Book Review – The Santa Klaus Murder: A British Library Crime Classic by Mavis Hay.

The Santa Klaus murder

2 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Poisoned Pen Press for allowing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, I’m going to start with the positives this book rightly deserves. It is indeed a well preserved and well-presented piece of its time. I do love crime fiction from that ‘Golden Era of Crime’ and do count the 1930’s as indeed being within this period.

Saying that, I do find the reason some books written back then are still remembered more than others is because of how convoluted and wordy they… aren’t. And I’m pretty sure the reason this book was one of the ones left behind is because it WAS so convoluted and wordy. It just waffled way too much for me and I found myself drifting off and thinking of other things rather than focussing on the words in front of me. By the end – and I was determined to FINISH this book – I was finding myself skimming the pages and just reading the essential bits amongst the constant flow of padding. And I do dislike people who skim work, so to become guilty of such a reading sin… it’s a good indication this book wasn’t for me.

I am not saying this is a poorly written book or a bad story. I waffle; I’m waffling now… 😉 What I am saying is it is indeed a piece of work that suited the time and writing style of when it was written. I feel the reason that people like Agatha Christie are still known and read today is because she was rather abrupt and less wordy than her writing piers. Their work and ideas may, in some cases, have been as good a plotline. But their books aged quickly as their style of writing fell out of fashion. Gosh I do hope that all makes sense.

Would I recommend this book to others? Possibly. I would tell them it is a good bit crime fiction for the era that it was set in. But I would also warn them that it was traditionally written and therefore very long winded and very slow paced – which was the style back then for a lot of writers we now don’t remember.

Would I buy this book for myself? Sadly no. I do enjoy a lot of period crime fiction, and definitely prefer works that are set in that era to have been WRITTEN in that era too. But this one just wasn’t for me. As much as I am a crime fiction fan, I am also a fussy fan who likes certain styles when reading. This style wasn’t for me.

In summary: A good book for the age in which it was written, and probably an excellent way to while away those slow days of Christmas with a bit of a crime fiction adventure. But for me: too slow and too much wordy padding so that it almost smothers the actual story.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO


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