Review
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Book Review: “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall” by Benedict Brown

I mentioned in my “Honor in the Dark” review that my new year’s resolution was to write more book reviews. Well, it’s still not January, but I have another review ready to already! I must admit that I am quite enjoying this!

The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall cover

About the book:

Fourth in the “Lord Edgington and his grandson Christopher investigates” series

Eight strangers are trapped in a deserted manor house as the snow falls, the body count rises and the Christmas tree still needs decorating.

England, 1925. When Lord Edgington receives an invitation to spend the Christmas holiday with an old colleague from the Metropolitan Police, he expects fine food, good conversation and the warmth of a roaring fire. But, on arriving at Mistletoe Hall with his family, they discover the house deserted and no explanation for where their host or his servants could be.

As the snow falls and more guests appear, the master detective begins to question what could connect the disparate group of newcomers. A teacher, a comedian, a thief, a sportsman, a singer, a policeman and a racing driver will all have their roles to play when a killer crashes the party. Cut off from the outside world by the worsening weather, and with bodies piling up, Lord Edgington must rely on his wits, his years of experience, and the help of his bumbling grandson Christopher in order to solve “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall”.

With hints of “And Then There Were None” and “The Sittaford Mystery”, the latest in the “Lord Edgington Investigates…” novel is a spoiler-free, standalone whodunit with a wicked resolution all of its own. Filled with warmth, humour, a fiendishly twisting plot, an adorable canine sidekick and plenty of Yuletide spirit, “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall” is a 1920s Christmas cracker that will baffle and charm you in equal measure.

The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall

Book Title: The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall

Author(s): Benedict Brown

Series (if applicable): Lord Edgington Investigates #4

Number of Pages (if known): 241

A couple of weeks ago, this book came to my attention. I just can’t remember how though… it may have been through a BookBub email or a Facebook advert… or something else entirely. Either way, the idea of reading a Christmas murder mystery set in the 1920s was too tempting to pass up… but then I noticed that “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall” was book 4 in a series! I’d seen that this was written as something of a standalone and could be enjoyed even if you hadn’t read the other books, but there was no way I was starting a series at book 4… So I started at book 1 and worked my way through. I say ‘worked’, but it was no work at all. These books are real page turners!

Characters:

In this book there were several returning characters from the previous stories. Most notably, we have Christopher (or ‘Chrissy’) as our main character and narrator. He is a young man in his late teens and is in his final year of boarding school. His grandfather is the esteemed Lord Edgington, a somewhat eccentric former police chief, who has taken Chrissy under his wing in this series and is teaching him how to solve crimes. It really is amazing how many murders this family finds themselves caught up in!

All of the characters have their own distinctive personalities and I think it’s here where it pays to have read the other books beforehand, as you get a real sense of who these people are and why they act in the way they do.

Plot:

As you might expect, “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall” is set at Christmas and best enjoyed with your festive drink of choice, a mince pie, and perhaps some 1920s tunes as an accompaniment (I think Spotify is super confused about my tastes now, especially since everything else I read is somewhat metal flavoured!). As you also may expect, there is a murder to solve! The “Lord Edgington Investigates” books are fantastic ‘whodunits’ and, while other readers may be able to solve these crimes before Lord Edgington reveals the culprit, I haven’t been able to yet!

In “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall” there are plenty of twists, turns, red herrings, and descriptions of food (I don’t know why, but I really like this). On this occasion, Lord Edgington takes his daughter and two grandsons (and small team of staff) to Mistletoe Hall to attend a Christmas party thrown by his old acquaintance, Lord Mountfalcon. When they arrive, they find the large house to be empty and other guests start to arrive. Oh, and there’s a dead body. This is important! Oh, and they’re snowed in with no chance of immediate escape or rescue. Soon it seems the guests are going to be picked off one by one unless Lord Edgington and Chrissy are able to find out who the murderer is.

Pacing:

Unlike the previous books in the series, this time our main characters (Chris and Lord Edgington) are in genuine danger and this adds an increased intensity to an otherwise cosy narrative. (I say ‘cosy’, but we’re still talking about murder here, folks!)

The pacing is spot on, never whizzing off ahead and skipping details, but also never lingering too long in one spot. As mentioned previously, this was a real page turner, and I struggled to put it down (even when I really should have been doing other things… like sleeping). 

Other thoughts:

I’ve come to love Benedict Brown‘s writing style and it really does feel like we’re being told the story by a 17 year-old boy in the 1920s (not that I know first-hand what that is like, but it’s how I’d imagine it to be). Not only are we told (and experience) the case unfolding, but we also get a good insight into Chrissy’s thoughts, feelings, concerns, and fears. This makes for a far more personal tale; one that you can get truly invested in.

I’ve already added the other “Lord Edgington Investigates” books to my ever-growing TBR, so I’ll definitely be reading them sooner rather than later.

If you’re in the mood for a festive whodunit, then “The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall” could be the book for you. However, to get the full experience, I’d highly recommend starting with Book 1, “The Murder at the Spring Ball”.

Give it some stars:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Want to visit the author? Here’s a good place to start…

https://benedictbrown.net
https://www.facebook.com/benedictbrownauthor

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