Cover Image: The Christmas Murder Game

The Christmas Murder Game

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley. A family Christmas game with clues to solve involving old and new secrets. It was hard getting into at first but I kept at it and the mystery slowly pulled me in.
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OK - this book had me sold from the beginning, like before the story even started. Twelve days of Christmas, twelve anagrams and twelve mystery titles hidden throughout. And a map to top it all off. A locked room mystery with puzzles and riddles hidden throughout, I was here for it all. 

The story itself was quite entertaining throughout. Lily and her cousins are trapped in Endgame House to participate in the final Christmas Games developed by her aunt Liliana before her death. The winner this year though wins the biggest prize of all - the entire estate of Endgame House. This ups the stakes, causing someone to go to murderous means to secure it all for themselves. 

I loved so many things about this book. The setting, the crazy dynamic family, and most of all the puzzles and watching them solve the riddles. I found myself so engaged that I couldn't even pay attention to the puzzles above, having passed through an entire day of Christmas without even pausing for a second to look for them. Still fun to look back though and appreciate the time and effort put in to that added little fun. 

While I really enjoyed this Christmas mystery, I did find the end a bit rushed. As the days of Christmas went on, the puzzle solving got quicker as the plot itself thickened. I appreciated how the last puzzle came together though and was quite clever. There were a couple of "big reveals" at the end that I quite honestly saw coming, but while it did not wow me, I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for my DRC in exchange for an honest review!
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I am a bit bummed after reading this because the premise is there, a murderous Christmas game involving family secrets and riddles, but the execution just wasn't up to par. I felt that the plot is predictable, the characters each fell a bit flat and one dimensional, and the pace was too slow for my liking. I'm still on the hunt to find a decent Christmas mystery thriller and think I will be for a while.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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On the twelfth night of Christmas, who will be left alive?

Every year, the Armitage family plays a Christmas game at their sprawling family mansion, Endgame House. Lily has no desire to go back to the home where her mother died, but a letter from her Aunt convinces her to go. In this letter, her Aunt promises that Lily will finally find out the truth about her mother's death, and that she will be able to solve the riddles to win the keys to her childhood home. As the twelve days of Christmas commence, Lily and her cousins play the game, only to find that Endgame House is not the only thing at stake. They're snowed in, the phone lines are down, and someone is picking them off one by one. Will any of them survive to see the game through to the end?
I was pleasantly surprised by this Christmas suspense novel! I had so much fun with the Armitage family and their dark family secrets and games. I loved the riddles throughout the story and couldn't wait to see what would happen when each one was solved. I had many theories throughout this novel but I truly could not have guessed what would happen. I enjoyed the audiobook along with the eARC, and was captivated by the narrator's performance. She made the story easy to follow despite having many characters to keep up with. This novel made me nostalgic for Clue and I tried very hard to convince my husband to play it with me, which he adamantly declined. I would recommend this murder mystery novel to anyone with an inner sleuth and a love for Christmas!
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The annual Christmas Game is afoot at Endgame House, the Armitages' grand family home. This year's prize is to die for--deeds to the house itself--but Lily Armitage has no intention of returning. She hasn't been back to Endgame since her mother died, twenty-one years ago, and she has no intention of claiming the house that haunts her dreams.
Until, that is, she receives a letter from her aunt promising that the game's riddles will give her the keys not only to Endgame, but to its darkest secrets, including the identity of her mother's murderer.
Now, Lily must compete with her estranged cousins for the twelve days of Christmas. The snow is thick, the phone lines are down, and no one is getting in or out. Lily will have to keep her wits about her, because not everyone is playing fair, and there's no telling how many will die before the winner is declared.

This premise reminded me of adult version of Inheritance Game as well as the film Ready or not. Unfortunately characters felt but flat and two dimensional however I had a good time reading this book. I liked the fact the author added more puzzles for the readers and I loved the Christmas vibes.
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As much as I love getting into the holiday spirit with some cheesy and enjoyable Christmas rom-com books, I was very excited for a Christmas murder-mystery book! However this one was not the book for me. I had a really difficult time getting hooked into the book and felt like there was too much going on. There was a lot of switching from the present to past memories in the middle of a chapter that I found difficult to follow. I think the idea of the book was good, and I did enjoy the setting and creepy vibe the author set, I just didn't enjoy the execution.
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Quick and Dirty⁣
-enemies as family⁣
-bisexual MC⁣
-fast read⁣
-whodunnit⁣
⁣
Synopsis⁣
Lily Armitage is headed back to her family home, Endgame House, for what she hopes will be the final time. She hasn't been since her mother's tragic death twenty years ago. If it weren't for Aunt Liliana's mysterious letter she wouldn't be going at all. She honestly has no desire to see some of her cousins, much less play the annual Christmas game. But this year's game is going to be different. Aunt Liliana has died, and her will stipulates that the winner of the game will inherit Endgame House. Though she has no desire to own Endgame House, Lily is determined to play the game through, as Aunt Liliana has promised that secrets about her mother's death will be revealed at the end. ⁣
⁣
Musings⁣
I don't read a lot of murder mysteries, but if they are anything like this book I'm missing out! I really enjoyed this book. It was difficult to put down, particularly the latter half of the book. There were twists and turns in just about every chapter, which made for a fast read. The final twist was unexpected and certainly worth it! Overall, this is the perfect way to break up the sugary sweet Christmas reading we will all be doing next month!
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Lily left Endgame House, the family home turned into a hotel in which she had been raised, as a young teenager after her mother killed herself. Many years later, Lily's aunt begs her to return for Christmas, and after she dies, Lily decides to honor her by returning home. A family reunion at Christmas has one goal: to solve one of Aunt Liliana's famous puzzle games, but this time, the winner will get Endgame House itself. As the cousins assemble at Endgame House, a terrible blizzard sets in, and per the terms of Aunt Liliana's will, they must all be locked in, with no outside contact, for the twelve days of Christmas. They have to solve the puzzle before the end of the holiday, or the house reverts to an outsider. Of course, there are family intrigues and old resentments and alliances. Lily is haunted by memories of her mother and finding her dead in the garden maze. But as Lily solves the clues to the puzzle, she finds other clues that indicate that her mother did not kill herself, and that Aunt Liliana did not die naturally. And then the cousins begin to die, one by one. Ms. Benedict has themed anagram puzzles scattered throughout the book for the reader to solve. I found the book slightly tedious and a bit long; I think it needed some editing to tighten some of the long scenes where Lily has  repeated mini emotional breakdowns. And I really disliked the book being written in the first person. Also, for readers who prefer a conservative storyline, Lily is openly bisexual and her romantic entanglements are a significant subplot.
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Loved that this is a murder mystery christmas book. Usually when you think about christmas books, you think hallmark channel. It was fast paced with lots of secrets and drama. It was pretty predictable, but also really enjoyable. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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So many Christmassy books are romances, and it's refreshing to have a good recommendation at hand for something that  is seasonal but not treacly. The Christmas Murder Game is a tight, locked room British manor house mystery with significantly more dead bodies in it than I expected. Lots of family secrets and plenty of space for drama, and this story might make your own family at the holidays seem more manageable.
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Perfect for fans of shows like Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie’s darker tales.

As a reader, I’m obsessed with similes and metaphors, and this book contains some of the best ones I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I adore Benedict’s writing style.

The plot was fast-paced and kept me on my toes. Yes, some parts may be predictable for seasoned mystery readers/watchers, but that didn’t hinder the reading experience in any way. Overall, this was a satisfying mystery.

If you’re a mystery fan, a simile/metaphor fan, or just looking for something intriguing to read this Christmas, you’ll definitely enjoy your time with this one.
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Usually I like a good, cozy locked room mystery. This one being a Christmas book made me even more excited to read it, considering it’s almost that time of year. Unfortunately, I found this book to be a mediocre read. Incredibly (and disappointingly) predictable, and I truly didn’t care much about the backstory of the family- probably because I didn’t feel very connected to the characters. I did finish the book, though, because I wanted to know if my prediction was correct (it was) or if there would be a major twist (there wasn’t). While I didn’t feel that there was strong character development, I did appreciate the LGBTQ+ representation in the book. I can appreciate the little puzzles woven throughout (which I forgot about and didn’t attempt until the end). This book is fine if you want a holiday read that isn’t a rom com, but don’t expect any twisty or jaw-dropping endings or events. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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To be perfectly honest, this book is really suffering in part from being released close to The Family Game. This book is not as good and not as well thought out. Kind of a chore to read.
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Lily's family have unique Christmas tradition. A treasure hunt with riddles, anagrams,puzzles and clues to get keys to uncover many possibilities. This year prize is massive and chance to unravel some secrets about her mother's death isnt something Lily cant ignores. 

I love the unique premise of crime mystery and riddles. It is intriguing and keep me going through the story. But the characters isnt flesh out enough and how they handle the murder cases is lack depth. This book isnt easy reading for me with over flowery prose.
The Christmas Murder Game will become perfect choice for The Inheritance Games fans reader. 

Thank you Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for provided me with this copy. I am truly grateful but my thoughts are my own.
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I put this off until after Halloween to read because I just wasn’t ready for Christmas. But this murder mystery is great for both holidays, I really enjoyed this book and regret putting it off.
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A Christmas murder mystery set at an old family country estate feels like a pretty can’t miss premise, but this was kind of a mess.

I love bleak environment in a country house mystery, but the bleakness of this book was less in the macabre vein and more of the depressing, miserable bent. Every character in this book is an angsty, tortured soul, and not in that intriguing rock star sort of way. It’s just a bunch of bitter people sniping at each other and feeling sorry for themselves. Trouble for a murder mystery, because it’s really hard to care who dies or who killed them.

The setting was good in theory, and was the best part of the book, but it’s intermittently a significant factor in the story and then entirely forgotten in fits and starts. Also, who names their country house Endgame? Nah. 

The story also has little to do with Christmas, which didn’t help the slow, droning pace and plot development, and the solve was, I suppose, fine, but didn’t have the snap to rescue a pretty tired book in general.
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Thank you for the ARC! I enjoyed this book, loved the theme, description and cover, but found it too complex and too predictable at times.
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for this ARC.

Where to start with this book? First, the style of writing was enjoyable. The author successfully created a creepy vibe and introduced all of the characters/possible killers. The problem came with the initial reason for Lily to return to the house. If Lily's Aunt had only revealed her secrets right away rather than creating the stupid murder game, so many people would not have died. It made no sense. The reasoning behind all of the events just became more convoluted. Also, the constant references to not trust anyone made the killer obvious. I give this book 2/5 stars. Good writing style but a poorly developed plot.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I loved the idea of the book, the idea of the anagrams, the clues, and the whole theme overall. I was sold on the Christmas + murder mystery trope. However, I think I had too high expectations from this book so I was a bit disappointed. There were parts that I honestly skimmed because it felt a little slow or because i wasn't able to connect to the characters, but it wasn't a "bad" book at all. I did guess the murder early on but I don't think that took away anything at all from the plot. 

Overall, I think this could be fun for those who like to read this genre, but it just fell a little flat for me.
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If you love books about family secrets, scavenger hunts,, and puzzles then this one is for you. When Lily and her family get summoned to Endgame her first instinct is to refuse the invitation but she is promised the secrets of her mothers death. While they’re she’s faced with more than she thought!
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