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The Christmas Egg: A Seasonal Mystery di…
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The Christmas Egg: A Seasonal Mystery (edizione 2019)

di Mary Kelly (Autore)

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993231,167 (3.16)7
Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale and Sergeant Beddoes have been called to a gloomy flat off of Islington High Street. A seemingly ordinary elderly woman--who turns out to be Princess Olga Karukhin, an emigrant of Civil War Russia--lies dead on the bed. Not only does her death seem suspicious, but her trunk has been looted of its glittering treasure...Out in the festive holiday chaos of London, a colorful cast of suspects abounds: the downtrodden grandson, a plutocratic jeweler, and Bolsheviks with unfinished business. Beddoes and Nightingale have their work cut out in this tightly paced, quirky, and highly enjoyable jewel of the mystery genre.… (altro)
Utente:Fougasse
Titolo:The Christmas Egg: A Seasonal Mystery
Autori:Mary Kelly (Autore)
Info:British Library Publishing (2019), 288 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:
Etichette:Crime fiction, Women's writing

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The Christmas Egg di Mary Kelly

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‘’Princess Karukhina once had been used to lying in a carved bed inlaid with mother-of-pearl, between silk sheets changed daily, covered with down quilts and white urs. The walls of her lofty bedroom, sprayed constantly with rosewater, had been set with Wedgwood jasper plaques. Whole pelts of Polar bears had lain like ice floes on the glassy floor. The dark cramped room where she now lay was both sleeping and living room. The walls were shoulder-rubbed, the single rug curled at the corners, there was a pervasive smell of biscuits gone soft. The door of a wardrobe hung askew above the wedge of newspaper that had held it shut; in its mirror a tilted reflection of window and sky was dimming to a London dusk.’’

Princess Olga Karukhin is found dead in her dark, claustrophobic flat in Islington. She found refuge in London following the desolation of Russia during the October Revolution of 1917 and became a British citizen, carrying a portion of her belongings. Her trunk is empty. Investigating a death and a theft, Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale has to deal with suspicions of revenge and the threat of the Bolsheviks, dubious transactions initiated by shady jewellers and an oppressed -or is he, really? - grandson. It is December the 22nd and Christmas is coming but the criminals aren’t deterred by holidays…

I love Islington, its vibe and character are exceptional! The Almeida Theatre, the Regent’s Canal!!

Anyway, back to our book!

Mary Kelly demonstrates the atmosphere of London during the wonderful hullabaloo of Christmas and the unique aura of Islington during the 50s. Blending the troubled and troubling history of Russia, the persecution of the members of the aristocracy that found refuge in Europe by the spies and thugs of the Bolsheviks, the legendary Fabergè eggs with the characteristics, the prejudices, the aspirations of British society. Embellished with Opera references and an acute perception of heterogeneous social and political implications, Mary Kelly created a realistic and sophisticated seasonal mystery. And I adored Brett Nightingale!

Every time I start a new British Library Crime Classics volume, I can’t help thinking that Martin Edwards’s Introductions are as enjoyable as reading the actual mystery itself. Absolutely brilliant!

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jan 5, 2022 |
Disappointed in expecting a comfortable Christmas whodunnit--I was saving reading it for the holiday season. This was more in the crime fiction vein. Bit tedious. Most interesting to me were the descriptions of '50's London neighbourhoods. ( )
  amaraki | Jan 3, 2021 |
"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. ( )
2 vota BrokenTune | May 9, 2020 |
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Chief Inspector Brett Nightingale and Sergeant Beddoes have been called to a gloomy flat off of Islington High Street. A seemingly ordinary elderly woman--who turns out to be Princess Olga Karukhin, an emigrant of Civil War Russia--lies dead on the bed. Not only does her death seem suspicious, but her trunk has been looted of its glittering treasure...Out in the festive holiday chaos of London, a colorful cast of suspects abounds: the downtrodden grandson, a plutocratic jeweler, and Bolsheviks with unfinished business. Beddoes and Nightingale have their work cut out in this tightly paced, quirky, and highly enjoyable jewel of the mystery genre.

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