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C. S. Challinor

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Review from Mysterical-E Magazine
Saturday, October 11, 2008  7:56:00 AM

by C. S. Challinor

C. S. Challinor
Midnight Ink September ‘08

Cozy fans will want to find “Christmas is Murder” tucked into their stockings for a cold, winter's night read. This is one to help you while away the hours without scaring you out of your slippers; a delectable tidbit of a puzzle that will leave you hungry for the next Rex Graves Mystery.

The classic elements are all here. There is the odd cast of characters at a hotel over the holiday, each with a reason for being away from traditional family gatherings. There is the snowstorm that forces them to stay at the hotel, and communication is cut off, of course. Challinor takes timeless elements like the English countryside, a Scottish Barrister and poisoned tarts (or were they?) and shakes them all up with a dash of wit and a bushel of clues. The result is captivating, rather than cliché, and it swirls methodically like a fine snow in a cherished snow globe. You won't want the swirling flakes to settle.

Challinor, a longtime fan of Agatha Christie, knows that a good plot is essential to a story, and that characters give it a life of its own. “Christmas is Murder” has an element of romance but is not a love story. There is something, or someone, in the storyline to appeal to readers across the genre. Born in Indiana , Challinor was educated in Scotland and England and now resides in Florida , and the English setting in her story is spot on. The dozen characters in this tale have distinctly different personalities, a baker's dozen if you include the four-legged interloper. Keeping company for the holiday are the Barrister, a wealthy, disabled WWII veteran, a New York literary agent, a snoopy divorcee and her friend, a gay antiques dealer and his partner and a newlywed couple. Their needs are seen to (and seen by) the matron hotel proprietor, the cook, an ambitious waitress and an odd-job man. The cast is full-bodied and as enjoyable as a glass of brandy on a cold night, meant to be sipped slowly and savored.

Although cozy and comfortable, Challinor's story unfolds in a modern, if timeless, setting. Humor, both dry and bold, makes it all the more enjoyable. Barrister Rex Graves is a character you'll embrace and look forward to. I've got the feeling we've only seen a few of the many facets of his personality. The book offers a peek at the next in the series, “Murder in the Raw,” set in St. Martin, French West Indies . It sounds like another fun adventure for Rex, and for Challinor's new fans.

Cozy up, grab a cuppa, and visit Swanmere Manor for a Christmas to remember!

Another reason to put “Christmas is Murder” on your gift list is that the author is setting aside 15 percent of her royalties for the “Soldiers' Angels,” founded by the great niece of WWII General George S. Patton. The charity's volunteers help rehabilitate the war wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq (more information elsewhere in this issue). Visit C.S. Challinor at or

Mysterical-E Magazine

 More News about C. S. Challinor
Suspense Magazine Reviews MURDER AT MIDNIGHT by C.S. Challinor - 2/9/2015 8:47:00 AM

Mystery Scene Reviews MURDER AT MIDNIGHT - 10/31/2014 9:58:00 AM

MURDER AT MIDNIGHT: Booklist Review - 7/3/2014 6:26:00 AM

FREE FOR TWO MORE DAYS - 8/19/2013 9:12:00 AM

SAY GOODBYE TO ARCHIE: A Rex Graves Mini-Mystery by C.S. Challinor - 8/13/2013 8:30:00 AM

SAY MURDER WITH FLOWERS: A Rex Graves Mini-Mystery by C.S. Challinor - 8/3/2013 11:47:00 AM

MURDER AT THE DOLPHIN INN Now on Nook - 9/27/2012 7:24:00 AM

MURDER AT THE DOLPHIN INN, New Release by C. S. Challinor - 9/17/2012 10:26:00 AM

MURDER OF THE BRIDE $1.99 Kindle Special - 8/22/2012 8:54:00 AM

If you wish to cozy up with a good cozy mystery, Murder of the Bride will h - 3/26/2012 8:06:00 AM

FREE Flash Fiction Story at OMDB! - 3/14/2012 10:54:00 AM

March Festival of Reading in Central Florida - 3/8/2012 10:24:00 AM

Why wouldn’t your wedding day be one of the happiest of your life? - 3/2/2012 9:07:00 AM

Buried Under Books Reviews MURDER OF THE BRIDE - 2/17/2012 10:11:00 AM

Undiscovered Scotland Review: MURDER ON THE MOOR - 1/26/2012 8:10:00 AM

Top Five Books of 2011 - 1/12/2012 9:51:00 AM

Number 1 in Kindle Sales - 12/13/2011 12:27:00 PM

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by C.S. Challinor - 9/2/2011 9:23:00 AM

ALIBI FOR MURDER by C. S. Challinor - 6/12/2011 1:56:00 PM

MURDER ON THE MOOR: Reviewing The Evidence - 3/29/2011 10:49:00 AM

The Washington Post Reviews MURDER ON THE MOOR by C.S. Challinor - 3/23/2011 11:44:00 AM

Review from ROMANTIC TIMES - 3/17/2011 9:48:00 AM

Crimespree Review - 3/11/2011 12:06:00 PM

MURDER ON THE MOOR Paperback $8.60 at Amz - 2/12/2011 8:55:00 AM

PHI BETA MURDER Review from - 12/17/2010 9:18:00 AM

ForeWord Magazine Interview with Mystery Author - 6/23/2010 7:15:00 AM

Review in The Rue Morgue - 6/7/2010 8:23:00 AM

Malice Domestic Panel with C.S. Challinor (Rex Graves Mysteries) - 4/28/2010 9:32:00 AM

Review in ForeWord Magazine: Phi Beta Murder by C.S. Challinor - 4/18/2010 8:36:00 AM

Jacksonville Magazine Reviews Phi Beta Murder by C.S. Challinor - 4/6/2010 9:07:00 AM

Mystery Scene Magazine Reviews PHI BETA MURDER by C.S. Challinor - 3/3/2010 3:58:00 PM

Murder Mystery at Nudist Resort - 2/26/2010 7:22:00 PM

Sun, surf, secrets—spring break can be murder... - 2/8/2010 11:54:00 AM

Mystery Book Signing in Fort Myers Beach, Florida - 11/25/2009 9:02:00 AM

Latest in the Rex Graves Mystery Series - 10/15/2009 11:26:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Nominated for Agatha Award - 10/7/2009 10:18:00 AM

2 Chicks Review - 9/23/2009 7:38:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Reviewed in Kansas - 8/14/2009 8:43:00 AM

Kindle Editions - 7/28/2009 12:27:00 PM

Suspense Magazine's Recommended Reading List - 6/6/2009 9:37:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Review - 6/6/2009 9:21:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Review from Mystery Scene Magazine - 4/27/2009 11:48:00 AM

New Contract in the Rex Graves Mystery Series - 3/27/2009 7:50:00 AM

Review from The Friendly Book Nook - 12/17/2008 12:32:00 PM

Christmas Is Murder in Large Print Hardcover - 12/17/2008 12:22:00 PM

Review from Cozy Library - 11/21/2008 11:29:00 AM

Review from Once Upon A Romance: Look Out, Hercule Poirot - 11/19/2008 11:01:00 AM

Review in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine - 11/18/2008 7:10:00 AM

4-Star Review (Recommended) from The Mystery Reader - 11/4/2008 8:53:00 AM

Starred Review from Booklist - 10/9/2008 3:03:00 PM

Review from Mysterious Reviews - 9/11/2008 7:03:00 AM

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