The Christmas Jigsaw Murders by Alexandra Benedict: Fast-paced, tension-packed and cleverly plotted – book review –

The Christmas Jigsaw Murders by Alexandra BenedictThe Christmas Jigsaw Murders by Alexandra Benedict
The Christmas Jigsaw Murders by Alexandra Benedict
Family games at Christmas can be murder in this tantalising, tasty and exceedingly clever reading treat from Alexandra Benedict, an award-winning writer who has become much-loved for her deliciously dark and exciting Christmas mysteries.

And after the success of bestsellers The Christmas Murder Game and Murder on the Christmas Express, she is back to test both your pulse rate and your little grey cells with another brilliant, suspense-packed crime caper... complete with wicked word games.

On 19th of December, renowned puzzle setter, loner and Christmas sceptic Edie O’Sullivan finds a hand-delivered present on her doorstep. Unwrapping it, she finds a jigsaw box and, inside, six jigsaw pieces. When fitted together, the pieces show part of a crime scene... blood-spattered black and white tiles and part of an outlined body. Included in the parcel is a message: ‘Four, maybe more, people will be dead by midnight on Christmas Eve, unless you can put all the pieces together and stop me.’ It’s signed, Rest In Pieces.

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Edie contacts her nephew, DI Sean Brand-O’Sullivan, and together they work to solve the clues. But when a man is found near death with a jigsaw piece in his hand, Sean fears that Edie might be in danger and shuts her out of the investigation. As the body count rises, however, Edie knows that only she has the knowledge to put together the killer’s murderous puzzle. Only by fitting all the pieces together will Edie be able to stop a killer... and finally lay her past to rest.

Benedict is on her best festive form for this fabulous crime caper which comes liberally sprinkled with vibes of the Golden Age and includes a delicious side-serving of anagrams of Charles Dickens novels and Christmas stories, and a puzzle involving Fleetwood Mac songs.

Piece by piece, and clue by clue, the mysteries that lie buried behind The Christmas Jigsaw Murders slot into place and readers are drawn into an Agatha Christie-style whodunit, dished up with a sprinkling of Dickens and a compelling contemporary twist.

Fast-paced, tension-packed, cleverly plotted, and with a cast of charismatic characters, this is a murder mystery just dying to be read!

(Simon & Schuster, hardback, £14.99)

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