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Festive Murder & Mystery: 10 books to read this Christmas

11 December 2019

It’s surprising how many murders occur at Christmas, at least in the fictional world. In the pages of a book, it’s a decidedly risky time to be alive. There must be something about the traditional scene of wintery landscapes and cosy fires that pulls us into devouring a gripping mystery whilst we curl up in the comfort of our warm homes.

We’ve curated our picks of the best Christmas themed books in our library – which just so happen to be mostly about murder, mystery and misfortune - so you can revel in your own good fortune from the safe distance of your armchair.

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens, narrated by Anton Lesser 9294

Ebenezer Scrooge is a heartless old miser who doesn't enjoy Christmas and doesn't think anyone else should, either. But, one Christmas Eve, some ghostly visitors take Scrooge on a journey that changes his mind forever.

Murder Under the Christmas Tree
by Cecily Gayford (ed.), narrated by Richard Simpson 11758

A collection of festive mysteries featuring fictional sleuths from Lord Peter Wimsey to Sherlock Holmes, Cadfael to Father Brown. This is the very best of Christmas murder and mayhem - so settle into your armchair, put another log on the fire and take a bite of your mince pie. Just make sure it's not poisoned...

The Mistletoe Murder
by P D James, narrated by Daniel Weyman 12116

Four perfectly formed stories, ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. While P D James delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide tantalizing puzzles to keep the reader guessing.

A Week in December
by Sebastian Faulks, narrated by Terrence Hardiman 8483

It is the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days, we follow the lives of seven major characters and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins their lives together in a daily loop. Greed and the fragmentation of society are pieced together with the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life.

Merry Christmas Alex Cross
by James Patterson, narrated by Garrick Hagon 10752

It's a snowy Christmas Eve, and Detective Alex Cross is at home celebrating with his family, when his phone rings with news that shatters the night: At a nearby home, a family has been taken hostage - and the situation is spiralling out of control fast. Alex rushes to the scene and is forced to make a decision that could end as many lives as it saves - including his own.

Murder for Christmas
by Francis Duncan, narrated by Richard Simpson 11068

Mordecai Tremaine has been invited to spend Christmas at the country retreat of Benedict Grame. Midnight strikes and the party-goers discover that it's not just presents nestling under the tree... there's a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas! With suspicions flying, it's up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit.

Country Tales for Christmas
by Mark Bryant (ed.), narrated by Grace Dives 12546

This classic collection presents the very best of rural stories by authors as diverse as H E Bates and Stella Gibbons, Dylan Thomas and Daphne Du Maurier. Each of the stories is imbued with Christmas spirit of one kind or another, and all are richly and indelibly entertaining.

Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries
by Martin Edwards (ed.), narrated by Rob Rollett 13164

Martin Edwards introduces us to some of the finest Christmas detective stories of the past. His selection blends festive pieces from much-loved authors with one or two stories which are likely to be unfamiliar even to diehard mystery fans. The result is a collection of crime fiction to savour, whatever the season.

The Christmas Train
by David Baladacci, narrated by Peter Marinker 7708

When disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon unexpectedly finds himself travelling across America by train, to get to LA by Christmas, he begins a journey of self-discovery, escapades, adventures and rude awakenings.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
by Agatha Christie, narrated by Andrew Burt 1253

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds everyone had their own reason to hate the old man…