Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas Mystery

Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas MysteryA White ChristmasDeepening Snow Has Isolated The Village Of Byford From The Outside World, But As The Locals Settle Down For The Festive Period, The Peace Is Suddenly Destroyed With News Of A Violent Crime At The VicarageA Domestic MurderThe Victim Is The Vicar S Son In Law, But Few Are Saddened By His Death And Although Chief Inspector Lloyd Is Expecting An Open And Shut Case, He Is Soon Confronted With Than He Bargained ForA Web Of LiesStruggling To Keep Control Of His Personal Relationship With Sergeant Judy Hill, Lloyd Must Work His Way Through A Tangle Of Suspects, Each Doing Their Part To Disrupt The Investigation In This Perplexing Mystery Murder At The Old Vicarage Is Jill McGown S Classic Homage To Agatha Christie, With A Decidedly Uncosy Twist

Elizabeth Chaplin.

[Reading] ➿ Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas Mystery Author Jill McGown –
  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas Mystery
  • Jill McGown
  • English
  • 03 October 2019
  • 9781509809639

10 thoughts on “Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas Mystery

  1. says:

    Book number two in the Hill and Lloyd series was just as enjoyable as I hoped with a good honest proper mystery, complete with a limited number of suspects and a solid investigation As much as I am a fan of the newer types of crime fiction there is something incredibly appealing about a straightforward murder mystery, told in a sequential timeline with a single reliable narrator.Redemption is set in the Christmas period with snow on the ground, which was credible in 1988 when this book was first published, and in the Vicar s home George Wheeler, said Vicar, has a lack of faith which surely is a pre requisite of the job, is ably supported with the lack of faith firmly disguised and ignored by his wife, Marian They are both understandably distressed when their young daughter a mere twenty one is visited by her husband in the small village outside Stansfield Joanne, has been previously been beaten by Graham Elstow and returned to the bosom of her family after a particularly serious incident, and then on Christmas Eve night, he is found beaten to death in bed at the Vicarage Acting Chief Inspector Lloyd it seems Jill McGown went with her former Latin teacher, Colin Dexter s naming preference for the chief protagonist and declined to give him a first name until much later in the series and Sergeant Judy Hill are hopeful that this is going to be a case they can swiftly solve, after all surely young Joanne has retaliated with the handy murder weapon of a poker It s not to be, because it isn t long before the alibis for the entire household come rolling in and the occupants insist that he must have been attacked by an intruder.It was the skilful misdirection employed throughout this novel that really had me gripped There are some convoluted relationships to dazzle the reader, including that of the young playgroup attendee Eleanor Langton who lives in the castle grounds as a single mother while working as an archivist She has caught the Vicar s eye and he is having very unholy thoughts about her For Lloyd and Hill things are no less complex as there are some confessions, time lines which simply don t fit with the time of death and locked doors that are usually left open, as I presume was the habit in a small village in the 1980s Fortunately the reader doesn t need to spare any sympathy for the wife beating victim all of which ensures this book falls into the gentler half of crime fiction but far away from the cosy variety I will grant you that we don t get too far beneath the surface of the characters in the way modern crime fiction tends to, but what is lacking here is made up for with a story with a puzzle that is told in a mere 246 pages.Of course Christmas is a great setting for a murder mystery because you have all the angst and families, which often amount to one and the same thing, competing with the forced merriment Jill McGown uses this aspect to breathe a contemporary feel into her mystery which has tendrils reaching back to the Golden Era Lloyd and Hill are having an affair the beginnings of which stretch back through time but with Judy Hill moving back to the area, it has reignited, and we all know with those families hanging around that for those involved, Christmas is a tricky time to conduct any secret assignations There have been strenuous efforts made by the author to remove the sordidness from this relationship with Judy s marriage almost being one of convenience and the way both professionals keep their two worlds separate, meaning that the investigation isn t sullied by bedroom antics.All of this made for a very satisfying read, my first of the Mount TBR challenge which may not be succeeding in actually reducing the TBR as I now want the next book in the series which fortunately for me have been republished by Bello Redemption has since been released by Pan as part of their Christmas series under the title Murder at the Old Vicarage.

  2. says:

    Intriguingly, the presentation of this novel is both accurate and misleading at the same time it s a quantum superposition of crime On the one hand, the murder takes place in a vicarage tick at Christmas tick with lots of snow tick And there s no doubt that the title is a homage to Agatha Christie in fact, the last line of the book is Murder at the Vicarage, he thought as he got into the car He must read it again some time However, the setting apart, this is a modern murder mystery with mostly modern characters I ll mention a couple of exceptions and a thoroughly up to date Britain.Jill McGown skilfully pulls together a plot in which every one of the possible suspects really could have done it I ve not read her books before, but I ll certainly be back for Her detectives, as is common these days, have domestic issues, not helped by them having previously had a relationship, but one is now married to someone else.The characters are largely well drawn Those two exceptions who come from the stock characters cupboard are an old lady who appears a little out of it, but is really a very sharp observer who does that remind us of Okay, I m sure it s intentional and the vicar, who harks back to the 70s when all vicars in fiction had to have lost their faith.I didn t see the ending coming and found the book an engaging read If I have one criticism of the plotting almost everyone seemed at some point to be lying to cover up for another person who they thought had done it, but who hadn t They never seem to bother to talk to each other and check.The modern setting means this book doesn t quite score as well as it could for a traditional Christmas murder mystery but it is well written and keeps the reader guessing, so it has turned out to be one of my favourites for this year.

  3. says:

    I thought it about time I started on the Christmas reading what a pity I chose one that I could not get on with even though it looked promising Murder at the Old Vicarage has a bullying husband, a vicar who queries his beliefs, a police officer who flits in and out in the early scenes while drooling over an old flame and a number of feckless characters, so much so that I unfortunately abandoned it before the end even before the murder had taken place I could not get to grips with the characters and the story went rambling on its way so I felt that I had better things to spend my time reading.Sorry

  4. says:

    I really enjoyed this little murder mystery Not my usual type of book, but it was a wee page turner Simple plot, or so it would seem Set in an isolated village with a close knit community Murder takes place at the vicarage at Christmas, and the victim is the vicar s son in law Good characters and writing It is down to CI Lloyd and Sergeant Hill to solve this modern day version of twists and turns Whose head will the crime finally fall upon.well that would be telling. I m sure Agatha Christie would have approved this version I might try of Jill McGown.

  5. says:

    I got completely engrossed in this book The characters were intriguing, multi faceted and believable and the mystery kept me guessing The sub plot relating to Lloyd and Judy Hill s relationship was also tantalising Great stuff

  6. says:

    I was looking for a Christmas mystery but even though someone is killed on Christmas eve this one didn t really do it for me It was fine short and forgettable.

  7. says:

    I really enjoyed this and thought it was much better crafted than the first in the series but I think the author wrote several other books in between There s a very short list of suspects for the murder but the misdirection is very cleverly done and I didn t feel at all cheated by the resolution, really very clever It s a very old fashioned kind of setup a small village that s practically snowbound at Christmas and the body turns up at the vicarage But it s definitely a modern non cosy mystery, it just plays with the golden age kind of setting whilst having many elements that are up to date It s looking good for a series with the main police protagonists getting their private lives all in a mess too, complicated situations making for much better ongoing stories than simple ones as horrid as it sounds to say it

  8. says:

    3.5 STARS I very much like what I ve read of this series I particularly like the character of DS Judy Hill who continuously takes notes because she has trouble remembering, something I can identify with There was an extremely short list of suspects, however suspicion changes over the course of the story back and forth I tagged a completely different culprit and motive until the very end The writing is intelligent and the mystery well done with plenty of red herrings My only quibble was that the timeline got confusing with all the deceit of the suspects, so the solution unfolding seemed a little convoluted and hard to follow at times I look forward to reading the rest in the series.

  9. says:

    A killing blow on the head took the life of Graham Elstow, and the vicar and his wife were relieved than grieved Elstow had beaten their beloved daughter so severely that she had landed in the hospital, and he had struck her again on the day he died But murder they deployed, especially in their own home on Christmas Eve Arriving on the scene are the canny police duo of Inspector Lloyd and Detective Sergeant Hill perfectly matched as they investigate Yuletide malice most undomestic back coverI like this second book in the series than the first book Characters are better delineated, and the plot was excellent it had to be either the vicar, his wife, or the daughter but each of them had a perfectly good alibi was it really an unknown intruder

  10. says:

    I really enjoyed this book From the very beginning you know who dunnit, all the way through the book, till you don t I like when a book can keep me guessing and then surprise me at the end The atmosphere was very well done, incorporating Christmas into the story without it being in the way of the rest of the story I love the British ness of the environment, the characters and their customs The characters are fleshed out and interwoven seamlessly I highly recommend this book and the preceding book as well 5 stars

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