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C. S. Challinor

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Christmas Is Murder (Starred Review from BOOKLIST)
by C. S. Challinor   

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Books by C. S. Challinor
· Murder at Midnight
· SAY MURDER WITH FLOWERS: A Rex Graves Mini-Mystery
· Murder at the Dolphin Inn
· SAY GOODBYE TO ARCHIE: A Rex Graves Mini-Mystery
· Murder of the Bride
                >> View all

Category: 

Mystery/Suspense

Publisher:  Midnight Ink Books ISBN-10:  0738713597 Type: 
Pages: 

280

Copyright:  Jan 1, 2008 ISBN-13:  9780738713595
Fiction

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Midnight Ink Books
Rex Graves Mystery Series

Christmas IS murder…

when you have multiple deaths to investigate and no one is exempt from suspicion, not even the bonny lass in the blue bonnet. What's a Sudoku-solving Scots barrister to do?

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 red-haired 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! Each volume in the new Rex Graves Mystery series will feature a unique, exotic setting and diverse characters from around the globe.                       

Excerpt
CAST OF CHARACTERS

Hotel Staff:
DAHLIA SMITHINGS, hotel proprietor who lost her son in Iraq
SANDY BELLOWS, head cook with more to her than meets the eye
ROSIE PORTER, ambitious waitress with an ax to grind
CLIFFORD BEADEL, odd-job man suspected of a past murder

Guests:
REX GRAVES, sleuth--a Scottish Barrister revisiting childhood haunt
HENRY D. LAWDRY, disabled WWII veteran of wealthy means
MIRIAM GREENBAUM, NY literary agent attending a book fair in Brighton
WANDA MARTYR, recent divorcee with a penchant for snooping
HELEN D'ARCY, friend of the above who falls for the intrepid sleuth
ANTHONY SMART, antiques dealer with designs on the hotel
PATRICK VANCE, Smart's gay partner, an odd duck of artistic temperament
YVETTE & CHARLEY PERKINS, young newlyweds hiding a secret







Professional Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
July 2008

CHRISTMAS IS MURDER

SECTION: FICTION; MYSTERY

LENGTH: 231 words

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.

Publication Date: 9/1/2008 0:00:00

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Stage: Adult

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1359-5

Author: Challinor, C.S.





Rick Miller, host of ABC’s prime time hit series “Just for Laughs” and author of BIGGER THAN JESUS
"CHRISTMAS IS MURDER is a most enjoyable first mystery in what promises to be a fantastic series. Challinor writes with wit and cheek."



Nancy Mehl, author of The Ivy Towers Mystery Series (Barbour Books)
"CHRISTMAS IS MURDER is a clever throw back to the novels of Agatha Christie. Sharply plotted and smartly written, every page is a treat for those who love mystery at its purest. C.S. Challinor is an author to watch. I give Christmas is Murder my highest recommendation!"



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