A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Murder at Christmas

It’s almost as Christmassy as turkey and Santa – the Christmas murder mystery. An old country house with lots of visitors, a celebration, a scream in the night and Hercule Poirot, or Albert Campion or Inspector Wexford on hand to solve it. No way of contacting the outer world, but there’s a murderer on the loose, and who knows who is going to be next?
These days that kind of murder mystery, aka the Christmas whodunit, isn’t around as much as it used to be, but it could be. After all, we still get romance stories where the participants are snowed in—one of my favourite romance tropes, if done properly. Snuggling by the fire on a fur rug wrapped in a comforter purloined off the nearest bed, toasting marshmallows—perhaps not the last bit if they’re naked.
I’ve never had a country house Christmas, with or without a murder. Maybe I should put it on my list. I won’t call it a bucket list. I just have a list of things I want to do. Next year I get to fulfil another one when I go to New Orleans. I’m going to the RT Convention, but I’m also going to have a wonderful touristy time with a friend from Glasgow.
But back to the country house. They are beautiful at any time of the year, and rightly so, because they were designed that way. There are lots of nooks and crannies, plenty of places to get up to nefarious activities, like, oh, a bit of murder. Or a bit of clandestine loving. But in reality, the larger country houses these days aren’t really isolated. They have helipads, satellite systems and lots of staff. These days, unless it’s royalty, the staff are more involved in looking after the house and its treasures than they are the occupants, but with most of the treasure houses open to the public, there are fewer opportunities to get snowed in. Blenheim, Chatsworth, Longleat—these places are businesses. Mind you, a murder at Longleat would be interesting, because it’s a wildlife park with lions and giraffes and elephants. A wonderful place for a murder, but only a fictional one, you understand!
However there are lots and lots of private houses of a good size, places that could conceivably be cut off for a few days. More likely in the early months of the new year than Christmas, but a bit of poetic licence and some unseasonable weather would take care of that.

Makes me want to go and write one. A bit too late for this year, but maybe I should think about next?


J Wachowski said...

There is such a nice sense of conflict to murder at Christmas--what with all the talk of "Peace on Earth, Goodwill etc., etc."
Altho, I'll admit to shouting at the kids during this time of year: "How are we EVER going to have peace on earth if you two keep THAT up!"

jean harrington said...

I love Christmas as my Wednesday blog is about to point out, but let's be honest, with all the shopping, cooking, baking wrapping, entertaining, party-going,house decorating, etc. no wonder the Grinch stole it.

Now I'm off to reread Dickens' Bleak House, no, that's not the one. There's another one with a little boy and 3 ghosts and a crabby old man. The name's on the tip of my tongue . . .

Elise Warner said...

Look forward to reading your Christmas romance mystery. Scads of fun will be waiting.

Ana Barrons said...

Love the title, Lynne.

Marcelle Dubé said...

You should definitely write it, Lynne!

Rita said...

I LIKE this idea.
You're right. I seem to remember Christmas murders. You can revive the trend.

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