This immersive holiday caper from the “modern Agatha Christie” (The Sunday Times, London) follows the hilarious Fairway Players theater group as they put on a Christmas play—and solve a murder that threatens their production.
The Christmas season has arrived in Lower Lockwood, and the Fairway Players are busy rehearsing their festive holiday production of Jack and the Beanstalk to raise money for a new church roof. But despite the season, goodwill is distinctly lacking among the amateur theater enthusiasts with petty rivalries, a possibly asbestos-filled beanstalk, and some perennially absent players behind the scenes.
Of course, there’s also the matter of the dead body onstage. Who could possibly have had the victim on their naughty list? Join lawyers Femi and Charlotte as they investigate Christmas letters, examine emails, and pore over police transcripts to identify both the victim and killer before the curtain closes on their holiday production—for good.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Christmas Appeal!
Technically, The Christmas Appeal is a sequel to The Appeal, but even if you haven’t read The Appeal, I’m sure you’ll be able to enjoy this mystery set around Christmas. Regardless, I was completely blown away by The Appeal so I would definitely recommend you treat yourself to both if you haven’t already!
The Christmas Appeal is a slow-burner in the sense that it takes a while to get to the heart of the mystery. However, it doesn’t feel like a slow-burner, I was so supremely entertained, I never got impatient (and that’s saying something, as patience is undeniable NOT my strong suit). It was such a joy to join the Fairway Players as they prepare for their Christmas panto, they had me giggling and rolling my eyes (bloody Celia 🙄😄) at every turn.
Much like The Appeal, The Christmas Appeal is a mix of emails, texts and WhatsApp messages, which makes for a pacey and addictive read. The temptation to read just one more message exchange is real and before you know it, you’re halfway through the book.
At only a little over 200 pages, The Christmas Appeal lacks some of the depth that the original appeal did have, but even in this shorter mystery, Janice Hallett manages to get in a few twists and reveals. If you, like me, enjoy reading Christmas books but don’t like the cheesy kind, this is your kind of Christmas story and I would happily recommend it to readers looking for a (Christmas) mystery.
The Christmas Appeal is out today, 26 October.
Massive thanks to Viper Books and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.