DiscoverHistorical Mysteries

The Secret of The Golden Christmas Cracker

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Loved it! 😍

A masterfully written mystery in a Victorian setting that feels like a classic movie you’d watch over again.

Synopsis

The May Quillink Crime Mystery Collection of Victorian Novellas: ingenious plots with twists and turns designed to engage the reader to the last page.

The Secret of The Golden Christmas Cracker

This is no ordinary Christmas cracker.
And these are no ordinary lovers.

A box of Christmas crackers falls off a carriage in London. But who lost them?

By chance, a passer-by picks it up and takes it home. The crackers are handed out at a festive lunch laid on by Colonel Warwell in Hampshire. Afterwards, Warwell disturbs an intruder where he is staying. And the brave colonel gets thwacked with a cudgel. But what was the ruffian searching for?

Then, on Christmas Eve, a surprise revelation links a pair of ardent lovers to the growing conundrum. The amateur detectives, Warwell and Knowles, learn of the mysterious couple’s clandestine rendezvous. But what else were the lovers scheming about?

Determined to find out, the pair head to London, the starting point of the mystery. And they team up with the brainy Thomas Pope and the resourceful Chief Inspector Bullington. Will the band of sleuths discover the answers?

Or is the riddle of the golden Christmas cracker just too difficult to crack?

The Secret of The Golden Christmas Cracker written by May Quillink is an engaging mystery novel that would keep you reading to the very end.


Set during the Victorian era, it gives you the feel of a classic detective story just like the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. Instead of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, however, you’d find a new batch of clever characters consisting of five friends bound by their love of solving mysteries.


Being the third book of “The May Quillink Crime Mystery Collection”, it follows the adventures of Colonel Warwell and his friends as they try to uncover the mystery behind the Christmas cracker that accidentally fell into their hands.


From the very first pages, you’d get hooked at each scene’s cinematic quality. You can almost picture being there, hearing the trotting horses among the cobblestones and gaslit streets.


Set during the Christmas season, it is all the more enticing, inviting you to travel back in time back when things were simpler yet nevertheless never less beautiful.


The imagery in this story is superb, I could almost see the sumptuous food being shared by the characters of this story. I could almost smell the aroma of coffee being served on a cold winter’s day.


Maybe this is one of the reasons why despite being classified as a historical mystery, this book also felt like a cozy mystery to me. I can snuggle into bed with a hot chocolate and simply enjoy the treat of reading how Colonel Warwell and his friends get to solve their holiday mystery.


The plot was deftly crafted, I was pleased with the new pieces of evidence being discovered each time. It also flowed at just the right pace.


I also loved the group of friends who had this passion for solving mysteries. I wanted to be among them! I guess the only thing I wanted to improve here is how I could differentiate each character more. I wanted to know the people who had been speaking even without knowing their names.


Overall, this is a mystery novel that could be a true classic-in-the-making. I recommend it to fans of mystery novels, especially for those who enjoy the Victorian setting.



Reviewed by

Hi, I'm Joyce! I review Children's Books as well as Christian, Fantasy, Romance, Memoirs, and Mystery Books. I do freelance as well as book club reviews. I'm also a novelist, poet, and self-help author. My inspirational blog is definitely a place to share reviews from a similar genre.

Synopsis

The May Quillink Crime Mystery Collection of Victorian Novellas: ingenious plots with twists and turns designed to engage the reader to the last page.

The Secret of The Golden Christmas Cracker

This is no ordinary Christmas cracker.
And these are no ordinary lovers.

A box of Christmas crackers falls off a carriage in London. But who lost them?

By chance, a passer-by picks it up and takes it home. The crackers are handed out at a festive lunch laid on by Colonel Warwell in Hampshire. Afterwards, Warwell disturbs an intruder where he is staying. And the brave colonel gets thwacked with a cudgel. But what was the ruffian searching for?

Then, on Christmas Eve, a surprise revelation links a pair of ardent lovers to the growing conundrum. The amateur detectives, Warwell and Knowles, learn of the mysterious couple’s clandestine rendezvous. But what else were the lovers scheming about?

Determined to find out, the pair head to London, the starting point of the mystery. And they team up with the brainy Thomas Pope and the resourceful Chief Inspector Bullington. Will the band of sleuths discover the answers?

Or is the riddle of the golden Christmas cracker just too difficult to crack?

Chapter One

As he hastened into the long, gloomy alley, Harry Bullfinch heard the distinctive sound of trotting horses making fast on cobblestones. Peering forward into the frosty fog, he saw what he thought was the back of a goods carriage reach a bright gaslight at the far end of the passage. The driver didn’t stop; instead, he reined his two dandy dapple-grey horses left around the corner, then jeered them into a fast trot once more. Bullfinch, still a fit man, started running and made it to the same gaslight in no more than five seconds.

Harry Bullfinch was sure he had seen something fall from the right side of the carriage before it had turned out of the back alley. Looking around, he spotted a package lying against a gate in a dark doorway, away from the light. He picked it up, and being the good, honest man that he was, he dashed after the carriage as fast as he could, calling out to the driver as he did so.

Alas, his noble effort was doomed to fail. For even though the carriage had been forced to stop at the junction with the Strand, it was now slipping into the busy Christmas traffic and smartly trotting towards Charing Cross. Bullfinch reached the pavement of the Strand just in time to see the ghostly outline of the carriage and the dapple-grey pair disappear into the fog as it rounded Charing Cross.

Harry Bullfinch went to stand under a nearby gaslight. He looked inquisitively at the brown parcel as he turned it over in his big, rough hands. It was a cube-shaped parcel, about nine or ten inches in size. Whatever it contained was light in weight and rattled only slightly when gently shaken. It was wrapped in simple but strong brown paper and tied up securely with a somewhat dirty length of thick string. There appeared to be no writing or mark of any kind that would help him return the contents to its owner. A nearby clock on a shop told him it was now almost 3.40 p.m. on this December afternoon. There was no time for him to think what to do with the parcel. Shrugging his shoulders in resignation, Harry Bullfinch tucked it under his arm and rushed once more towards the shortcut for Waterloo Bridge. If he ran all the way over the river to Waterloo Junction, he reckoned he could still catch the four o’clock train to Winchester.

About the author

Ever since I was young it has been my dream to write mystery stories. But, amongst other occupations, a hectic career with an international company meant I never had the time to become a full time author. Finally, I have been able to push everything aside and simply write in my snug writing den. view profile

Published on November 16, 2020

40000 words

Genre: Historical Mysteries

Reviewed by