A Mysterious Christmas Reading List

Get cosy this Christmas with some festive mysteries and romances.

I love wrapping up in my favourite blanket in front of the fire over Christmas with a cosy fun book. Bonus points if there’s a glass of mulled wine thrown in and maybe a slice of Christmas cake. Might as well 😉

cosy cuppa

The Twelve Deaths of Christmas by Marian Babson

“A top-notch thriller . . . The identities of the murderer and the twelfth victim come as a stunner” (Publishers Weekly).

At Maude Daneson’s rooming house, the holiday season has everyone bustling about in anticipation, and Maude herself is planning a glorious Christmas dinner.

But neither the landlady nor her lodgers realize that a killer walks among them. The police have so far been unable to track the culprit—and when murder strikes close to home, it threatens to chill the festive mood.

“A fast-moving, one-sitting treat.” —Kirkus Reviews

A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry

Readers of Anne Perry’s bestselling suspense novels revel in a world that is all their own, sharing the privileged existence of Britain’s wealthy and powerful elite in West End mansions and great country houses. It is also a world in which danger bides in unsuspected places and the line between good and evil can be razor thin. This new novel features Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould–one of the most memorable characters from the Thomas Pitt series–who appears here as a lively young woman, the ultimate aristocrat who can trace her blood to half the royal houses of Europe.

It’s Christmas and the Berkshire countryside lies wrapped in winter chill. But the well-born guests who have gathered at Applecross for a delicious weekend of innocent intrigue and passionate romance are warmed by roaring fires and candlelight, holly and mistletoe, good wine and gorgeously wrapped gifts. It’s scarcely the setting for misfortune, and no one–not even that clever young aristocrat and budding sleuth Vespasia Cumming-Gould–anticipates the tragedy that is to darken this light-hearted holiday house party. But soon one young woman lies dead, a suicide, and another is ostracized, held partly responsible for the shocking turn of events.

To expiate her guilt, Gwendolen Kilmuir sets out for the Scottish Highlands, hoping to explain to the dead girl’s mother the circumstances surrounding the sorrowful act–and to bring her back to England for the funeral. Gwendolen’s sole companion on this nightmarish journey is Vespasia. As Vespasia learns more about the victim and the ugly forces that shaped her desperate deed, she understands the heartbreaking truth of the tragedy.

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead.  On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third.  Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.

RELATED: December Reading Plan

Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.
 
But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

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Hark! The Herald Angel Screamed by Mignon F. Ballard

It’s Christmastime in the seemingly tranquil town of Stone’s Throw, South Carolina, but amid all the caroling, cookies, and cheer, a murderer casts a not-so-jolly pall on the holiday season.

Augusta Goodnight, guardian angel, sometime sleuth, and welcome boarder with longtime resident Lucy Nan Pilgrim, comes to the aid of her friends when, as Lucy Nan is searching for the perfect Christmas tree on her grandmother’s abandoned estate, a mysterious stranger plummets to his death from the mansion’s balcony. Lucy Nan can’t shake off childhood stories of the ghost of a girl who fell from the same spot long ago—has the ghost come back to haunt the living, or is there an all-too-human murderer at work?

Mysterious events are soon heating up faster than spiced punch left on the burner, and it will take Augusta’s help, not to mention some celestial Southern cooking, for peace to be restored and Christmas lights to shine once again in the little town of Stone’s Throw.

The Last Noel by Heather Graham

It’s Christmas Eve, and all is neither calm nor bright

With a storm paralyzing New England, the O’Boyle household becomes prey to a pair of brutal escaped killers desperate to find refuge.

Skyler O’Boyle is convinced the only way they can live through the night is by playing a daring psychological game to throw the convicts off their guard. Threatened by a pair of Smith & Wessons, she has to pray that the rest of her family will play along, buying them time. Her one hope for rescue is that the men are unaware that her daughter, Kat, has escaped into the blizzard. But as the wind and snow continue to rage with all the vehemence of a maddened banshee, her prayers that Kat can somehow find help seem fragile indeed.

When Kat stumbles on a third felon, half-frozen and delirious, her shock deepens, because she recognizes Craig Devon immediately. What is the onetime love of her life doing back in town-and in such company? With the threat of death hanging over the O’Boyles, Craig is desperate to unload a vital secret that could change their destiny. But can he trust Kat with the truth? Because one false move and everything he’s sacrificed will shatter-and this could be everyone’s final Christmas alive.

Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café: Christmas on Castle Street by Jessica Redland

A few minutes of courage might change your life…

Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company.

Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’s thriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever.

When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that.

Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?

A Mysterious Christmas Reading List from @elainehowlin_

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