Reading the Detectives discussion

Murder for Christmas (Mordecai Tremaine #2)
This topic is about Murder for Christmas
31 views
Group reads > December 2018 - Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Comments Showing 1-48 of 48 (48 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Judy (last edited Nov 30, 2018 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
As December begins, we're reading the winner of our festive/ mystery poll, Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan. Please do not post spoilers in this thread.

Here's the start of the Goodreads blurb:

A festive mystery for the holiday season: mulled wine, mince pies ... and murder.

When Mordecai Tremaine arrives at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame on Christmas Eve, he discovers that the revelries are in full swing in the sleepy village of Sherbroome--but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.


This book was rediscovered by Vintage three years ago and proved very popular - since then a few more books by the author, featuring his series detective Mordecai Tremaine, have been republished. This is the second out of the reprints in original publication order, but it works fine as a standalone.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
I've opened this thread a bit early because I'll be busy in the morning.

Who is reading this one? I can recommend it as very Christmassy and good fun! Detective Mordecai Tremaine is also quite an appealing character.

I read it when it was published three years ago, and am now listening to the audio version read by actor John Curless, who has the most beautiful speaking voice. So far, I don't remember much about it from first time around.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 715 comments I have it on my Kindle and plan to start as soon as I finish Envious Casca in the Georgette Heyer group. Spending Christmas over and over with a houseful of quarrelsome family members feels like old times to me!


message 4: by Jill (last edited Nov 30, 2018 04:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1873 comments I did enjoy this and with all the snow and cold making it very Christmassy . I do like Mordecai Tremaine, and would love to get him a pair of glasses that would fit. I did have suspicions about the murderer, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment.
I did enjoy the first in the series more than this one but will definitely read more.


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
I would agree that I enjoyed the first in the series more than this one, but this was a good mystery and I would read more in the series.


message 6: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments I'm just about to start this one. I haven't read any others in the series so I'm looking forward to meeting a new detective!

I just recently read Hercule Poirot's Christmas which was quite strange in that there were almost no references to Christmas in the story at all. No snow. No carol singers. No cute robins. Will I find more festive spirit in Murder for Christmas I wonder?
:-)


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "Will I find more festive spirit in Murder for Christmas I wonder? ..."

You certainly will, Sue - this one is about as festive as it gets in stories involving a murder, I believe!


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
There are definitely carol singers and a tree :)


message 9: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments Well, that's more like it!
;-)


message 10: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments Page 1... snow
Page 2... Father Christmas
I’m happy 😆


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Hope people are still enjoying this. I've been getting on a bit slowly with my reread because I am listening to the audiobook, but I am enjoying it - rather a lot of characters to keep track of, but they do all become more individual as the story goes on. Fun to return to a country house mystery.


message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
I'm halfway through now and have actually arrived at the murder - another book with a slow build-up!


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
Yes, there was a lot of scene setting in this one. I preferred the Ngaio Marsh to this, if we are comparing similar, dysfunctional house parties :)


message 14: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1873 comments Personally, I preferred this one to the Marsh one. These people were individuals whereas the others were a family, probably worse than the Lamphey family. (Maybe only just)


message 15: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
I like this one a lot more than Colour Scheme, but I thought Death and the Dancing Footman was a fun house party story.


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
Ah, yes, I did mean Death and the Dancing Footman, sorry. I meant a similar, Christmas, house party. Colour Scheme, to be honest, was a bit of a slog!


message 17: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments In Chapter 3 there is a nice little social observation when Mordecai is chatting to Rosalind at dinner. She asks:

“I believe this is your first visit here isn’t it? Where did you and Benedict happen to meet?”
It was plain what she really had in her mind. She meant:
“You’re a queer find in this company. Where on earth did Benedict Grame pick you up?"


It made me smile!


message 18: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
I'm getting towards the end of this on audiobook now, and, while I'm enjoying the reread, I'm getting slightly irritated with how many times Mordecai moves his pince nez around. Does he have to push them up and down his nose on every page?!

This is also making me wonder when both pince nez and monocles went out of fashion.


message 19: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1873 comments Judy wrote: "I'm getting towards the end of this on audiobook now, and, while I'm enjoying the reread, I'm getting slightly irritated with how many times Mordecai moves his pince nez around. Does he have to pus..."

I did put in my review that I would like to buy him a pair of glasses that actually fitted. That was irritating.


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
https://www.2020mag.com/article/hinds...

According to this article, they made eyeglasses fashionable. They do look very uncomfortable though!


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Re his glasses, sounds like you and I were on the same page here, Jill.

Thanks for the info about pince-nez, Susan. I've found another article which says that a particular type, finger-piece, were popular in the 1920s because they could be used for astigmatism - so perhaps Mordecai's constant fiddling with his glasses has some point? (Though no less annoying to a reader.)

https://www.college-optometrists.org/...


message 22: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments I agree about the glasses. Now that I think about it, the thing that came up too often for me was the description of him as being 'sentimental'. It happened so often that I had expected the fact to be significant in the plot somehow. I can't see that it was though, in the end.


message 23: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this first time around but not so much on a second read, even though I had forgotten a lot of the plot and whodunit!

I think perhaps this is a book that should only really be read once, though, so I won't change my four-star rating as I liked it so much first time. I also think it might have been a mistake for me to listen to it on audiobook as I got a bit bored with it, even though the reader (John Curless) had a great voice.


message 24: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
On the "sentimental" element to his character, I wonder if this is more significant in other books in the series, perhaps?


message 25: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments Judy wrote: "On the "sentimental" element to his character, I wonder if this is more significant in other books in the series, perhaps?"

Yes good point Judy, and I'd definitely try more in this series if they are available so I may find out. :-)


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
He is often described as sentimental and also romantic. Poirot manages to be both, without Christie referring to it quite so often.


message 27: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "I'd definitely try more in this series if they are available so I may find out. :-) "

There are a few others in print, I believe - so far I've only read one of them, Murder has a Motive, which was quite good too.


message 28: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "He is often described as sentimental and also romantic. Poirot manages to be both, without Christie referring to it quite so often."

You have a point, Susan - I think the reading of Romantic Stories is maybe a bit too obvious a pointer! Of course Poirot benefits from having a great sidekick so their different personalities can spark off one another.


message 29: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments Judy wrote: "There are a few others in print, I believe - so far I've only read one of them,Murder has a Motive [book:Murder has a..."

My library has that one so I may try it - thanks!


Sandy | 2563 comments Mod
I think the author used the glasses and Romantic Stories to force distinction on his detective, while Christie, and others, let the reader discover personality traits for themselves.


message 31: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Quirks have to be done with care, I think - Poirot's moustache is funny, but Mordecai's pince-nez not so much.


message 32: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1873 comments I was rather pleased that he had weakness for romantic stories, so unmanly in that generation. With Poirot, it is not just his mustache he is fussy about, but everything. His dress, his surroundings, what he eats and drinks. Everything must be in order!


message 33: by Robin (new)

Robin I haven't read this book, but found the discussion interesting. I think that the comments about constant repitition of a character's foibles or other aspects of character remind me of the adage in scriptwriting.. . Show don't tell. A clever novelist does this.


Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Judy wrote: "Sue wrote: "I'd definitely try more in this series if they are available so I may find out. :-) "

There are a few others in print, I believe - so far I've only read one of them, [book:Murder has a..."


Good to know - I have a monthly subscription to Scribd, and they have a few Duncan audiobooks available to try out!


message 35: by Susan in NC (last edited Dec 15, 2018 11:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Jill wrote: "I was rather pleased that he had weakness for romantic stories, so unmanly in that generation. With Poirot, it is not just his mustache he is fussy about, but everything. His dress, his surrounding..."

Yes, I often felt being a servant or employee of Poirot would be exhausting, he seems quite the persnickety person. Amusing to read about, but probably a pain to deal with on a daily basis - the mustache I could see, but I always found it ridiculous that he wore shoes in a too-small size - painful vanity!


Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Jill wrote: "I was rather pleased that he had weakness for romantic stories, so unmanly in that generation. With Poirot, it is not just his mustache he is fussy about, but everything. His dress, his surrounding..."

I must ask, is that your dog in your profile pic, he or she is absolutely stunning!


message 37: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
Susan in NC wrote: "Good to know - I have a monthly subscription to Scribd, and they have a few Duncan audiobooks available to try out! ..."

I use Scribd too and have just listened to Murder for Christmas via the platform - the reader, John Curless, has a wonderful voice and does a great job. I believe he is the reader on the others too.


message 38: by Susan in NC (last edited Dec 15, 2018 12:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Robin wrote: "I haven't read this book, but found the discussion interesting. I think that the comments about constant repitition of a character's foibles or other aspects of character remind me of the adage in ..."

So true, about showing, not telling - that’ll pull the fun out of a book for me.

And I really appreciate these discussions, also - I have to catch up with the Ngaio Marsh series, for instance, but get the impression from the discussion that Colour Scheme didn’t rock anyone’s world, so I won’t start with that book.

If I’ve got a stack of books I want to read in a limited time, I appreciate the discerning comments of fellow readers to help me decide if I want to read a book right now, add it to my TBR pile for later, or skip it altogether!


message 39: by Susan in NC (last edited Dec 15, 2018 12:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Judy wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Good to know - I have a monthly subscription to Scribd, and they have a few Duncan audiobooks available to try out! ..."

I use Scribd too and have just listened to Murder for C..."


Good to know, I really enjoyed the bits I listened to - I’ve become a big fan of audiobooks, sometimes I read along if I can get the physical book, sometimes I listen while I knit or something, but a good narrator is essential.

I’ve enjoyed Scribd over the past couple years, I think they have a decent selection (of what I’m into reading, anyway!)


message 40: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments I keep hearing about Scribd but I'm not sure how it works. I've been a member of audible for years, where I get credits to buy audiobooks. Am I right in thinking that with Scribd you don't own the books but you have access to all of them to listen to when you choose?


message 41: by Sue (last edited Dec 15, 2018 12:49PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments I should add that I've just been on the Scribd website and it's one of those infuriating ones that simply show you a sign up page for a free trial. I can't seem to get past it without signing up but I want to know more first - like how much it costs even! It does irritate me when they do that... hrumph!


message 42: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
That’s right, you pay a monthly fee and get “unlimited” access to listen to their audiobooks and read their books. There is a fair use policy so I don’t think you could go mad with loads of books at once, but this has never been a problem for me. The charge is in dollars and I think it works out around £7 a month.


message 43: by Susan in NC (last edited Dec 15, 2018 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Judy wrote: "That’s right, you pay a monthly fee and get “unlimited” access to listen to their audiobooks and read their books. There is a fair use policy so I don’t think you could go mad with loads of books a..."

Yes, it’s $8.99 a month, and I’ve never had a problem with the number of books you can access. I tried Audible a few years ago for a free trial, then had to have surgery and forgot to cancel it, and they ran up a year of credit charges before I realized! I complained and got a refund to my card, and learned buyer beware!

Scribd added audiobooks in the last couple years (well, that’s when I started using them, anyway), and I’ve been satisfied with the app. Plus, I appreciate that I get an email every month when they charge me, so I’m aware of the status of my membership. I use it a lot, but I could see losing track if one were busy with work or studying or other stuff.


message 44: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8432 comments Mod
The big advantage with Audible is the greater range of audiobooks, and I do sometimes belong to it because of that, but Scribd does have quite a lot too.


message 45: by Susan in NC (last edited Dec 15, 2018 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Judy wrote: "The big advantage with Audible is the greater range of audiobooks, and I do sometimes belong to it because of that, but Scribd does have quite a lot too."

That’s what keeps tempting me to give audible another try when they send those, “we’ve missed you, give us another try” emails! I was just so mortified that I was clueless enough to rack up the charges when I wasn’t even using the app, just health issues got in the way! I don’t want to do that again, but they were so responsive that I got the impression I wasn’t the only customer displeased with the practice - I bet they’ve changed it, or at least notify customers when the Free Trial is over and they begin to charge you...


Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Sue wrote: "I should add that I've just been on the Scribd website and it's one of those infuriating ones that simply show you a sign up page for a free trial. I can't seem to get past it without signing up bu..."

Smart woman!


Susan | 9434 comments Mod
Audible were very helpful to me a while ago. I broke the kindle fire I used for my Audible books and decided to cancel my membership and just use kindle books (I wasn't sure I wanted another Fire), but they allowed me to take a three month break, so I then brought something else to listen on and re-started my membership.

Free trials can be a real con. I subscribed to a magazine for my daughter once and, within a short time, I found I was being charged for all kinds of special offers and gifts; some quite expensive.


message 48: by Susan in NC (last edited Dec 18, 2018 07:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2416 comments Susan wrote: "Audible were very helpful to me a while ago. I broke the kindle fire I used for my Audible books and decided to cancel my membership and just use kindle books (I wasn't sure I wanted another Fire),..."

Yes, my own fault, I didn’t keep track of the free membership expiring, but they were very understanding about health issues popping up and distracting me! And one of my sisters had a magazine experience like that years ago - they’d just send things and try and charge her!


back to top