#BookReview: THE CHRISTMAS MURDER GAME by Alexandra Benedict @ak_benedict @ZaffreBooks

Publication: 30th September 2021 – Zaffre


Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House – the grand family home where her mother died twenty-one Christmases ago. Until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve twelve clues, to find twelve keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.

Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: The clues will also reveal who really killed Lily’s mother all those years ago.

So, for the twelve days of Christmas, Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home, but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house – and not all of them are playing fair.

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realises that she is no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.

Twelve clues. Twelve keys. Twelve days of Christmas.
But who will survive until Twelfth Night?



Lily Armitage hasn’t been back to Endgame House since her mother’s death when she was young. But, following the death of her aunt Lillian, she has no choice but spend Christmas in the family home with her estranged cousins for the reading of the will and to take part in the traditional Christmas Games. Starting on Christmas Day and for the next twelve days, Lily and her cousins will have to solve the clues left by their aunt to find the keys and win and inherit Endgame House.

Lily has always been good in solving the clues in the previous games, but she is not playing to win the house, but because, in a letter, her aunt promised that winning the game would reveal who really killed her mother. As a snowstorm cuts them off from the outside world, people start dying and, unless someone managed to get into the house, it means that the killer is one of them. But who can Lily trust?

I really enjoyed The Christmas Murder Game. It is suspenseful, full of twists and surprises, and so well-written that I found it difficult to put it down. I liked the setting of a big remote house, with its many rooms and also a maze, where it become very easy to get rid of someone.

The characters are intriguing and suspicious. Everyone has its own motive to take part in the game, inheritance aside, and, at one time or other, I suspected everyone and I didn’t see the truth coming.

Thrilling and unpredictable, with strong Agatha Christie vibes – like in And Then There Were None, who will survive? – The Christmas Murder Game is the perfect immersive read to enjoy as the days turn colder and in front of a fire with a nice cup of hot chocolate.

A huge thank you to Zaffre Books and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Alexandra Benedict read English at Cambridge and studied creative writing at Sussex. She composed film and television soundtracks, as well as performing as a musician before becoming a full-time writer in 2012. As A. K. Benedict, she published the critically acclaimed The Beauty of Murder and The Evidence of Ghosts. Find out more at www.akbenedict.com or follow her on Twitter @ak_benedict

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