Author: LJ Ross
Category; Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery, Murder, Book Review
Christmas can be murder…
After a busy year fighting crime, DCI Ryan and his team of murder detectives are enjoying a festive season of goodwill, mulled wine and, in the case of DS Phillips, a cake or two—that is, until a freak snowstorm forces their car off the main road and into the remote heart of Northumberland.
On the way home from a trip to Edinburgh, where they spent some time perusing the Christmas markets, Ryan, Phillips and their better halves Anna and Denise, are caught out by a heavy snowfall, causing an accident which shut the main road for miles. Forced to take side roads they make slow progress, until eventually they reach the small village of Chillingham, where they had to abandon the car.
The village was tiny, consisting of a few cottages and a castle which, they were thankful to learn, did have guest accommodation. Chillingham Castle had a reputation for being the most haunted castle in England, and ran ghost tours for the guests.
Ryan looked over his shoulder, but there was nothing except snow and the vague outline of trees, as far as the eye could see. He gave himself a mental shake and turned back to find the others hurrying inside the protective fold of the castle’s walls.
“Enter freely and of your own will,” he muttered, and stepped over the threshold.
The door clanged shut behind him.
A fun and festive novella length story featuring characters we’ve come to know and love. Their forced stay at the castle sees them, along with six other guests, isolated and without transport, mobile signals or phone lines. With no way out of the castle, a murderer on the loose and a limited number of suspects, atmosphere, tension and suspense weave their way through the story.
The guests are all distinct and you get a sense of their personalities and backgrounds almost immediately. And, as always, the closeness, camaraderie and trust between the main characters is there in spades. A thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery with a lovely ending.
What I love about the DCI Ryan mysteries is that the settings are all actual places. Thirteenth century Chillingham Castle is described as the most haunted castle in England. The castle does accommodate guests and ghost tours are available to book. Chillingham is also famous for having the only surviving truly wild herd of cattle. Ryan and his party have a humorous encounter with one while navigating the country lanes.
About the Author
LJ Ross is an international bestselling author, best known for creating atmospheric mystery and thriller novels, including the DCI Ryan series of Northumbrian murder mysteries which have sold over four million copies worldwide.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law at King’s College London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years before taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.
Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Northumberland. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.