Another Epic World War II Story Is Coming Soon

I've been hinting at what my next historical fiction would be about and finally (FINALLY) I can start talking about it. 

I’m very proud to introduce you to The Whispers of War, a book that explores how far friendship and loyalty can be pushed during a time of war.

Here's a look at what you can expect:

In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.

The Whispers of War comes out almost a year to the day after The Light Over London, and although it isn’t a sequel to The Light Over London, I think you’re going to enjoy returning to the same world for another story of extraordinary women.

The Whispers of War will be on sale in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook at all major retailers on January 14th in North America and January 16th in the United Kingdom.

United States

Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | B&N | Google Play | Books-a-Million


Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Indigo

United Kingdom

Amazon | Apple Books | Waterstones | Blackwells | Kobo | Google Play

You can be sure to stay up-to-date with all the latest news about all of my book by signing up for my newsletter. As a thank you, I’ll send you an exclusive epilogue to The Light Over London that answers the question “What happened after the war?”

The Light Over London Gets a New Look!

Sometimes change is good, especially when it means the start of something new. 


While I adore the The Light Over London's hardcover cover with its beautiful turquoise and yellow, I was pretty thrilled when I saw what Gallery Books had in mind for the US paperback edition!

This beautiful, rich blue cover will be on sale in the US starting on September 24th at all major retailers and many of your favorite indie bookstores, but you can preorder it today to make sure it ships as soon as the book comes out:

Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | B&N | Google Play

And UK readers will start seeing The Light Over London in stores in October 3. You can preorder it here:

Amazon UK | Waterstones | WH Smith

Sharing Long Ignored Stories This Women’s History Month

Lili’uokalani, the first queen regent of Hawaii and last sovereign of Hawaii

Lili’uokalani, the first queen regent of Hawaii and last sovereign of Hawaii

When I was starting university, I had doubt what I wanted to study. For years I had been telling people I wanted to pursue a PhD in history and eventually become a university professor. That career ambition lasted all of three semesters as I quickly realized that academic life wasn’t for me, but my love for the actual study of history never wavered.

History for me has never been about dates and facts—the often dry approach that can so easily turn people off from the subject in school. It’s about story, and since my main focus was on social history it’s always been about the story of people.

In my freshman year, my eventual advisor nudged me toward studying gender and sexual during the Victorian era. I fell in love with this rich area of history, mostly because it was filled with stories. Women’s stories. History had slowly been waking up to the value of telling the often ignored stories of women throughout history, but what I was studying still felt new, exciting and—sometimes—dangerously subversive.

Now, well into my writing career, it’s no surprise that women’s stories thread through all of my historical fiction. I’ve written about Victorian governesses, artists, and shop owners. I’ve written about Gunner Girls in World War II who manned anti-aircraft guns and threw themselves into danger to help Britain win the war. Each of these characters were based on real people who left behind fascinating records of their lives, if only we cared to look.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman to qualify as a physician and surgeon in the United Kingdom

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman to qualify as a physician and surgeon in the United Kingdom

The extraordinary thing about all of this isn’t necessarily the way these women lived their lives—often they were just doing what it took to survive or make their way in the world. It’s how many people don’t know their stories. The Gunner Girls are truly heroes of World War II, but when I begin to tell people about the plot of The Light Over London, I’m usually met with “Oh, I think I’ve heard something about them” at best and “I had no idea” at worst.

It feels a bit absurd that it is 2019 and we feel a need to designate a month to women’s history in 2019 when—to paraphrase a woman famous for making her own history—women’s history is history. Still the lack of general knowledge of women’s contribution to every aspect of world history is undeniably widespread. This is only compounded when looking to women from different racial or cultural backgrounds.

And so the need for a Women’s History Month each March persists. This year, I’m celebrating with 31 days of stories, photographs, videos, and songs on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest that highlight a woman who made a significant contribution to or is notable for her place in history. My hope is that men and women alike will stumble upon these and their interest will be sparked to learn more about these extraordinary women.

The Woman With the 5 Million Franc Price on Her Head

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In researching my book The Light Over London I was continually amazed at the many—often unsung—ways women contributed to the war effort in Britain during World War II. The Lightseekers is an ongoing series of articles that highlights some of their work and the ways they brought light to Britain in one of its darkest times.

One of my favorite bars in London is called the American Bar in the Stafford Hotel on St. James Place. You can imagine my delight then when I realized that the American Bar was also a favorite haunt of Nancy Wake, one of the most dynamic, fascinating spies of World War II.

Born in New Zealand in 1912 and raised in Australia, Wake ran away from home at 16. She used £200 that she’d inherited from an aunt to get herself to New York City and London where she trained as a journalist. In the 1930s, she was a European correspondent for the Hearst newspaper group, and while she was working in Vienna she witnessed the rise of the Nazi party and its terrorism of Jewish people.

Wake was living in Marseille with her French industrialist husband, Henri Edmond Fiocca, when Germany invaded in 1940. As an interned person, she quickly became involved in the fight against the Germans as a courier for the French resistance. At this time, she also began to work for Captain Ian Garrow’s escape network, which smuggled Allied internees, POWs and other people out of France to Britain.


Wake’s status as the wife of a wealthy industrialist afforded her privileges others didn’t have including the ability to travel more freely than most people. However, Wake also freely admitted to using her sexuality to move through German checkpoints, calling herself “a flirtatious little bastard.”

“A little powder, a little drink on the way, and I’d pass their posts and wink and say, ‘Do you want to search me?’”

Wake was so successful as an agent that the Gestapo began calling her the “White Mouse” because, despite suspecting her of working for the resistance, the Germans could never catch her doing anything criminal. To try to catch her, they tapped her phone and began to intercept her mail. Wake was eventually arrested in Toulouse but released after four days after one of her fellow resistance fights lied about her being his mistress, claiming that they needed to hide her identity from her jealous husband. (None of which was true.)

By November 1942, Wake was the most wanted person in Marseille with a 5 million franc price on her head. Garrow had been betrayed and arrested, but he was able to escape France into Spain. Wake continued his work, but eventually her life was in so much danger that became necessary for her to flee. She also escaped from France into Spain through the Pyrenees after seven attempts. (For those who have read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, this is the crossing that is described in harrowing detail during parts of that narrative.)

After her escape, Wake made her way to Britain. However, her husband stayed behind and was captured. Despite being tortured, he refused to betray her, and the Gestapo executed him. Wake didn’t learn of his death until after the war.

In Britain, Wake joined the Special Operations Executive. She was a good shot, fearless, and fiesty. Vera Atkins, who oversaw all SOE agents in France, called her “a real Australian bombshell” who “put the men to shame by her cheerful spirit and strength of character.”

“A little powder, a little drink on the way, and I’d pass their posts and wink and say, ‘Do you want to search me?’”

Wake would go on to prove that strength of character over and over. She once parachuted into Auvergne where she was discovered tangled up in a tree by Captain Henri Tardivat who ran a group of rural guerrillas fighting against the occupation (a maquis). He reportedly said, “I hope that all trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year.”

“Don’t give me that French shit,” she replied.

Wake recruited members to the maquis, and was involved in multiple attacks on key strategic points including bridges, convoys, and railway track. She once rode a bicycle 190 miles and back in 72 hours through German checkpoints in order to send a message to London when her wireless operator was killed. (She later called this “bike ride” her proudest moment.) She could also be ruthless, such as the time when she killed an SS man with her bare hands or when resistance men were dithering about killing a girl who was a German spy. Wake said she’d kill the girl herself if they wouldn’t. The men finally performed the execution themselves.

The maquis Wake operated in was such a thorn in Germany’s side that 22,000 soldiers were sent to defeat them. The maquisards suffered only 100 casualties. The Germans suffered 1,400.

After the war, Wake was widely decorated, receiving honors including three Croix de Guerre, the U.S. Medal of Freedom, and Britain’s George Medal. She continued to work in intelligence at the British Air Ministry—with a brief stint in Australia for a political career that never got off the ground—before marrying an RAF officer in 1957 and moving back to Australia.

Wake’s husband died in 1997, and in 2001 she moved back to London, taking up residence at the Stafford Hotel. It had been a haven for British servicemen and American GIs during the war, and the general manager of the American Bar at the time was a fellow resistance worker from Marseilles. She would visit the bar every morning for her first gin and tonic of the day, and there is now a plaque commemorating her in the bar.

At the end of her life, Wake moved to a home for ex-service men and women, where she lived until her death in 2011 at the age of 98. Her ashes were scattered at a ceremony in the woods outside Verneix in France. Determined that it should be a celebratory occasion, Wake left instructions that there should be a boisterous drinks party afterward.

Wake wrote about her extraordinary experiences in her autobiography The White Mouse. If you are interested in reading more about her and other women spies in World War II, I would recommend The Women Who Spied for Britain by Robyn Walker.

Read every story of the The Lightseekers in the series archive. You can also learn more about their stories by following the hashtag #TheLightseekers on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Your Questions Answered

One of my favorite things about being an author is talking to readers. With The Light Over London launching on both sides of the pond, readers have been emailing me with all sorts of questions about the book. I’ve decided I want to pool those questions and answer them during a Facebook Live video this March.

So, tell me, what do you want to know? Where did I get the idea for The Light Over London? What's it like living in London? Who are my favorite authors?

Just leave your comment on this post. (It’s okay if you just want to say hi.) Then be sure to like my Facebook Page so that you won't miss my Facebook Live with all of the answers!

Love Is in the Air (So Let's Celebrate with Free Books)

February is the month of love, so I’m happy to show my love for my readers by announcing another Goodreads giveaway for The Light Over London!

All you have to do to enter is click on this link and keep your fingers crossed for a Kindle edition of the book. This giveaway runs until February 22nd and is open to US readers only.

Good luck, and happy reading!

The Light Over London Is Out at UK Retailers

UK readers, the wait is over! If you’ve been waiting to snag a hardcover copy of The Light Over London, it’s now available for you to purchase. You can buy the book from these fine retailers:

Amazon UK |Waterstones | WH Smith

I would love to see you guys reading your copies of The Light Over London. You can do that by using #TheLightOverLondon on social media or joining my reader Facebook group.

Speaking Event: "How To Write Romantic Novels and Get Published" at Pimlico Library

London-based readers, I have an author appearance to tell you about, just in time for the release of The Light Over London in the UK.

If you’ve ever wanted to write romantic fiction, I will be speaking at Pimlico Library with Brigid Coady on writing the genre and getting your books published. This is a great chance to ask lots of questions about ideas, structure, and writing process. You’ll also have the chance to ask about the publishing both in the US and the UK.

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“How To Write Romantic Novels and Get Published” with Brigid Coady

Tuesday, February 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Pimlico Library, Lupus St, Pimlico, London SW1V 3AT

The Light Over London Is a Canadian Bestseller!

Release weeks are always exciting, and none was more exciting that that for The Light Over London because I found out that the book debuted at #8 on the Toronto Star’s Original Fiction list.

Even better? The book rose a spot this week to #7!

The love that Canadian readers have been showing to this book is just extraordinary, and I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Making The Light Over London Come Alive Through Research

For The Light Over London, I got to immerse myself in a number of histories of the ATS, the Blitz, women’s roles in the British military, and more. I’ve included a few mentions of these books in my author’s note at the end of The Light Over London, but I wanted to mention a few more titles in case there are any readers who want to learn more about this fascinating time period.

Used for The Light Over London

These are the books that had the greatest impact on me while writing Louise and Cara’s stories. I don’t think it would’ve been possible to write the detail of the 1941 story without Barrett and Calvi’s excellent history of a Gunner Girl (as well as a Wren and a WAAF) or Green’s extensive research into the everyday lives of women in the ATS.

Girls in Khaki: A History of the Second World War by Barbara Green

The Girls Who Went to War by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

The Secret History of the Blitz by Joshua Levine

Woman at the Front: Memoirs of an ATS Girl by Sylvia Wild

Additional Resources Used

From time to time, I needed to get a greater context of what was going on in Britain or Europe during the war. For that, I turned to several of these books. Certain titles also were invaluable for giving The Light Over London texture in the fashions and hairstyle or learning about social attitudes to things like love and marriage during the war.

Britain’s War: Into Battle 1937-1941 by Daniel Todman

The Blitz: The British Under Attack by Juliet Gardiner

Debs at War: 1939-1945 by Anne de Courcy

Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look by Jonathan Walford

The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War by Lara Feigel

Historical Fiction Set on the Home Front

If you enjoyed The Light Over London and are interested in reading more books set on the Home Front during this time period, I recommend the five-volume family saga by Elizabeth Jane Howard, The Cazalet Chronicles. Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers also touches on World War II in Cornwall and the Wrens in a charming historical and contemporary narrative.

If you’re a reader of books set in Britain during WWII, I’d love to hear your recommendations. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

To the Readers of The Light Over London

Dear Reader,

To live in London is to always have the memory of World War II with you, a whispered reminder of the unfathomable destruction and incredible bravery that was seen on the streets of this great city. 

When I moved to London, the omnipresence of the war drove me to read as much about it as I could, trying to understand how it had shaped this place. It was when I picked up a book about the Gunner Girls and other British women who went into service, a seedling of a plot for The Light Over London began to grow. If you’ve never heard of the extraordinary women of Ack-Ack Command who manned the anti-aircraft guns defending London’s skies during World War II, it’s my privilege to introduce you to them.

Made up of the women from the Army’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the Gunner Girls were formed to fill out the ranks of the Royal Artillery’s anti-aircraft batteries stationed in Britain and across Europe.

By parliamentary decree, women were not allowed to load or fire the massive guns, but they did everything else. Each battery had a spotter who could identify German aircraft, as well as a team of women to operate the sophisticated instruments used to aim the weapon and set its fuse. These teams moved fast, executing a complex set of adjustments in a matter of seconds. 

Working primarily at night, the Gunner Girls formed a special bond held together by the incredible danger of their jobs to shoot down enemy aircrafts amid air raids. They were also united in their knowledge that they were doing something few women had ever done before—standing down the enemy right in the path of bullets and bombs. 

More than 350 Gunner Girls lost their lives during World War II, and their contribution and sacrifice when their country needed them most to win the war cannot be ignored. The Light Over London is my way of honoring the women of Ack-Ack Command and their incredible stories.

Julia Kelly

Goodreads Hardcover Giveaway

If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Light Over London yet, or you’re a digital reader who also wants a hardcover for their collection, you’re in luck! There’s a Goodreads giveaway for the book running until January 22nd.

All you have to do to enter is click on this link and keep your fingers crossed. This giveaway is open to US readers only, but keep an eye out for some international giveaways coming soon.

Good luck!

The Light Over London Is Here

A forgotten diary, a forbidden love affair, a desperate fight to save her country

2017 When Cara Hargreaves discovers a diary from the 1940s, its contents will change her life forever...

1941 When Louise Keene meets dashing RAF pilot, Paul Bolton, she is swept off her feet. Then Paul is sent to war and Louise, defying her mother's wishes, ends up a gunner girl in London.

Watching the pitch-black skies for bombers, Louise finds comfort recording her dreams in her diary. And as Cara reads her words, decades later, she learns that hope can be found even in the darkest of times, she just needs to take a chance...


After months of teasing, I'm now happy to say that The Light Over London is now available in stores. This is a romantic, heartbreaking historical novel about love, loyalty, and redemption.

If you're a US reader, this book is in your local bookstore and online in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook right now.

Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

If you're a UK reader, you'll have to wait just a little bit longer for a hardcover (February) but you can start reading the ebook today.

Amazon UK | Waterstones | WHSmith

You can share your thoughts about the book by using #TheLightOverLondon on social media or joining my Facebook Group just for readers!

The Women Who Defended Britain's Skies

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In researching my upcoming release, The Light Over London, I was continually amazed at the many—often unsung—ways women contributed to the war effort in Britain during World War II. The Lightseekers is an ongoing series of articles that highlights some of their work and the ways they brought light to Britain in one of its darkest times

In April 1941, a new kind of job opened up for the women of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army. In order to be taken on, they needed to show great aptitude as well as quick reflexes and a natural courage. They were tested, assessed, and those who made the cut became Gunner Girls.

Also called Ack Ack Girls, these ATS women were given the rank of gunner as they were now attached to the Royal Artillery (RA). They were part of mixed batteries—units with women and men—and they took over some of the vital roles previously performed by men in an effort to free those men up for other jobs.

In an Ack Ack unit, a spotter would work the powerful tool used to locate and identify enemy aircraft. Two women would operate the height and range finder that would gather the information to properly aim the gun. Then that information would be sent over to the predictor, which would calculate and account for both the forward movement of a plane and the time it would take a shell to reach it in order to damage or shoot down the plane. Once trained, the Gunner Girls could do this all in a matter of seconds.

Gunner Girls learning how to use an identification telescope on September 24, 1941. (Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

Gunner Girls learning how to use an identification telescope on September 24, 1941. (Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

One thing the Gunner Girls didn’t do, however, was pull the trigger on guns. When arguing for the inclusion of women in Ack Ack units, General Sir Frederick Pyle, Commander in Chief of Air Defense, agreed to the government demand that women would not fire the guns. This is because, even in the middle of a war, the government didn’t believe it was appropriate for “life givers to be life takers.”

By the time the first mixed battery units were trained up and dispatched to their first assignments, the London Blitz was over. However, the Luftwaffe still conducted bombing raids in the capital and across Britain throughout the war.

In their book The Girls Who Went to War, Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi, record the story of Jessie Ward, a Gunner Girl. After the war, Jessie remembered speaking to a woman in a fish and chips shop in Aberdeen who sounded as though she was from Hull. Jessie told her that she’d been stationed in Hull during the war as part of an Ack Ack unit, and the woman said, “Oh, you don’t know what they meant to use in the city. Whenever we heard the guns open up, it gave us a bit of hope to hold onto.”


My own family, the Kellys, would’ve been familiar with the 33rd (Western) Anti-Aircraft Battalion that defended Liverpool throughout the war. Liverpool, a major port, was one of the cities bombed at the same time as the London Blitz, and it also experienced its own sustained bombing that came to be known as the Liverpool Blitz. Ack Ack units from the 33rd were stationed around the city and its outskirts and in surrounding towns like Stockport, Birkenhead, and Boodle to try to protect the buildings and people of Liverpool.

My grandparents’ house was one of the 6,500 homes bombed during one of these raids on Liverpool, although fortunately no one in our family was hurt. Family lore has it that my Uncle Nick was actually born during an air raid in the middle of the Liverpool Blitz.

The last air raid of Liverpool happened place in January 1942.

There is now a memorial to the women of the Ack Ack Command in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Read every story of the The Lightseekers in the series archive. You can also learn more about their stories by following the hashtag #TheLightseekers on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

12 Days of Christmas Reads — Second Chance at the Log Fire Cabin by Catherine Ferguson

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Welcome to a bookish celebration of the Christmas season! For 12 days in December, I’m highlighting a book a day that puts the holiday season front and center of the narrative. You’ll find romances, women’s fiction, and even a cookbook! For day 12, I’m sharing one last romantic comedy.

When Roxy proposes to her boyfriend Jackson in a moment of madness on live TV, she’s mortified when he rejects her.

To escape the embarrassment, she takes a job working as baking assistant at the idyllic Log Fire Cabin. Roxy hopes the new job will take her mind off Jackson, because to her eternal annoyance, she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about him…

But when Jackson turns up at the cabin unexpectedly, things begin to go wrong. With a sprinkle of snow, the help of new friends and more than a couple of mince pies, can Roxy heal her heart in time for Christmas?

I’ve been craving Hallmark movies—nearly impossible to get legally in the UK—like crazy this December, so it’s only fitting that I round out the 12 Days of Christmas Reads with a rom com worthy of everyone’s favorite Christmas channel.

So here’s the deal. You’ve read elements of this book before, and that’s a good thing. Is Roxy too good for a guy she spends too much time pining after? Who hasn’t been there? Did I spend most of my time pointing at Alex and yelling, “HIM! PICK HIM!?” Yes. Was I here for it when those two crazy kids finally got together for their happily ever after? Absolutely.

There is comfort in knowing that there are certain beats these stories are going to hit. The parts that’s most interesting to me it watching genre authors fill in around the tropes with secondary characters you love, B-plots that pull you along, and quippy conversation between our hero and heroine. All in all, I was happy to sink into Second Chances at the Log Fire Cabin for a little bit and stay for the Christmas cheer, shameless baking porn, and hot Anglo-Australian guy.

This concludes the 12 Days of Christmas Reads. If you missed an installment, don’t worry! You can check out this handy landing page for all the recommendations in one place. Be sure to also sign up for my newsletter to never miss out on news and updates.

12 Days of Christmas Reads — A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

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Welcome to a bookish celebration of the Christmas season! For 12 days in December, I’m highlighting a book a day that puts the holiday season front and center of the narrative. You’ll find romances, women’s fiction, and even a cookbook! For day 11, I’m sharing a charming historical romance Christmas novella.


With one more errand to go--the purchase of a hunting falcon--Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister's impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it's his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer's vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?


Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She's going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she's going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes--it's not as though they'll see each other again after today.

...or will they? When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they'll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

Sometimes someone recommends a book to you so strongly that you avoid it because you don’t want to be disappointed when it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Or maybe that’s just me.

Well, Lindsay Emory, I owe you an apology. I thought A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong couldn’t live up to all of the glowy things you said about it. I was wrong.

This was my first Cecilia Grant novel (technically a very long novella) and it will not be my last. I found Grant’s writing so fresh, intelligent, and warm that I was completely won over. The hero and the center of this book is stuffy and proper to the extreme—not usually my cup of tea. However, the undoing of him by a heroine who is his perfect foil and who makes him an infinitely better man was delicious to watch. The book also features forced proximity and “we must pretend to be a married couple” which are two of my favorite romance tropes.

I don’t want to say much else and take away from the story, except to say that you should absolutely give this one a try.

Excuse me now, while I disappear for the rest of December to read the rest of Cecilia Grant’s back list.

Check back tomorrow for the next edition of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads. If you want to see all of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads recommendations in one place, you can check out this handy landing page or sign up for my newsletter.

12 Days of Christmas Reads — Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

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Welcome to a bookish celebration of the Christmas season! For 12 days in December, I’m highlighting a book a day that puts the holiday season front and center of the narrative. You’ll find romances, women’s fiction, and even a cookbook! For day 10, I’m sharing an English house party murder mystery.

Christmas time in an isolated country house and, following a flaming row in the kitchen, there’s murder inside.

When a much disliked visiting servant disappears without trace after playing Santa Claus, foul play is at once suspected – and foul play it proves to be. Only suspicion falls not on the staff but on the guests, all so unimpeachably respectable that the very thought of murder in connection with any of them seems almost heresy.

When Superintendent Roderick Alleyn returns unexpectedly from a trip to Australia, it is to find his beloved wife in the thick of an intriguing mystery…

Nothing says the holidays like a little murder. English house party murder, that is.

I grew in a household where British murder mysteries were in very heavy rotation on our TV and the shelves were backed with paperbacks. Crime shows and books are still a large part of my pop culture consumption, so it’s no surprise that I love nothing more than a good murder mystery to break up the sweetness of holiday stories.

This one has all of the things I could hope for in a classic Golden Age detective novel. A group of people who don’t necessarily all get along descend on an isolated country house that’s staffed—of course—by a bunch of reformed convicts. Then someone goes missing and the whole house is under suspicion. Conveniently, one of the house guests happens to be the wife of Superintendent Roderick Alleyn who is on the case.

Check back tomorrow for the next edition of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads. If you want to see all of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads recommendations in one place, you can check out this handy landing page or sign up for my newsletter.