Sir Willoughby Keene-Cotton (aka Uncle Willie) is very rich, very old, and for many years has been supporting numerous relatives associated through his various marriages. Over the years they have all joked about how easy it would be to murder Uncle Willie. But no one would really do it, would they? Well maybe, if they got the timing just right. Murder before or after Christmas? Depends on who you ask…and who dies first!
With his wealth and cantankerous nature, it’s obvious that Uncle Willie will be murdered. But that’s about all that’s obvious as Latimer keeps his solution well hidden behind an intricate plot. Red herrings and misdirection abound amidst a complex structure of family relationships, opposing plans for the Christmas festivities, and a game of three-card monte regarding just who Uncle Willie’s heir really is.
Latimer’s delightful cast of characters is filled with unusual, eccentric individuals that I found quite appealing and highly amusing. It’s also a cast from which any number of people could be picked out as the murderer. Now, I will admit that the narrative did run on a bit and could definitely have benefited from some paring down. But with it’s madcap tone and lively tongue-in-cheek dialogue, there is a decided lightness to the tale which kept me very much engaged and wanting to keep reading.
I love GAD mysteries with a Christmas setting. I also love mysteries that are somewhat madcap in tone. Put them together and I’m in heaven. In my opinion Murder After Christmas is a gem of a read, and not just for the holidays.