Thursday 22 December 2022

Book Review | A Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict | prettylittlewriter

Twelve clues.
Twelve keys.
Twelve days of Christmas.
But who will survive until Twelfth Night?

Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House - the grand family home where her mother died twenty-one Christmases ago. Until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve twelve clues, to find twelve keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.

Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: The clues will also reveal who really killed Lily's mother all those years ago.

So, for the twelve days of Christmas, Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home, but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house - and not all of them are playing fair.

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realises that she is no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.

This Christmas is to die for . . . Let the game begin’

I thought this was very cleverly done!

Although it wasn’t festive in the traditional sense, the use of the Twelve Days of Christmas within the game and the addition of a full on snow storm certainly reminded you that it was Christmas!


Each character was intriguing, and I really did feel for Lily, losing her Mother so young and not really knowing the truth surrounding her death most of her life, to then losing her Aunt, who was a second Mum to her, she’d had an extremely difficult life. There were other characters that I really liked too, such as Ronnie and Rachel, but also one that I despised all the way until the end *ahem* Sara. Each of them had their own unique reasons for being at the house to participate in the game, but not all of them were obvious reasons until the end of the story.


The murder aspect itself was quite brutal, with 3 or 4 murders taking place within the story. I went in expecting it to just be figuring out the murder of Lily’s mum, not a bunch of her family members also getting killed off! The only thing I didn’t like with this was the sense of ‘un-urgency’ from most of the characters once the murders started. Yes they couldn’t leave due to the snow (or call anyone), but none of them really seemed that panicked to say that they were being picked off one by one!

It was also very convenient that the house had an ‘ice house’ for the dead bodies that were piling up!


I did manage to guess who the main baddie was quite quickly, as a certain ‘tryst’ gave it away for me. Although it was obvious, it was also saddening as I liked the character!

Although I thought this was easy to guess, it still made for an incredibly interesting read, and I found it thrilling trying to solve the sonnets along with the characters (although I never actually managed that; anagrams aren’t my strong point!). I also loved that Alexandra included a couple of separate games for the reader to figure out along the way too, anything that gets the reader involved is brilliant to me!


Overall an intriguing mystery, with cleverly written sonnets and some great characters. It’s also quite an easy read as the chapters aren’t too long and the writing fairly big so I got through this quickly!

4/5 stars

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