Murder in the Snow: A Cotswold Christmas Mystery by Gladys Mitchell
|Murder in the Snow: A Cotswold Christmas Mystery by Gladys Mitchell|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A complex mystery with plenty of twists and turns, first published in 1950 under the title of Groaning Spinney.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: November 2017|
Adela Bradley decided to spend Christmas with her nephew Jonathan and his wife Deborah at their new home in the Cotswolds. Mrs Bradley is a well-known psychiatrist but she's also a respected detective renowned for her sharp powers of observation. She soon comes to hear the story of a local ghost, that of a country parson whose apparition can sometimes be seen slung over the gate leading to Groaning Spinney: the ghost will play a part in what is about to happen. Jonathan Bradley has effectively become the local squire with the acquisition of his property and Mrs Bradley quickly becomes acquainted with some of the locals as they visit to give festive wishes.
And it's quite a selection of visitors, amongst them Bill and Tiny Fullalove. Mrs Bradley takes an immediate dislike to Tiny Fullalove for no accountable reason and later finds out that Deborah doesn't like him either, but that reaction was based on Tiny pressing his unwanted attentions on her. She doesn't want to tell Jonathan about what happened as Tiny's his agent - but it's the reason why she takes care never to be alone with him. It is Christmas after all and what happens so regularly in stories and so rarely in real life occurred - there was heavy snowfall on Christmas Eve. And, of course, there was a body - and someone else disappeared.
As I began reading Murder in the Snow I had a sense of familiarity: it wasn't that I could remember details of the plot, but rather that I had an idea of how it would go. Back in the sixties I binge-read police procedurals when I should definitely have been doing something more productive and suddenly Groaning Spinney, published in 1950, came to mind. (Why can I remember what I read fifty years ago, but where I left my phone half an hour ago is a complete mystery?) However, it is a complex plot (much more so than the average Christmas story) and even with a little foreknowledge concentration was still required as it's not just about whodunnit, but how the case is going to be proved.
It's a good story, with plenty of twists to keep you guessing and there's a good mix of characters. The location's good too, with the story stretching well into the following year rather than all having been settled by Twelfth Night as is so often the case. Even with a little knowledge about what was going to happen it was still a good and enjoyable read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more Christmas Crime we can recommend Portrait of a Murderer: A Christmas Crime Story by Anne Meredith. You might also like to lkook at some of Mrs Bradley other cases.
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder in the Snow: A Cotswold Christmas Mystery by Gladys Mitchell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder in the Snow: A Cotswold Christmas Mystery by Gladys Mitchell at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.