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The Christmas Egg (Inspector Brett Nightingale, #3)
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The Christmas Egg

(Inspector Brett Nightingale #3)

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  409 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In a gloomy flat off Islington High Street, Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale and Sergeant Beddoes find an old woman dead. The Princess Olga Karukhin, who fled from Russia at the time of the Revolution, has lived in terror of being discovered ever since.

Olga's grandson, Ivan, appears to have run from the scene, but is later seen returning to the flat as though oblivious to
Paperback, British Library Crime Classics, 219 pages
Published October 10th 2019 by The British Library (first published 1958)
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Average rating 3.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  409 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Start your review of The Christmas Egg (Inspector Brett Nightingale, #3)
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was nominated as a possible monthly read in English Mysterious Club. Unfortunately it didn't win, but enough people wanted to read it, that we put it up as a buddy read, and lo here is my review.

Well the reason I wanted to read this was because of the title, I love Christmas, and also I'm a real detective story fan. So here we are.

Ok I gave this about 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.0, it was an interesting story with some enjoyable characters, and my first introduction to Inspector Brett N
Niki (nikilovestoread)
Dec 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I generally love this era of writing, but The Christmas Egg was a disappointment to say the least. The dialogue was confusing and I just could not get into it. Unfortunately, this is not one I would recommend.
Action-driven crime of the 50s with a good description of police work, but otherwise not my favourite of this series.
For those who somehow believe that women weren't writing good mysteries before P.D. James, I introduce Mary Kelly. Kelly's well-written, well-plotted and superbly characterized books seem to be forgotten now, and I certainly don't know why. It's a bitter cold pre-Christmas season in London, when the body of an elderly woman is found in her bed. Inspector Brett Nightingale finds that she's a Russian princess, a refuge from the 1917 Revolution, living with her nondescript grandson. But an eminent ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
A slow mystery of sorts with confusing muddled dialogue. The premise is good, but ultimately a coherent plot line is never fully realized.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/5 Full review can be found at ...more
Adam Carson
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas-tales
I really struggled to get into this book. Partly, this was because I was expecting a typical golden age murder mystery - and really, this book is more about a jewellery robbery. Frankly, I find jewellery robbery stories somewhat dull!

There were other issues - I liked that the plot was reasonably fast paced, but at times this made it somewhat confusing. I struggled to remember the cast of characters, partly because most were given so little time to develop and grow.

The police were uniformly usel
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, crime
’Twas three nights before Christmas...

Three days before Christmas, Inspector Nightingale is called to the scene of a suspicious death. An elderly woman has been found dead in her bed, and given her age it may have passed as natural but for the fact that she appears to have been robbed. Her trunk, which she always kept securely locked, is empty. Nightingale soon discovers she was a Russian Princess who had fled to Britain during the Revolution, bringing with her many fabulous jewels and valuable
The Librarian's Granddaughter
This book is yet another British crime novel that I read this year. The action takes us to the modest room of a long-forgotten Russian princess. She is lying dead in her bed, and her grandson's escape a little earlier and her empty chest speak of a robbery that did not go exactly according to plan. Brett Nightingale is the man tasked with solving the difficult mystery. Christmas is only days away, and he has a premonition that will both help him and get him in trouble. The story was quite intere ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this with a reading group and was looking forward to a festive read, Sadly it did not happen with this novel, which is apparently the third in a series. Because of this there was no gentle introduction to the main characters and it seemed as if there was an ongoing thread too. I didn't finish it and I really did try, but it all got a bit complicated and confusing and I did not like Nightingale or the other detective. All in all a disappointing read. ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

This was such a disappointing book, and I was so looking forward to it. I love Faberge Eggs and a mystery thrown in I thought would be wonderful. I feel like I would at a firework display when all the fireworks don't go off.
This apparently was the 3rd book in a short series by this author and for some reason, the publishers republished this one but not the others. It looked like a stand-alone book from the description. Very disappointing. :(
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom Ewing
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-written with a marvellous sense of fifties London, from the squalid Islington flat the book opens in to the high-end record shop where vital clues are uncovered. Red herrings and misunderstandings complicate a fairly simple plot, but the setting and characters are vivid. Loses its way a little once it leaves the city and heads out into a Kentish blizzard for its more thriller-ish denouement - fortunately the quality of the writing sees you through.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not to my taste—I’m not a big fan of police procedurals, especially when the pacing is bizarre (17 pages for an awkward,mostly inconsequential meeting between the teenage girl and the detective?), and the “detection” is a lot of guesswork followed by a ten-page explication. Maybe it’s meant to be more about the characters—except that I don’t much care for/understand the characters.

It’s got a lovely cover. It’s set at Christmas. I like the egg. It may be just what you want. Happy New Year!
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought the premise was good, but it was slow going. I found it confusing and tedious until the snowstorm.
Tony DeHaan
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Nothing better to start off your Christmas holiday than with a Christmas Crime novel! A dead impoverished Russian princess, her stolen jewels, her alcoholic son, a jeweller, and a Fabergé egg...
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable seasonal mystery; more of a thriller than a crime puzzle
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had been wanting to read something by Mary Kelly since hearing her mentioned at Alibis in the Archive 2018, so I was delighted to see that this year’s Christmas release in the British Library Crime Classics series was The Christmas Egg, originally published by Secker & Warburg in 1958.

This novel lived up to my expectations. Her powers of description are tremendous, and it is easy to imagine the people and places she creates, even when the plot revolves around the murder of an old lady living i
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book published in 1958 has been my favorite from this series British Library Crime Classics. It features the Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale who lives and works in London. The book is prefaced by an introduction by Martin Edwards. This is essential reading as Edwards not only provides an account of the writer's career, but describes the art of her writing. I did find the writing to be xuperb. Kelly fleshes out her characters skillfully, and creates a rich atmosphere that moves from London ...more
Lisa Kucharski
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The story takes place in London, Dec 22, 23, 24. Insp. Nightingale and his partner Beddoes are the two that the story is told through. An older woman is found dead, if she hadn't appeared to have been robbed they would probably dismissed her death but instead- it turned into an investigation.

The story is told, in a highly casual and realistic manner. Kelly's strength is in her dialogue and ability to make you feel her characters well. Her plotting out the story is a different matter. It feels l
Pamela Mclaren
A poor old woman is found dead in her squalid flat. Seems a simple case until there are signs that she was someone more than people saw, and that her death is not one of old age.

In this Golden Age of British murder, we meet and follow the investigation of Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale and Sgt. Beddoes, as they discover that the murder victim is an exiled Russian princess, who lived poorly but apparently held onto a trunkful of antiques and jewels.

Was she murdered by a gang of thieves Nightin
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, holidays
When an exiled Russian Princess jewelry disappears, Inspector Nightingale is one the case. In fact, the inspector was already looking for a new gang of jewelry thieves and he is convinced they are involved in the new crime; he has his suspicions.

I liked this book, I thought if would be a murder mystery, but it wasn't. There was a murder but there was never any doubt about who committed it. I liked that the police weren't right, but that the inspector's instincts still got them where they needed
Randy Money
Pretty solid old school British police procedural, sort of. The main character, Police Inspector Nightingale, is anything but infallible, his estimation of some the major players proving wrong by the end. Further his relationship with his second, Beddoes, is not as formal as one might expect from the British of the 1950s, which increased my enjoyment of the story. If you're looking for something that really takes into account the ambiance around Christmas, you might be somewhat disappointed. The ...more
Colin Mitchell
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
Very difficult to set exactly how I found this story. Mary Kelly wrote some 10 books and then disappeared from the literary scene although she lived on for many years. This story has been republished in the excellent British Library Crime Classic series.

Inspector Brett Nightingale and Sergeant Beddoes are looking into the theft of porcelain from an address in Hampstead, London when they are called to an impoverished room where an old lady has been found dead in her bed. There opens the case of t
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Whodunnit buffs
Tempted to say a curates egg of a book but that would be cruel as this is excellent fare. Always like to read at Christmas a Christmas themed whodunnit and picked this one up -- well I paid for it too -- by the far from prolific author Mary Kelly. Set over three days it is not your conventional whodunnit, far from it, but it is superbly written and the principal character Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale and his Sergeant Beddoes are both intriguing erudite characters but not hard boiled.....Mor ...more
Jeff Lewis
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mary Kelly is another new author to me but this time one from the tale of the Golden Age of Crime. Not so much as an whodunnit but more of a crime story. Princess Olga Karukhin is a relic from the time of the Tsar and is living out her days in central London. On her death it is discovered that she had a large jewelry collection that she had been slowly selling off when she needed cash. Christmas is almost approaching when Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale and Sergeant Beddoes begin their investi ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2020 rated it liked it
My first British Library Crime Classics read and I have mixed feelings after reading this.

It somehow felt slow-paced and fast-paced at the same time which caused me some confusion. In addition to this, there were some elements of dialogue that made me feel like I should be in on the inside joke or reference but I was at an absolute loss.

Notably after some research I discovered that The Christmas Egg was actually the third in the Brett Nightingale Series so maybe it was my own fault for being c
Carol Evans
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
While the story takes place around Christmas, it's not very Christmassy. There are no interrupted celebrations, no warm feelings. There is a bit of present buying, but even that turns out questionable, and traipsing through the snow can be deadly. It's a tense book, with some moments of definite danger. We follow Nightingale as he searches for clues and questions suspects. The plot moves quickly once it gets rolling. It's a well-written, clever story with fully-developed characters, a good read ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Now you know I love these British Crime Classics but this is a new one on me. Its quick - happens over just 3 days. Its by a writer I've never heard off and is a bit of a mystery to those who know too. Its more domestic, no big back drops like a Country House or exotic location. And its not a classic device like a locked room or puzzle for a major detective to solve. Personally, it wasn't my cup of tea but I still got a lot out of this period piece. A change is as good as a rest they say.
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Mary Kelly was an English crime writer best known for the Inspector Brett Nightingale series. Writing in the 1950s and 1960s, Kelly was celebrated for the sense of refreshingly dark suspense in her mysteries. Her novel , published in 1961, won the Gold Dagger Award.

Other books in the series

Inspector Brett Nightingale (3 books)
  • A Cold Coming (Inspector Brett Nightingale, #1)
  • Dead Man's Riddle (Inspector Brett Nightingale, #2)

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