Bibliophile reviews A Season for Murder by Ann Granger

Going through my library to cull books, I discovered a number of novels, novellas and a couple of short story collections with a Christmas theme. While Christmas mysteries can be read year round, and are, in fact, sometimes best read at any other time of the year – at least if you like the holidays untarnished by thoughts of dark deeds – other Christmas fiction is usually best read in December, which is why I decided to embark on a reading spree with a Christmas theme. I am not one to let mysteries disturb me, so I am including some of those as well as the science fiction, fantasy and romance Christmas stories I found. Here is the first review.

Ann Granger was my mystery author #41, and I promised I would review her as an author once I had read some more of her books. Since this one is part of the same series as the previous one, I will leave the review for until after I have read A Rare Interest in Corpses, which is from another series of hers, a historical one.

Series detectives: Consul Meredith Mitchell and C.I.D. Alan Markby
No. in series: 2
Year of publication: 1991
Type of mystery: Murder
Type of investigator: Amateur and police
Setting & time: The Cotsworlds, England, contemporary

Story: It’s almost Christmas and Meredith Mitchell has been called for home duty by the Foreign Office and faces a year of commuting between her rented cottage in Pook’s Common, a tiny hamlet in the Cotsworlds not far from Bamford, where her old acquaintance, Alan Markby, is stationed. She hardly has time to meet and form a liking for her neighbour, Harriet Needham, before Harriet is killed in what at first seems to be an accident caused by a fox-hunt protester spooking her horse, but which turns out to have been made fatal by a large doze of sedative that no-one who knew Harriet believes she would have knowingly taken. Alan starts to investigate the death, and so does Meredith.

Review: This was a promising mystery right up until the resolution, which was unfortunately based on coincidence rather than detective work. Granger continues developing Meredith and Alan as characters, and shows a possible romantic rerlationship that may blossom in future books if she doesn’t stop being so sensible and he so careful. I am looking forward to seeing how that turns out, but I was disappointed with the resolution, which is hurried and could have been made much better.

Rating: 2+ stars for being mostly an okay mystery.

I started reading a second Christmas mystery, We Wish You a Merry Murder by Valerie Wolzien, but it failed the 50 page test*, so I put it in my moochables stack. Next I will probably try The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark, or possibly Miracle and other Christmas stories by Connie Willis. Which reminds me: I have a review of her To Say Nothing of the Dog coming up.

*The 50 page test: If, after 50 pages (or 1/4 of a long book), the book has not started being interesting, stop reading and find something else. Life is too short to waste on uninteresting books.


Anonymous said…
From distant memory, agree with your take!

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