The Christmas Attraction by Janice Hallett

This immersive vacation caper from the “trendy Agatha Christie” (The Sunday Occasions, London) follows the hilarious Fairway Gamers theater group as they placed on a Christmas play—and clear up a homicide that threatens their manufacturing. Learn on for Doreen Sheridan’s evaluation!

Janice Hallett’s newest witty, effervescent homicide thriller brings us again to the world of the Fairway Gamers in all their dysfunctional glory, two years after the occasions chronicled in her glorious novel The Attraction. Femi Hassan and Charlotte Holroyd have as soon as once more been drawn right into a case by their retired mentor Roderick Tanner, who’s despatched them a large quantity of correspondence to type by means of with a purpose to decide who died and whodunnit, and what they as barristers establishing themselves within the authorized subject must do about it.

The correspondence begins innocuously sufficient, with Celia Halliday boasting about her household in her annual Christmas electronic mail. It rapidly turns into clear, nevertheless, that the snobbish lady is lower than happy with the route by which the annual Christmas pantomime goes. Whereas the Fairway Gamers’ one night time solely manufacturing of Jack And The Beanstalk is supposed to be a fundraiser, Celia’s subsequent emails discover a lot to complain about, from set design modifications to the remainder of the group’s efforts at recruiting extra our bodies to replenish the stage:

It’s fortunate for us that, in [my husband] Joel Halliday, OBE, we have now the most effective, most artistic set designer and builder the group has ever identified!


Accruing new members is all very properly–if these members are younger, match, and gifted, with a constructive perspective, and are ready to throw themselves into the reduce and thrust of group theater. Attracting hordes of society’s “passengers” will do us no good in any respect. Please be certain that anybody you encourage to hitch is the kind of one who displays our established values and work ethic.

Thankfully, many of the remainder of the gamers have her quantity, together with the harried co-chair of the group, Sarah-Jane MacDonald. Sarah-Jane has the unenviable process of dealing not solely with the unbearable Hallidays but in addition the petty jealousies of the remainder of the performers and crew, whereas concurrently reassuring the skeptical Reverend Harries that their efficiency in his church won’t deliver any extra structural harm to the constructing. Via no fault of their very own, the roof fell in throughout their final staging, and this Christmas play will hopefully assist pay to restore it utterly.

However nothing is as straightforward because it appears in the case of the Fairway Gamers. When a lifeless physique slides out on stage, will even this irrepressible group be capable to be certain that the play goes on? And can Femi and Charlotte be capable to type by means of all of the clues to determine what their mentor is attempting to indicate them?

A lot of this ebook will ring true to anybody who’s participated in novice (and even some skilled) theatricals. Its distinctive format as an epistolary novel solely provides to the immersive high quality of the communications, as if we’re actually aware about the exasperated and infrequently humorous conversations of the individuals concerned. As Sarah-Jane texts together with her husband Kevin over a perceived slight Celia has taken umbrage at:

2:11 p.m. Sarah-Jane wrote:

We had this with Glengarry and Gary Lineker. Do you intentionally “neglect” Joel’s OBE each time you ship draft program textual content? Are you actually that petty?


2:15 p.m. Kevin wrote:

You wager I do. And sure, I’m.


2:21 p.m. Sarah-Jane wrote:

Keep in mind, we should stand for reelection as joint chairs yearly, and exhibitions of pique will solely gasoline the Hallidays’ subsequent marketing campaign. I wish to assume we’re cochairs by means of our exhausting work, clear heads, and sense of equity. To guide, we should put away infantile issues.


2:26 p.m. Kevin wrote:

Properly stated. Joel, OBE will likely be described as Joel, OBE at any time when Joel, OBE is talked about. Signed, Kevin, no-BE.

The humor is snigger out loud humorous all through this energetic, fast-packed ebook. In case you’re a fan of The Attraction, as I’m, you may additionally squeal with delight at Isabel Beck’s cameo, as I did. Ms Hallett expertly skewers snobbishness, pettiness and narrow-mindedness in all its kinds on this light-hearted novel, whilst she asks the larger query of who’s allowed to get away with crime and why. I’m already wanting ahead to studying her subsequent ebook, even when it has nothing to do with the Fairway Gamers, as her mastery of this contemporary epistolary format is matched by only a few working within the subject in the present day.

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