Book Review – Death and Papa Noel

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of Death and Papa Noel, a festive crime fiction read.

Richard Ainsworth is preparing for the Christmas of his dreams: quiet, no guests at his French B&B and his favourite films on the TV. None of which seems on the cards when his rural peace is shattered by the unexpected arrival of a familiar face.

Valérie d’Orçay has hotfooted it from Paris with her chihuahua in tow and an invitation to a Christmas themed murder mystery game. Richard begrudgingly dresses up as Father Christmas, but the costume becomes the least of his worries when he realises this isn’t a game to everyone. As other guests arrive to join the hunt, can Richard work out who is the victim – and who is murderer?

This is the perfect last review for me to share before Christmas, as it’s just the right length for you to read between now and the big day. It was my first dive into the Follet Valley, and it won’t be my last.

Richard is looking forward to his Radio Times guided Christmas Day, thank you very much. He doesn’t need English TV: he is DVD prepared. But then Valérie blusters in as the power of nature she is, and informs him quite cheerily that actually, he has other plans. Much to his surprise, he soon finds himself in an ill-fitting Santa suit with the back up of erotically dressed elves, and solving a murder.

I couldn’t help but love Valérie; she’s a whirlwind and a clever one at that, and I have a soft spot for female leads that aren’t immediately likeable on the front of it. She is well worth giving the time to, even if her taste in dogs is questionable. Richard is quite the opposite in that he is easy to love, and Valérie obviously has him far more figured out than he claims to like (but secretly loves). Watching them bounce off each other was hilarious, and has me already ready to read the first book and see how it all began.

The mystery at the heart of this novel has just that: it is full of heart. It felt oddly real, very clever and very human, with all the bends in the road – rather than twists and turns – that go with both a mystery, and being human. A real festive treat for mystery lovers.

Thanks for stopping by for this review today. If you are celebrating this Christmas, I wish you a very merry one, and if you are not, I wish you a peaceful time while the world stops for a bit. I’ll be back with more bookish content very soon!


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