Inspector Falconer has accepted an invite to spend Christmas with his sergeant, Carmichael, and his family in the village of Castle Farthing. Meanwhile, local busybody and pain-in-the-bottom Digby Jeffries, having spent the best part of his recent life annoying everyone in the village, seems to have crossed the line by stealing the role of Santa from the village veteran. The morning after Midnight Mass, the vicar returns to the church to find Digby, still in his Santa costume, nailed to a crucifix. With another death soon following, and the village cut off by a snowstorm, Falconer and Carmichael have their work cut out for them.
Another Kindle recommendation, this one – didn’t realise it was a new release until after I’d finished it – but with Christmas round the corner, and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas reviewed last year, I thought I’d risk £1.53 on a bit of Christmas cheer. What harm could it do?
Right, think Christmas. A time of goodwill to all authors. Positive thoughts.
So, what do we have here? It’s not really a police procedural – the rest of the force don’t turn up until the end, and the procedures undertaken by the leads are questionable at times. Notably, when the second corpse turns up, they basically ignore it while they get on with their interrogations about the first one and actually forget about it at one point!
It’s closer to a cosy mystery, I suppose, as Falconer has cats, a must-have for any cosy book, but the crucifixion of Santa is a bit of a grim image for one of those. I suppose that the closest thing to it that I’ve read recently is Caroline Graham’s The Killings at Badger’s Drift, the inspiration for Midsomer Murders. There’s a crucial difference though. See if you can work it out. It is Christmas, after all.
So I’ll just say that The Killings at Badgers Drift isn’t repetitive, has the detectives actually solve the crime, rather than being told whodunit, and doesn’t have a couple of bizarre sections where the characters break the fourth wall and discuss the writer’s dodgy typing. Oh, and most importantly, I really enjoyed The Killings at Badgers Drift.
You can probably work out the difference by now…