The Christmas Egg - Mary Kelly, Martin Edwards

The bitter cold could not neutralise the café-emanations of fish and chips and vinegar, in which the road seemed steeped; but it served to enhance the seasonable contents of the shops—tangerines, nuts, fir trees, boxes of frilly crackers, row on row of trussed turkeys lit by a ghastly glare of fluorescence. Nature, in awe to Him, Had doffed her gaudy trim. Human nature was more than making up for climate deficiencies, and preparing to commemorate the event with its customary wallowing. Brett looked along a chain of windows, gaudy with red and silver, dabs of cotton wool, strings of fairy lights.

I want to read more by Mary Kelly. This was a fantastic find among the re-discovered BLCC titles, and I already look forward to the re-issue of The Spoilt Kill in May.

Brett Nightingale is investigating the death of Olga Karukhin, a Russian Princess, whose backstory alone is worth the read of this book. She was hard as nails. Who could have had any designs on her life? Or did anyone?

Without getting entangled in pointless chases of dead ends and red herrings, Kelly actually created a mystery that primarily relied on police interviews and the clues given to the reader during the investigation. And what made it better is that we had investigators who were utterly human. No superheroes here, but fully fleshed-out characters, who were able to hold conversations with other characters, even those of the other sex, without sounding like a stereotype.

It made the book for a thoroughly enjoyable read, except for one thing: the ending.

I am not entirely what happened at the ending, but we suddenly had characters kidnapped and bound and gagged and so much action – car chases and everything – that I had to check whether I was still reading the same book. Did it make sense?  I suppose. But it didn’t make for great reading.

This however is my only criticism of the book, and as mentioned above, I really want to read more by this author. Well done to Martin Edwards and the BLCC for unearthing Mary Kelly’s work for today’s readers.

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