Christmas is Murder by C. S. Challinor

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Title: Christmas is murder
Author: C.S. Challinor
Length: 203 pages
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback/epub
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Found it at the library, had to turn it in, so I bought the nookbook edition.

Rex Graves receives an invitation to a family friend’s hotel for the holidays. The night before Rex arrives, another guest dies. Then while he is there, more guests die. It is up to Rex to solve the murders.

The good: The pacing is perfect, not too fast, not too slow. Rex was a likeable character, as well as Helen. Rex seemed like an all around decent person who you could trust, and he seemed to have a loyalty to his mother’s friend, despite how cold she was. The other characters were likeable as well in their own ways, and I personally wanted to know more about them. The setting felt inviting as well. I like Victorian houses, and, as long as I’m not in it, snow.

The bad: I know, I said Rex felt like a person you could trust, but at the same time, I had to ask myself, why is a group of strangers trusting him? I found it difficult to remember exactly who was who, and if the book didn’t have the “cast list” in the front, I’d have been lost. Even as some of them died, it was difficult. Then there was the seeming randomness of some plot elements. While I know it would have been difficult to read if Challinor wrote Rex with a Scottish burr, but the on/off of it threw me off at times.

While I don’t usually read Christmas books before December, this one was an nice exception. I found it by chance in the library, and just couldn’t put it down. I renewed it 2 times before facing the fact that I had to return it. That rarely happens for me. I’d recommend this book to any Christie fan or to anyone who is a lover of the “cozy mystery” genre.

The Loss of the S.S. Titanic by Lawrence Beesley

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Title: The Loss of the S.S. Titanic
Author: Lawrence Beesley
Length: 123 pages
Genre: History
Format: ePUB
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: General interest in the Titanic

A first-hand account of the Titanic disaster, written two months after it sank.

The good: This book was written by Lawrence Beesley, who was a second class passenger on the Titanic, and is considered the most honest account of the sinking. Beesley states numerous times throughout the book, that no one person is to blame for the sinking, but many persons and incidents. Beesley also goes on to describe the passenger’s reactions while the titanic was sinking. He says in the book, that there were a lot of icebergs in the water that night, and it is somewhat of a miracle that the Carpathia, not the life boats were not hit as well. Also, close to where the Titanic went down, there was field ice, and it was a miracle in itself that The titanic didn’t hit it, but one iceberg that had broken off from it.

The bad: While the first chapters were great in telling a first-hand account, the last two felt more like Beesley was lecturing naughty children. He also took on a “what-if” attitude that was more speculation than anything.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Titanic simply because it is a true account from a passenger as apposed to a researcher.