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The Santa Klaus Murder (British Library Crime Classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division (1 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712357122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712357128
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.3 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Hurrah to British Library Crime Classics for rediscovering some of the forgotten gems of the Golden Age of British crime writing. This extremely clever country-house murder mystery by Mavis Doriel Hay is the perfect holiday gift for the avid cozy-crime fan. It has an aristocratic setting, a dead earl, and a major suspect. The man who could have done it is Santa Klaus but what motive could he have for putting a bullet in Sir Osmond Melbury's noggin? There are loads of clues, red herrings, and twists in a truly classic Christmas mystery with all the Golden Age patina. --Globe and Mail

The British Library is fast becoming a force in classic crime fiction. --Past Offences

The Santa Klaus Murder is a re-issue of a forgotten British cozy that warrants attention as both a classic British mystery novel and as a holiday read.... Othe story finds its footing, it moves stealthily toward an intriguing and not altogether predictable conclusion. --Shelf Awareness

About the Author

Mavis Doriel Hay (1894-1979) was a novelist of the golden age of British crime fiction. Her three detective novels were published in the 1930s and are now rare and highly collectable books. She was an expert on rural handicraft and wrote several books on the subject.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
All I have ever known about Mavis Doriel Hay is the years she was born and died, and the titles of her three crime novels, so it was a real treat to find this book back in print. I have no idea how well this was received on its first publication in 1936, but those who love the 'Golden Days' should lap this up.

It is Christmas, 1935, and at the house Flaxmere the family are gathering for the festivities. Sir Osmond Melbury has even decided this year to have a Santa as a treat for the children. Alas for Sir Osmond, on Christmas Day he is found shot in his study. Colonel Halstock, the Chief Constable and a family friend arrives with a team, but can they work out who the killer is?

The actual story is told in a multi-narrative form, although the main narrator is Colonel Halstock. As the people in the house are interviewed stories start to change slightly over the next few days, and there are some red herrings as well. For the police they need to know the exact details of where people were at certain times, what they witnessed, and any other things that could prove relevant, but this is easier said than done.

This is a really good country house murder that should hold the attention of most people, although if like me you are an avid reader of whodunits then you should be able to work out who the killer is before the final denouement. What I really enjoyed about this story though was the postscript in where certain questions are posed and the answers posited. This means that for instance someone new to such stories can see how certain conclusions were reached to ascertain who the real murderer is. With such a 'guide' if you will, this would be a good choice for a reading group, especially if most people are more familiar with more modern crime novels.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Helen Brogan on 26 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for a nice cosy murder as a change from the modern, graphic and sometimes humourless modern stories. I'm delighted to say I found my nice murder in 'The Santa Klaus Murder'. The characters were strong and the story line runs along at a good steady pace. It was also nice to be still guessing the identity of the murderer to the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damo Green on 16 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a classic country house murder mystery with all traditional elements; a rich dogmatic patriarch debating changing his will is murdered in his large country house by Santa Claus. His children, their partners/friends and his efficient secretary all benefit in different ways from his death. Who could have done it?

If you like this sort of book (and I do) you will enjoy it. The story isn't told in a straightforward chronology but in letters written by various members of the family and the main policeman. The story isn't earth shattering, and some of the descriptions of the house layout are confusing, but like a good Christmas it has all the taditional elements and you can cosy up to it.

I very rarely comment on anything other than the story but the quality and feel of the book itself is really good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trish23 on 4 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I love these reissued detective novels from the twenties and thirties and this is one of the best I've read so far. I read it after the very disappointing Mystery In White and found it much more to my taste.

I always enjoy a story with multiple journal entries by different characters, giving different perspectives and insights into the same events. It was a huge part of the appeal of Dracula and it is works very well here. The story opens with three first person accounts of the events leading up to the murder. Part of the enjoyment as the story progresses is figuring out how reliable - or not - each of these narrators are.

The Melbury family and their guests provide plenty of simmering rows and resentments and even some slightly tenuous motives for murder. They're an interesting if rather unsympathetic cast of characters and while I didn't warm to any of them I enjoyed reading about them & sizing them up as possible suspects. Early on I thought I could see quite clearly who the murderer was but subsequently there were enough red herrings and misdirections to muddy the water nicely.
While not on a par with Ngaio Marsh or Agatha Christie this is a very enjoyable country house mystery from the golden age of crime fiction & I'm looking forward to reading the other titles by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 April 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Flaxmere is the scene of the Melbury family's Christmas get together and more than one member of the family has mixed feelings about it. Sir Osmond Melbury is found shot dead in his study on the afternoon of Christmas Day and almost everyone in the house had a motive to wish him dead. Fortunately the Chief Constable lives nearby and he is summoned to investigate the case. It seems to him that everyone is hiding something and he has problems trying to sift out the truth from what some people are determined to tell him is the truth.

The first few chapters are narrated by family members and guests and the remainder are mostly narrated by the Chief Constable himself. All the clues are there in the first few chapters but picking them out from the red herrings will tax most readers. Almost anyone could have done it.

I enjoyed reading this interesting and well written 1930s crime novel set in the traditional background of country house party. The characters are well drawn and I particularly liked the Chief Constable himself and the way he dealt with his subordinate who was inclined to go chasing off after false trails. If you like classic crime novels you may well enjoy this one.
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