Situated in Christmas of 1938, we join a group of high-class characters in the luxurious Westbury Manor with Lord and Lady Westbury hosting this extravagant celebration. But, on Christmas morning, Lord Westbury’s oldest friend, David Campbell-Scott is discovered with crimson tarnishing the fresh-winter snow. They all know that something is amiss with the circumstances surrounding his demise, but can they discover the truth before all depart from their hosts home?
This had me sold just from the time-setting. I just love reading of the ’20’s and ’30’s and imagining the absolute lux that came with high-status.
The writing style was excellent, using the language that was very reminiscent of the time and the social interactions between each of the characters. Ada Moncrieff didn’t shy away from the obvious divide between men and women and the sexism that very much happened throughout our history and the changes that began to occur after the first world-war.
The plot had a air of similarity to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and can’t deny that throughout reading it I pictured the estate and characters of Downton Abbey… Need I say, I wasn’t mad about it! It added more adoration of this tale for me.
Throughout the book, we are from a third-person perspective, giving insight into all the key-players thoughts and characteristics. It lent itself to a real feel of detective work where you are, just as much as the characters, trying to unravel the mystery. At the books climax, I was also in disbelief at the reveal and found myself eagerly reading on to find out why and how!
For Ada Moncrieff’s debut novel, she really did an amazing job. Having a setting during Christmas, as we know, leads to countless cheesy movies being played on Channel 4 from the end of October (until we all go mad!), and some very typical ‘Christmas Miracle’ tales… But this had none of that. It had enough festivity for it to feel like it was the big day but it didn’t take away anything of the drama and intrigue.
Needless to say, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more publications by this author.
A huge thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher, Vintage, part of Penguin Rondom House for the advanced copy to sink my teeth into!
Murder Most Festive is available now available as a physical book and e-Book.
Published – 05/11/2020
Publishing Company – Vintage
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