you are looking for social political commentary that will blow your mind and change your life look elsewhere. If you just want a damn good read pick this up!
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
English Mysteries Club, February Group Read.

This was unexpectedly entertaining! Strangers on a train whose journey is halted by snow - a familiar scene this week! - decide to try to walk to the next station only to get lost and end up in a deserted country house. Most of the action thereafter is described in conversation rather than as it takes place but still the momentum is kept up and the mystery becomes more mysterious. I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to whoever suggested it as th
Julie  Durnell
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk, mystery
I loved this book, maybe it's just the right time of the year to read a snowbound mystery at Christmas but it was great! A bit of gothic, a bit of supernatural and a real entertaining read-I'm thinking it would make a wonderful movie in light of the Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express remake. ...more
Bobby Underwood
Jul 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to mark this one as finished because I'm not finishing it. I read a lot of 30s and 40s books, so it wasn't the style so much as the execution. I know some love this book but it was just boring to me. It had the potential to be one of those fun when you're in the mood for it kind of books, but became harder and harder to ever get in that mood, because I didn't care about any of these people and the constant verbal interaction between the characters I couldn't warm to made it rough going ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The highly successful reissue of this book in 2014 by the British Library initiated not just a series of classic-era crime reissues by the BL but a revival of interest in classic crime novels in general.

It's Christmas Eve, and a train gets stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere. Some of the passengers attempt to walk to the nearest station, get lost, and find themselves at a house where the fires are lit in the grates, the kettle's boiling on the stove, the table has been set for tea . . . b
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What better to settle down with as Christmas approaches than a crime story set over the two days of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That is what J Jefferson Farjeon provides us with and the word 'Mystery' in the title is the operative word. The reason for this is that oft times when the goings on in the plot are very much a mystery to the reader!

A train is stranded in snow and for some inexplicable reason a group of passengers decided to embark and try to walk to a nearby station to see if ther
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
THE first thing David did on emerging from the front door was to pitch head first into a mound of snow. For a moment or two he nearly suffocated, while countless soft, icy pellets invaded his back as though he were being bombarded by silent salvos from heaven. Then he scrambled out, and strained ears choked with snow for a repetition of the shout. Already he had lost his sense of direction, for all he could see was a bewildering succession of snowflake close-ups, almost blinding vision. During t ...more
Dec 08, 2020 rated it liked it
It's got such a strong start! There's a chorus girl who's constantly declaring herself "a bit psychic", and an old man obsessed with the ghost of King Charles the First! A blizzard strikes! An eerie fairy tale house full of Christmas food and no hosts! Murder most foul!

But... the writing makes it difficult to keep track of who's talking, and so many random people drift in and out of the crime that it's hard to care who did what and why. I liked enough of it to try the author again, and it's tota
Christine PNW
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This has little in common with Murder on the Orient Express, aside from the whole train in winter thing.

This is my second British Library Crime Classic by J. Jefferson Farjeon. I previously read Thirteen Guests, which was a traditional English Country House murder. I preferred Mystery in White to that one, but I have yet to find one of these BLCC mysteries that comes close to a Christie or a Sayers. I suppose that is, in part, why they are long out of print and need to be "rediscovered."

Mystery in White (1937) by J. Jefferson Farjeon finds a train full of people stuck in an unexpectedly heavy winter storm as they are on their way to various Christmas destinations.. It's a situation very familiar to fans of the Golden Age mystery story. But Farjeon gives the scenario a deft twist from that of Christie's Orient Express. Instead of keeping everyone snugly in place on the trapped train, he sends them out into the wintry whiteness. After they've been stuck for what seems an eternity ...more
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: who-dunnit, christmas
Stranded on a train in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, a group of passengers decide to walk to the shelter of a nearby station, but stumble instead upon an unlocked house in which they find blazing fires, a table set for tea and a well stocked larder.....but no inhabitants.
There is plenty of mystery here, lots of melodrama and atmosphere, and a diverse cast of characters....throw in a sprinkling of the supernatural, and you have an entertaining, seasonal whodunnit, which is nicely old fashioned.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: vintage crime lovers
Shelves: owned-bookcase
This book is an excellent example of what it is - an old fashioned, well written 'whodunnit' with a wintry/Christmas theme.
It's exactly what I was looking for!
Jan 17, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mysteries
This book aggravated me. So, there will probably be some sort of spoilers in this review. Be warned.
I chose to read this book over the holidays because it promised to be a nice vintage Christmas mystery. It sounded fun. Then almost from the first page it hinted at a ghostly overtone but pulled back from a bit. Okay, so at least one person was going to be seeing ghosts everywhere. Not my favorite plot device, but okay. Then slowly, slowly the supernatural plot hinted at took over the whole stor
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
I usually really enjoy a classical detective story such as this one without any DNA, internet, video,...aspects but in this case there was no point at which I was really interested in the story or the characters. Everything felt too planned and the solution to all the murders was the most banal one with unrealistic motives. Still an easy read and festive audio book.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, holiday
A different spin to the 'manor house murder' subgenre. The few paranormal aspects to this were just the right amount to lend a certain spookiness to the story while not stretching my credulity too far. ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good read. A little slow moving as can happen in this genre.
I did enjoy the range of characters. Once the action picked up a bit it moved very quickly and before you knew it...well it was 2 am on Christmas.
I would strongly suggest this for a Christmas Eve read by the fire!
Suspenseful and spooky, but not the mystery I expected. The train only plays a minor part.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This classic mystery has been reissued and is all over Waterstone's this season. The cover alone is reason to buy the book, very stylishly evocative of the 1930s. The story keeps the promise of the cover -- a cozy, though faintly menacing, mystery involving a group of people who abandon their carriage on a snowbound train and strike out through a blizzard, hoping to get to a nearby station. Instead, they gratefully stumble on a country manor, where they find fires blazing in hearths, a meal laid ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
I liked this cosy murder mystery set in a snow storm on Christmas Eve in 1930's England.

I enjoyed this on audio; sometimes I laughed out loud (I'm not sure this was intended by the author!) at the overly dramatic conversation and reactions enhanced by the narration.

You probably wouldn't be able to solve the murder from the beginning as you are drip-fed facts and happenings to suit but I didn't mind that at all.

There were a few eye-rolling moments but in a good-humoured way.

It's a bit of fun and
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as I expected. First of all, I assumed it was a whodunit, and it's not. The nature of the mystery only becomes clear very late into the book, and by then I was quite frustrated. I'd say it's more like a campfire mystery, with mostly unpleasant characters telling the tale. The setting was original enough, but other than that, it's not a very good crime novel. ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book very atmospheric and mysterious with a great setting for Christmas. It's not really a typical Golden Age Mystery in that you can't follow all the clues through to a solution but I think you just have to go with the flow and see where it takes you. ...more
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Joseph Jefferson Farjeon was always going to be a writer as, born in London, he was the son of Benjamin Leopold Farjeon who at the time was a well-known novelist whose other children were Eleanor Farjeon, who became a children's writer, and Herbert Farjeon, who became a playwright and who wrote the well-respected 'A Cricket Bag'.

The family were descended from Thomas Jefferson but it was his matern

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