Today's Reading

THE GAME WITHIN THE CHRISTMAS MURDER GAME

Game 1: The Twelve Days of Anagrams

The clues in the book are revealed on each of the twelve days of Christmas, so I have embedded anagrams of each the twelve gifts in the relevant section of the book.

1st Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'A partridge in a pear tree'

2nd Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Two turtle doves'

3rd Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Three French hens'

4th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Four colly birds'

5th Day of Christmas: find two anagrams of 'Five gold rings'!

6th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Six geese a-laying'

7th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Seven swans a-swimming'

8th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Eight maids a-milking'

9th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Nine ladies dancing'

10th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Ten lords a-leaping'

11th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Eleven pipers piping'

12th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Twelve drummers drumming'

Each anagram appears as a sequence of full words. For example, one anagram of 'My true love sent to me' is 'novelette sore tummy', which I will work into a sentence, i.e: 'Alexandra rapidly consumed the novelette. Sore tummy aside, she considered it an interesting addition to the country house mystery.' Or similar.

Some anagrams are easier than others to squeeze into a prose corset. Watch out for ones that don't quite fit.

Game 2: Title Deeds

The titles of twelve of my favourite country house mysteries set at Christmas are sewn throughout the book. Can you find them all?

Good luck!

I tell my secret? No indeed, not I;
Perhaps some day, who knows?
But not today; it froze, and blows and snows,
And you're too curious: fie!
You want to hear it? well:
Only, my secret's mine, and I won't tell.

From 'Winter: My Secret' by Christina Rossetti


24TH DECEMBER CHRISTMAS EVE
CHAPTER ONE

Snow is falling. Because of course it is. Nothing about this is going to be easy.

Lily presses her forehead against the cold window, her duvet wrapped around her. It's four in the morning and she can't sleep. Streetlights shower gold rings onto Catford High Street. Snowflakes dance down from the sky. Two blokes stumble along the middle of the road, arms around each other, shouting, 'It's Christmas!' A fox runs away from them, eyes glinting.

At one time, lying awake on Christmas Eve would have been down to excitement. But Lily doesn't believe in Santa anymore. She hasn't believed in anyone since Mum passed. And today she has to go back to the place where her mum died.

Lily hauls a hoodie over her head and gets out of bed. She fights her way between the rails of costumes and into her tiny living room. Well, that's what the previous tenant had called it. Lily doesn't really 'live' anywhere. This is her workroom. It's stuffed with starched cotton and velvet; thread, trims and ribbons; boxes of beads, bone and steel. Her sewing machine waits by the window. A paper dress-pattern lies in pieces on the floor, like the silhouette of a body at a crime scene.

It's not much of a home, but at least she doesn't have to house-share. She needs solid walls between her and other people. And the lack of space is a good reason to not bring anyone back, even if she is lonely. That's what Lily tells herself, anyway.
...

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Today's Reading

THE GAME WITHIN THE CHRISTMAS MURDER GAME

Game 1: The Twelve Days of Anagrams

The clues in the book are revealed on each of the twelve days of Christmas, so I have embedded anagrams of each the twelve gifts in the relevant section of the book.

1st Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'A partridge in a pear tree'

2nd Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Two turtle doves'

3rd Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Three French hens'

4th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Four colly birds'

5th Day of Christmas: find two anagrams of 'Five gold rings'!

6th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Six geese a-laying'

7th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Seven swans a-swimming'

8th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Eight maids a-milking'

9th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Nine ladies dancing'

10th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Ten lords a-leaping'

11th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Eleven pipers piping'

12th Day of Christmas: find the anagram of 'Twelve drummers drumming'

Each anagram appears as a sequence of full words. For example, one anagram of 'My true love sent to me' is 'novelette sore tummy', which I will work into a sentence, i.e: 'Alexandra rapidly consumed the novelette. Sore tummy aside, she considered it an interesting addition to the country house mystery.' Or similar.

Some anagrams are easier than others to squeeze into a prose corset. Watch out for ones that don't quite fit.

Game 2: Title Deeds

The titles of twelve of my favourite country house mysteries set at Christmas are sewn throughout the book. Can you find them all?

Good luck!

I tell my secret? No indeed, not I;
Perhaps some day, who knows?
But not today; it froze, and blows and snows,
And you're too curious: fie!
You want to hear it? well:
Only, my secret's mine, and I won't tell.

From 'Winter: My Secret' by Christina Rossetti


24TH DECEMBER CHRISTMAS EVE
CHAPTER ONE

Snow is falling. Because of course it is. Nothing about this is going to be easy.

Lily presses her forehead against the cold window, her duvet wrapped around her. It's four in the morning and she can't sleep. Streetlights shower gold rings onto Catford High Street. Snowflakes dance down from the sky. Two blokes stumble along the middle of the road, arms around each other, shouting, 'It's Christmas!' A fox runs away from them, eyes glinting.

At one time, lying awake on Christmas Eve would have been down to excitement. But Lily doesn't believe in Santa anymore. She hasn't believed in anyone since Mum passed. And today she has to go back to the place where her mum died.

Lily hauls a hoodie over her head and gets out of bed. She fights her way between the rails of costumes and into her tiny living room. Well, that's what the previous tenant had called it. Lily doesn't really 'live' anywhere. This is her workroom. It's stuffed with starched cotton and velvet; thread, trims and ribbons; boxes of beads, bone and steel. Her sewing machine waits by the window. A paper dress-pattern lies in pieces on the floor, like the silhouette of a body at a crime scene.

It's not much of a home, but at least she doesn't have to house-share. She needs solid walls between her and other people. And the lack of space is a good reason to not bring anyone back, even if she is lonely. That's what Lily tells herself, anyway.
...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...