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Holiday Themed Books

13 Christmas Murder Mystery Books To Read

From cozy whodunits to a short story collection, there’s something for everyone on this list.

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle

Christmas Murder Mystery Books To Read

Christmas is a time for family, friends, some quiet time, and of course – murder mysteries!  If you’re looking for a new Christmas murder mystery to read, check out some of these great books.  From cozy whodunits to suspenseful thrillers, there’s something for everyone on this list.  So curl up by the fire with a good book and get ready to solve a murder!

What are murder mystery books called?

Murder mystery books fall under the broader genre known as “mystery” or “detective fiction”. They are often referred to as “whodunits” because the primary plot revolves around uncovering the identity of the individual or individuals responsible for a crime, typically a murder. These books can range from classic detective stories to suspenseful thrillers, and may also be classified as crime or noir fiction, depending on the specific elements of the story.

What is the difference between a thriller and a murder mystery?

While both genres involve suspense and intrigue, the main difference between a thriller and a murder mystery lies in their narrative structure and focus. A murder mystery primarily concentrates on the act of solving a crime, often a murder. It usually follows a detective or a similar character as they collect clues, interrogate suspects, and eventually reveal the perpetrator. The reader’s thrill comes from piecing together the clues alongside the protagonist.

On the other hand, a thriller is designed to evoke intense feelings of anticipation and excitement in the reader. The narrative is centered around a significant threat or danger, which the protagonist must overcome. It’s less about the puzzle of “whodunit” and more about the suspenseful journey, often involving high-stakes scenarios, action, and plot twists that keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

What are cozy murder mysteries?

Cozy murder mysteries are a sub-genre of crime fiction where sex and violence are usually downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The detectives in such stories are often amateurs, and they’re frequently women. The setting of these mysteries tends to be just as important as the plot, with the action taking place in quaint towns or tight-knit communities. The tone of cozy mysteries typically remains light, with humor interlaced throughout the story. While they may involve murder, the act itself is often off-stage and not described graphically. The focus is on solving the crime rather than the gore of the crime itself. These books are perfect for readers who love a good puzzle and enjoy crime fiction, but prefer to avoid graphic violence or explicit content.

13 Christmas Murder Mystery Books To Read

  1. Classic Christmas Crime Stories by David Stuart Davies 
  2. The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson
  3. A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril
  4. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
  5. The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett
  6. Ashes in the Snow by Oriana Ramunno
  7. The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict
  8. Christmas Mittens Murder by Lee Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Maddie Day
  9. Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah 
  10. Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O’Connor
  11. The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark
  12. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen 
  13. A Maigret Christmas: And Other Stories by Georges Simenon, Translated by David Coward
Classic Christmas Crime Stories by David Stuart Davies

Classic Christmas Crime Stories by David Stuart Davies

Christmas is not always the season of goodwill. As this hugely entertaining collection shows, it can also be the season of mysterious deaths, hidden poison bottles and blunt instruments…This collection of ten stories from the golden age of British crime writing features festive whodunits.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson

The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson

An American art student in London is invited to a seemingly charming English village for the holidays, but soon discovers dark secrets and a sinister history lurking beneath the festive façade.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril

A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril

Their chocolates are to die for—but things aren’t so sweet when a real killer comes to town in this debut mystery perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

In this official edition featuring exclusive content from the Queen of Mystery, the holidays are anything but merry when a family reunion is marred by murder—and the brilliant Belgian investigator is quickly on the case.  

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

This immersive holiday caper from the “modern Agatha Christie” (The Sunday Times, London) follows the hilarious Fairway Players theater group as they put on a Christmas play—and solve a murder that threatens their production.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Ashes in the Snow by Oriana Ramunno

A spellbinding murder mystery with the plotting and characterization of Louise Penny or Agatha Christie set in Auschwitz at Christmas, 1943.  Inspired by the author’s family history, this wonderfully atmospheric page-turner, set during World War II, introduces a memorable hero—the flawed and fascinating Hugo Fischer.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

Twelve clues, keys, and days of Christmas. But how many will die before Twelfth Night?  Agatha Christie meets Clue in this delightful, tense manor house murder mystery.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

Christmas Mittens Murder by Lee Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Maddie Day

Christmas Mittens Murder by Lee Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Maddie Day

Lee Hollis headlines a new Christmas collection alongside New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon and Agatha Award-winning author Maddie Day, with three cozy mysteries featuring handknit mittens made for murder…

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

Hercule Poirot's Silent Night by Sophie Hannah

Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah

The world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot—legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile—puts his little grey cells to work solving a baffling Christmas mystery.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O’Connor

Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O’Connor

The O’Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are back to investigate another case of murder–this time at Christmas! 

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark

The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense, and her daughter, bestselling mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark, have again joined forces to create a suspenseful and humorous holiday tale.  

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen 

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen 

In the sixth mystery in the New York Times bestselling Royal Spyness series, Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck… 

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

A Maigret Christmas: And Other Stories by Georges Simenon, Translated by David Coward

A Maigret Christmas: And Other Stories by Georges Simenon, Translated by David Coward

In this delightful holiday-themed collection of nine short stories, Inspector Maigret must solve a series of little mysteries—just in time for Christmas morning.

Buy on: Amazon / Bookshop

More About Christmas Murder Mystery Books

What are the five classic murder mysteries?

The five classic murder mysteries that have left indelible marks in the genre are:

  1. “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie: This novel is a quintessential whodunit where ten strangers are lured into an isolated mansion on an island and then killed one by one.
  2. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: This is one of the most famous stories featuring the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, who investigates the curse of a spectral hound that is thought to have caused the death of Sir Charles Baskerville.
  3. “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett: A classic noir detective novel, it features Private Investigator Sam Spade who gets drawn into the hunt for the elusive and valuable Maltese Falcon.
  4. “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler: This novel introduces the world to Philip Marlowe, a private detective navigating the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles to solve a case of blackmail that quickly turns into a murder mystery.
  5. “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie: In this classic, Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, must solve a murder that occurs aboard the luxury train, the Orient Express. Each passenger is a suspect, and Poirot must deduce who the killer is before they strike again.

How to host a murder Christmas?

Hosting a murder mystery event at Christmas can add a touch of suspense and fun to your festive celebrations. Here’s a simple guide to help you prepare:

  1. Choose a theme: First, decide on a Christmas-themed murder mystery scenario. There are many pre-written scripts available online, or you could create your own. The plot should be festive, intriguing, and suitable for all your guests.
  2. Invitations: Send out invitations to your guests with details about the event including the date, time, and theme. You might also want to give them a brief description of the character they will be playing.
  3. Preparation: Decorate your venue to suit your chosen theme. Prepare any necessary props and print out the scripts or character descriptions for each participant.
  4. Costumes: Encourage your guests to dress up according to their character. This helps set the mood and makes the event more immersive.
  5. Gameplay: On the day of the event, hand out the scripts or character descriptions. Explain the rules and the objective, which is to figure out who the murderer is. Start the game by setting the scene and revealing the “murder” to the guests.
  6. Guidance: As the host, guide the story along, providing clues and information to help your guests solve the mystery. Keep the game moving, but ensure everyone has enough time to talk, think, and deduce.
  7. Reveal: Once all the clues have been discovered and everyone has had a chance to guess, reveal the murderer. You could also give out prizes to those who correctly identified the culprit, or for the best performance or costume.

Remember, the aim of a murder mystery game is to have fun. So, ensure the atmosphere remains light and festive, even amidst the thrilling crime-solving!

What do you think about these Christmas murder mystery books?

Have you read any books from this list?  What are your favorite Christmas murder mystery books?  What books would you add to the list?

Looking for more Christmas stories or holiday books?

Book List - Christmas Murder Mystery Books To Read

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