Christmas Is Murder (Rex Graves Series #1)

Christmas Is Murder (Rex Graves Series #1)

3.5 11
by C. S. Challinor
     
 

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Christmasismurder…when you’re stranded with a killer

Not even a blizzard can keep Rex Graves away from Swanmere Manor, a secluded Victorian hotel in the English countryside owned by the eccentric Dahlia Smithings. But instead of Christmas cheer, the Scottish barrister finds a dead guest. Was it a stroke that killed old Mr. Lawdry? Or an

Overview

Christmasismurder…when you’re stranded with a killer

Not even a blizzard can keep Rex Graves away from Swanmere Manor, a secluded Victorian hotel in the English countryside owned by the eccentric Dahlia Smithings. But instead of Christmas cheer, the Scottish barrister finds a dead guest. Was it a stroke that killed old Mr. Lawdry? Or an almond tart laced with poison?

When more guests die, all hopes for a jolly holiday are dashed. Snowbound and terrified, no one can escape the cold-blooded killer. Rex takes it upon himself to unravel the mystery. A biography of President George W. Bush found charred in the fireplace might offer a few clues. Could the killer be the sherry-swilling handyman? The gay antiques dealer with the biting wit? The quarreling newlyweds? Surely it’s not Helen D’Arcy, the lovely lass Rex seems to be falling for...


Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Shades of Agatha Christie. A disparate group of guests snowed in at an English hotel await Christmas and death. Rex Graves, QC, makes the trip from Scotland to Swanmere Manor just in time to turn sleuth. The proprietress, Mrs. Smithings, a widow who recently lost a son in Iraq, is an old friend of his mother's. But Rex's fond memories of childhood visits are about to be polluted by a series of murders. Soon after his arrival, he is taken aside by honeymooning EMT Charley Perkins, who confides his suspicions that what caused old Mr. Lawdry's death was not a heart attack but poison in his almond tart. The next to die is unpopular New York literary agent Miriam Greenbaum, whose edited biography of George W. Bush has been delayed by a fall down the stairs that was obviously helped along. Rex is attracted to Helen d'Arcy, but when her friend Wanda Martyr falls victim to the killer, he has to add Helen to his necessarily small list of suspects. Nothing daunted, he uses his prosecutorial expertise to work his way through method and motive until he announces the murderer in a denouement in the classic style. Challinor's debut is a pleasant modern knockoff of Christie. It remains to be seen whether Rex's skills are the equal of Poirot's or Miss Marple's.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738713595
Publisher:
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Series:
Rex Graves Series, #1
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
291,046
Product dimensions:
(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

C.S. Challinor (Florida) was educated in England and Scotland, and has traveled extensively. Her short stories have been published in women’s magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Christmas Is Murder (Rex Graves Series #1) 3.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want my reading to be fun, and this cozy mystery, set in a snowbound English inn, was an enjoyable book. The characters are interesting, and diverse,and mostly fleshed out well enough to seem real. I must admit though, that the physical description of the hero, Rex Graves, does make me wonder what makes him so immediately attractive to the women. Maybe the next book in the series will make this clearer to me. (Yes, I will be reading more by this author.) I was pretty certain early on that I knew who the murderer was, but I was only partly right. The ending had a twist that I was not expecting. If you like your mysteries to be entertaining, have likeable characters, and not have a lot of grizzly details about the crimes, this book would be a good choice for you.
AgathaChristiefan More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best mysteries I read in 2008.
yaye More than 1 year ago
A quick read finished the book in 2 days...caught my attention from page one. If you like cozy mysteries this is the book for you...
little-mouse More than 1 year ago
This book is reminiscent of Ten Little Indians and other books where you start out with a group of people who are systematically murdered. I was disappointed in this work. In fact, I only took two things away from reading it: the author dislikes Americans and she likes Agatha Christie. This book was obviously written by an Agatha Christie want-to-be but didn't have her level of sophistication. I found it hard to get past the negative comments about Americans....the comments were extremely distracting. Through out the first half of the book, I kept debating just not finishing it but I try to always complete a book once I have started it. I can honestly say that I will never read another work by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It gave me something to read that wasn't that bad but I was not crazy about the character sorry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes many nasty remarks about america and her president. Simple plot.
TaraFitzG More than 1 year ago
First, let me say, I give this a 2.5 rating.  Nice little cozy, but several problems.  It is jumpy, as other reviewers have pointed out.  And a few too many Americanisms.  I liked the Rex character (although he seemed to be tailored after Hamish MacBeth), and he could have been fleshed out a bit more. Four stars for the basics.  Major problems with the various plot developments.  First, it is obvious immediately who the intended victim was.  Second, none of the supposed red herrings were fully developed.  But the unforgivable thing is that when the reason for the murder was revealed, the reader is left scratching her head, and thinking, "Huh? You must be joking."  Very, very thin, and somewhat ridiculous.  A little more depth is called for in all aspects.  (And do have a British person do a quick edit for lingo inaccuracies -- I don't care how long the author lived in the UK -- her Yankeeism is showing.) Having written this, the series does hold promise as an enjoyable cozy series.  I have plans to read the second installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good story and Rex is a great character
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starred review from Booklist