“MURDER FOR CHRISTMAS,” by Francis Duncan, Sourcebooks Landmark, 345 pages (f)
There is much to like about “Murder for Christmas,” Francis Duncan’s 1949 Mordecai Tremaine detective murder mystery. Readers get an old-fashioned whodunit wrapped with a snow-dusted English country manor house and a disparate gathering of suspicious guests for Christmas. There are hints of Agatha Christie’s long-running play “The Mousetrap” here, as everyone at a multi-day Christmas house party becomes a suspect when one of their number is found dead underneath the Christmas tree, dressed in a Father Christmas robe. The local constable, aided by Duncan’s amateur detective Mordecai Tremaine, must work quickly to uncover the killer before he or she strikes again.
The trouble with “Murder for Christmas,” really — more than the dated language — is the main man himself, Tremaine. A memorable literary detective should be highly distinctive — think of Sherlock Holmes’ observation skills and anti-social
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For the most part, American television avoids the last two or three weeks of the calendar year. Where Christmas is the time to watch TV in the United Kingdom, which routinely hauls out bushel upon bushel of holiday specials, US networks typically turn down the lights, relying on seasonal staples, from beloved specials such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to perennial movie favorites like The Sound of Music.
That’s changing in the era of streaming, however. Netflix dropped Making a Murderer less than a week before Christmas in 2015, and it has a new season of Black Mirror coming shortly before New Year’s Day this year. Amazon has routinely used this time of year to host Mozart in the Jungle and is launching the handsome British miniseries The Last Post on December 22. (Mozart appears to have slipped to 2018 and out of the holiday season.)
This may be
Read more at: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/12/6/16742294/knightfall-history-happy-syfy-review