All aboard a cozy murder mystery on the Christmas Express. Think Agatha Christie meets anagrams, hidden word searches, a recipe and a pub quiz. It’s the perfect mysterious festive read.
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format I read it in: Hardcover
Eighteen passengers. Seven stops. One killer.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the sleeper train to the Highlands is derailed, along with the festive plans of its travellers. With the train stuck in snow in the middle of nowhere, a killer stalks its carriages, picking off passengers one by one. Those who sleep on the sleeper train may never wake again.
Can former Met detective Roz Parker find the killer before they kill again?
“That was the magic of trains. The world seemed to pass you by while you were still, yet somehow you got to where you wanted to go. If only life were like that.”
I enjoyed this book so much, and reading it made me feel the Christmas spirit this year. It’s my first read in December and I couldn’t be happier to start my festive year with this title. The synopsis promises a similar plot to the famous “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, it was probably inspired by the title, and someone dies on a train so everyone is a suspect, but this is where the similarities end. The plot continues to thicken and no one can be trusted. Even Roz, the former detective, starts to make people question her integrity. I quite liked the open interrogation and the many twists that happened at the very end.
“Make lots of mistakes, Rosalind. Make them frequently. And do not give up who you are to be someone else, or someone you think you should be. It never works. Find your strengths and use them. You have many. No one can figure things out like you can. No one stands up for victims like you do.”
My favourite part was how interactive Murder on the Christmas Express is. I tried so hard to find all the anagrams, but I didn’t have too much luck, without knowing what page or chapter to look for. However, I thoroughly enjoyed finding all of Kate Bush’s songs that were hiding in plain sight. I also enjoyed the Christmas pub quiz and I will definitely be borrowing some questions this year.
When it came to the ending of the book and the killer, I wasn’t surprised.
I had my suspicions on a group of people, and it tied in nicely. A lot of signs and clues were already around, so it didn’t feel like too much of a surprise. I would have loved to get to know some of the characters more, and add a few of their secrets to thicken the plot a bit more. Some of the insight information that Roz received could have added to the suspense. As a cozy murder mystery, Murder on the Christmas Express made me feel exactly how I wanted it to; excited for Christmas, entertained and engrossed in solving a lot of mysteries. If you know a reader, this will be their perfect Christmas gift for them.
“Memories are like a tray full of water. They might seem clear to you, but they’re coloured by your own ink, your schema, made up of your past experiences, the way you view the world, your own sense of time, cultural identity and values, and so many other factors. If you lay a sheet of paper on top of the tray, then it will be one colour, one set of memories. But everyone else’s memories are shaded with their own ink, and if two or more of your memories mix, then they marble together and cannot be separated. If you lay a piece of paper on top, a very different image will emerge from the first. Bartlett’s theory of reconstructive memory. No one will give quite the same version of the same event.”
About The Author:
A K Benedict read English at Cambridge and Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. She writes in a room filled with mannequins, clowns and teapots. She is currently writing scripts, short stories, a standalone psychological thriller and the sequel to The Beauty of Murder. She lives in St Leonards-on-Sea with her dog, Dame Margaret Rutherford.