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Murder for Christmas (Mordecai Tremaine #2)
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Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8318 comments Mod
This is the spoiler thread for Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan.

Retired tobacconist, romance reader and amateur sleuth Mordecai Tremaine is invited to join a Christmas house party in this classic festive mystery, but soon discovers there are many tensions among the guests.

Feel free to post spoilers in this thread.


Susan | 9308 comments Mod
Whenever we have a Christmas house party in a GA detective novel, I suspect underhand motives...


Sandy | 2499 comments Mod
This was a reread for me though I couldn't remember the plot. The murderer soon came back to me but not the reason and the backstory. This was really a party you didn't want to attend.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1812 comments Susan wrote: "Whenever we have a Christmas house party in a GA detective novel, I suspect underhand motives..."

I do think we are conditioned to feel like that.


Susan | 9308 comments Mod
Yes, and, as Sandy points out, they are all Christmas parties you wouldn't want to attend. Of course, by the end, we realise why the guests don't seem to be enjoying themselves much!


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 704 comments I'm afraid I was underwhelmed by this one, I didn't find Tremaine a believable character, and I really disliked the way the author cheated--repeatedly showing Tremaine finding a clue but not telling us what the clue was (for instance, when he looks in the basin of dirt that holds the Christmas tree but we aren't told what he finds there). I was not surprised by the perp, nor by the fact that the victim was not the intended one, and felt that several of the characters changed their behavior to suit the exigencies of the plot, including at remained and our host--surely two characters who needed to be consistent. And I do get tired of characters who clearly know something but refuse to reveal it. This was a weak one for me.


Susan | 9308 comments Mod
There were also quite a lot of Father Christmas costumes floating about, to confuse matters.

What did everything think of the idea of inviting people you were blackmailing to a Christmas party every year, though? I would have have thought it was an ideal way to get yourself murdered, personally... It might have been a better ending to have had the victims of the blackmail getting together and plotting to kill the person responsible, as they must have had some idea that other guests were equally unwilling to be there?


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 704 comments I think that plot would work in America but not as much in Britain in that era--too much social polish for people necessarily to perceive the troubles of others. I was annoyed that the potentialities of the priest's hole were wasted!


Susan | 9308 comments Mod
The priest's hole was wasted, I agree, Abigail. Although the house was very important to the novel.


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

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments Abigail wrote: "I do get tired of characters who clearly know something but refuse to reveal it...."

I probably enjoyed this more than you did Abigail, but I do agree with you on this point, it always irritates me!


message 11: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments I was surprised that the Lorimer character wasn't a more significant part of the plot. Having the old owner on hand seems too good a plot point to waste like that. It's interesting to wonder how it must feel to be the last owner of a house that had such a history over hundreds of years, yet very little of that is brought out in the story.

Overall though, I did enjoy it.


Sandy | 2499 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "I was surprised that the Lorimer character wasn't a more significant part of the plot. Having the old owner on hand seems too good a plot point to waste like that. It's interesting to wonder how it..."

I agree that a lot more could have been made of the former owner. He had great potential but just disappeared.


message 13: by Judy (last edited Dec 13, 2018 02:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8318 comments Mod
I think the whole blackmail plot is pretty unlikely and I agree with Susan, inviting the victims to a Christmas party could be a good way to get yourself killed! An interesting different spin on the house party theme, though.

I am getting a bit fed up with the plot twist where the detective's friend, who invited him/her to the house party, turns out to be the killer - this seems to happen in too many books!


message 14: by Judy (last edited Dec 13, 2018 02:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8318 comments Mod
On the former owner and the resemblance in the portrait, it struck me that this is very similar to a Sherlock Holmes story, but I won't say which one in case anyone hasn't read it. Sorry, couldn't think of the best way to put this so I have edited this post a couple of times!


message 15: by Pamela (last edited Dec 17, 2018 12:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pamela (bibliohound) | 320 comments I've just finished this one, and agree with most of the comments above.

It was good fun and an easy read, but I didn't really warm to Mordecai Tremaine, and I agree there were quite a few times when the plot threw something up (or someone) that then disappeared.

The blackmail plot was odd - although I liked the idea of someone murdering the blackmailer to take over his victims, I didn't think it was likely.

The Christmas feel and the multiple Father Christmas costumes angle was good though.


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