Title: Murder After Christmas
Writer: Rupert Latimer
Publishing House: British Library Crime Classics
Date of Publication: October 10th 2021 (first published 1944)
Rating: 5 stars
‘’Anyway, Christmas is a time for forgetting the past and burying hatchets, isn’t it?’’
‘’What about after Christmas’’, said Frank.
‘’Now you’re making difficulties’’, said Rhoda.’’
The arrival of Uncle Willie for the holidays is a rather controversial matter for the Redpaths. Do they want him because they love him? Do they want him because they want a portion of his fortune? I think we can all answer this question, right? But Willie – with an array of wives and potential inheritors and whatnot- has a mind of his own and is found dead on Boxing Day. He is dressed as a Santa Claus and poison seems to have ended his tumultuous life. And now what happens? Who inherits? Who takes the blame? Who is the murderer? Superintendent Culley is the one who can solve the riddle, surrounded by a fervent squad of do-gooders and ‘’apples’’ rotten to the core…
Rupert Latimer’s whimsical and spirited mystery perfectly captures the ‘’vibe’’ of Boxing Day and that peculiar void of the days after Christmas. It is THE boredom period even if there is a World War going on. After all, what does the upper class have to lose? Nothing. So, let’s talk murder.
You can only result in strange circumstances when relatives gather to celebrate Christmas in an estate located in a snow-buried landscape. They end up involved in a murder case and we are ushered in a delightful story populated by an exciting cast of characters full of motives and ambitions and secrets. Written with exquisitely elegant humour and lively dialogue, Rupert Latimer’s story is a vivid depiction of the typical upper-class that waits on an inheritance to make money. Indeed. And what’s more, we have relatives engaging in mental exercises on how to murder your kin.
Side Note: I might try to do that even though my parents’ relatives (can you tell I have a good relationship with my kinfolk?) are so stupid you could throw a dozen of bricks on their heads and they still wouldn’t understand what hit them…
In any case, ignore my rumblings and do yourselves a favour. Read this wonderful mystery. Regardless of the time of the year, this book is beyond perfect!