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On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst. Thi On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst. This classic Christmas mystery is republished for the first time since the 1930s, with an introduction by the award-winning crime writer Martin Edwards.


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On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst. Thi On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst. This classic Christmas mystery is republished for the first time since the 1930s, with an introduction by the award-winning crime writer Martin Edwards.

30 review for Mystery in White

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ‘’The horrors on the train, great though as it may turn to be, will not compete with the horror that exists here, in this house.’’ It is Christmas Eve and several passengers have found themselves cooped up in a train, heading to their destinations, loaded with presents and dubious intentions. As the train proves to be no match for the greedy snowfall, the strange, newly-formed fellowship decides to venture out and find shelter away from the locomotive. A cosy, yet imposing, country house welc ‘’The horrors on the train, great though as it may turn to be, will not compete with the horror that exists here, in this house.’’ It is Christmas Eve and several passengers have found themselves cooped up in a train, heading to their destinations, loaded with presents and dubious intentions. As the train proves to be no match for the greedy snowfall, the strange, newly-formed fellowship decides to venture out and find shelter away from the locomotive. A cosy, yet imposing, country house welcomes them out of the blue. ‘’It’’ being literal because there is absolutely no one else to receive them. The fires are lit, tea is ready, the cupboards full of provisions. But not a single soul in sight. Only a portrait oozing authority. And a knife left in the kitchen… No one does the country-house mystery better than the British. Many try, all fail. This novel is a perfect example of festive mystery, intrigue and spookiness. J.Jefferson Farjeon created a strong plot, rich in all the little, tiny elements that form a highly satisfying mystery, seasoned with elegant and atmospheric references to premonitions and ghosts, faithful to the British tradition of the bond between the Festive and the Spooky. In my opinion, the story excels in atmosphere and characterization. As doors open and close, as the snow keeps on falling and the wind doesn’t stop howling, as death is looming, the passengers have to face the unexplained and unsolved, and the fragile dynamics that develop when the company is new and the nerves are being tested by the minute. An elderly scientist with a great passion for the paranormal, a young woman and her brother that form an exceptionally clever duo, a chorus girl sensitive to the calling of the house, a highly troubled secretary, a cockney scoundrel, a rude businessman. A good (and this one is so much more than ‘’good) doesn’t need a thousand twists to shine. An interesting cast, a strong plot and the proper background work wonders. Mystery In White is an exceptional example of the quintessential British Country House festive mystery and one more gift by the British Library to the readers who adore the Golden Age of crime stories. ‘’No, if a tiger eats you, it isn’t really his fault,’’ answered Lydia. ‘’God gave him his appetite.’’ My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    The golden age of mysteries, which included Nero Wolfe, Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christies. All authors I have read though not for many years. This author was apparently a very successful member of that group, but I had never heard of nor read him before. This book was re-released recently and I was captivated by the cover and the title. I forgot how fun these books are, the days before CSI, no forensics, DNA, computer data bases. Just plain, good old detecting, using the evidence in front of y The golden age of mysteries, which included Nero Wolfe, Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christies. All authors I have read though not for many years. This author was apparently a very successful member of that group, but I had never heard of nor read him before. This book was re-released recently and I was captivated by the cover and the title. I forgot how fun these books are, the days before CSI, no forensics, DNA, computer data bases. Just plain, good old detecting, using the evidence in front of you, thinking things through. A train stuck in the impossible snow, snow that won't let up, strangers together deciding to try to walk to the next station, finding a deserted house, fire laid tea ready to be served, but the house is empty. Another stranger arrives, who is he? What happened to the people in the house? A very ominous scenario. Yes, at times the dialogue is a little corny, and some of the happenings a bit predictable but still so much fun and I just loved this trip to the past.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    The Hook - Last December I participated in an Elfster Holiday Swap with some book loving friends. Imagine my delight when I received two British Classic Christmas Crime Mysteries from across the seas from a Tracey in the UK. I saved both for this Christmas season and just finished the first. The Line - ”Miss Noyes”, replied Lydia, “suppose this house belonged to you, and you returned to it after the world’s worst snowstorm, would you rather find your larder empty or seven skeletons? The Sinker - The Hook - Last December I participated in an Elfster Holiday Swap with some book loving friends. Imagine my delight when I received two British Classic Christmas Crime Mysteries from across the seas from a Tracey in the UK. I saved both for this Christmas season and just finished the first. The Line - ”Miss Noyes”, replied Lydia, “suppose this house belonged to you, and you returned to it after the world’s worst snowstorm, would you rather find your larder empty or seven skeletons? The Sinker - The introduction to this classic calls Murder in White and enticing set-up, if superficially familiar. What’s enticing is the of The British Library to publish new editions of the series for contemporary enjoyment. ”A strange assortment of passengers traveling by train during a blizzard find themselves caught in an acute dilemma when the track becomes impassable.” When the porter has no idea when the tracks might be cleared, a group of passengers afraid their Christmas plans will be ruined, set out in hopes of making a connection at the Hemmersby Station, not too far distant. All too soon they realize the blinding storm has obliterated any possibility of finding the station. They wonder if they’ve made a rash decision, one that may lead to their demise miraculously when they come upon a house, ring the bell and when receiving no answer find the door unlocked, no one home but a fire is burning. How lucky for them, or was it? As explained in the intro, this is not a whodunit set on a train, nor is it a take-off on Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express as this was written three years prior. J. Jefferson Farjeon does provide a subtly humorous, well-plotted, if not strictly cozy, puzzle for us to solve. It’s almost a locked room mystery of which I’m a great fan. An intriguing read for the holiday season. Now on to Silent Nights.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    3.5 stars for Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon, the second book I have read by this author. On Christmas Eve a snowstorm rages. A group of disoriented travellers who, somewhat unwisely, have abandoned their stranded train, have stumbled upon a deserted house. But a deserted house where a bread knife lays on the floor, the kettle is boiling, the fires are lit and tea is laid. I really enjoyed most of this book. It was not until we got to the final chapters that it all began to wear a little 3.5 stars for Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon, the second book I have read by this author. On Christmas Eve a snowstorm rages. A group of disoriented travellers who, somewhat unwisely, have abandoned their stranded train, have stumbled upon a deserted house. But a deserted house where a bread knife lays on the floor, the kettle is boiling, the fires are lit and tea is laid. I really enjoyed most of this book. It was not until we got to the final chapters that it all began to wear a little thin. There was one part of several pages I had to re-read several times to get it all straight in my mind and, to my mind, the ending was very messy and unsatisfying. Disappointing, because until then it was a fun read. I was thinking, as I read, what a wonderful movie this would make, casting a young Joanna Lumley as Laura, produced by the BBC or whosoever makes the Agatha Christie series. And perhaps it would make a wonderful movie. The ending might come across better on screen than it did in print. Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing a review copy of Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Once again I'm pleased to have read a re-release of a late 1930s classic mystery, Mystery in White, that combines elements of many other classics (many that had not yet been written!). There is the journey of a disparate group on Christmas Eve; the train stuck in the storm on the tracks; some passengers who decide to strike out for a nearby rail station despite the storm. And then the deserted, yet welcoming, country house. Are there ghosts or are there humans to beware of. Many questions and a Once again I'm pleased to have read a re-release of a late 1930s classic mystery, Mystery in White, that combines elements of many other classics (many that had not yet been written!). There is the journey of a disparate group on Christmas Eve; the train stuck in the storm on the tracks; some passengers who decide to strike out for a nearby rail station despite the storm. And then the deserted, yet welcoming, country house. Are there ghosts or are there humans to beware of. Many questions and a ferocious storm that just keeps on and on. The characters are the older psychic on his way to hopefully experience Charles I, a brother and sister going home for the holiday, a young man to visit his aunt, a young actress hoping for a new part, and a couple more characters less well defined. This book was just what I wanted on a dreary, rainy day, with its interesting setting, curious plot and characters that were out of British central casting. There were no huge surprises here---I have been reading mysteries most of my life---but the presentation was fun, there was just the right amount of suspense. Recommended for mystery and classic mystery lovers. Hard-boiled mystery readers will probably want to look elsewhere. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This Golden Age mystery was first published in 1937. It is Christmas Eve and a group of people are stranded on a train after heavy snow. There are a good cast of characters, including an elderly bore, a psychic, a brother and sister, a young office clerk and a chorus girl travelling to an audition. The psychic, Edward Maltby, decides to leave the train and attempt to find another station and he is soon followed by others from his train carriage. Indeed, eventually the travellers find themselves This Golden Age mystery was first published in 1937. It is Christmas Eve and a group of people are stranded on a train after heavy snow. There are a good cast of characters, including an elderly bore, a psychic, a brother and sister, a young office clerk and a chorus girl travelling to an audition. The psychic, Edward Maltby, decides to leave the train and attempt to find another station and he is soon followed by others from his train carriage. Indeed, eventually the travellers find themselves reunited in a house they stumble across in the snow. Although the house appears to be empty, the stranded group find, to their surprise, that fires are burning in the grates, a kettle sits on the stove and tea is laid out – but who for? This is really a very enjoyable mystery novel, with mysterious strangers turning up, locked rooms, murder, spooky happenings and even a little romance and humour mixed in. The house, standing as though waiting for the travellers, feels slightly sinister. Cut off in the snow, with no way of making contact with anyone, the group have to make the best of things – while feeling more than a little uncomfortable about making themselves at home. The Christmas setting, feeling of isolation and the circumstances the characters find themselves in all add to a good atmosphere; while the plot twists and turns and the pace does not lessen. Good fun and an atmospheric murder mystery to curl up with on a winters evening.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Connie G

    "Mystery in White" is a Golden Age mystery set during a heavy snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Passengers are on their way to holiday gatherings on a train traveling from London to the countryside. When the train gets stuck in the huge snowdrifts on the tracks, some of the passengers decide to walk to the next station. For a while it looks like they might get lost in the white-out, but they come upon a deserted house. It's a strange situation with the door unlocked, fires burning in the fireplaces, t "Mystery in White" is a Golden Age mystery set during a heavy snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Passengers are on their way to holiday gatherings on a train traveling from London to the countryside. When the train gets stuck in the huge snowdrifts on the tracks, some of the passengers decide to walk to the next station. For a while it looks like they might get lost in the white-out, but they come upon a deserted house. It's a strange situation with the door unlocked, fires burning in the fireplaces, the kettle boiling, and the table set for tea--but no one is home. Things look ominous as a suspicious stranger arrives, and noises come from a locked room. They also wonder if a psychic passenger is communicating with the dead. It was fun to settle down with this atmospheric 1937 mystery and a cup of tea during a snowfall in New England yesterday. Fans of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers will probably enjoy this classic mystery which was re-released as a British Library Crime Classic in 2014.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Captivated by Thirteen Guests (1936), I wasted no time downloading the only other J. Jefferson Farjeon novel I could find in the Kindle format: Mystery in White, first published the following year. This novel proved even better than the first — and that’s saying something! Dorothy L. Sayers called Farjeon “unsurpassed for creepy skill in mysterious adventures,” and he certainly proves it in Mystery in White! Led by the intrepid and perspicacious Edward Maltby, 60 years old and a proud member of t Captivated by Thirteen Guests (1936), I wasted no time downloading the only other J. Jefferson Farjeon novel I could find in the Kindle format: Mystery in White, first published the following year. This novel proved even better than the first — and that’s saying something! Dorothy L. Sayers called Farjeon “unsurpassed for creepy skill in mysterious adventures,” and he certainly proves it in Mystery in White! Led by the intrepid and perspicacious Edward Maltby, 60 years old and a proud member of the Royal Psychical Society, a motley crew escaping from a snowed-in train take refuge in an abandoned house. With fires laid in every room, a dining room set for tea, and a kettle on the boil for tea, where has the house’s inhabitant(s) gone? While Maltby and the four young people are clearly on the up and up, who is the mysterious Cockney who calls himself “Mr. Smith” and who has also taken refuge in the house? Does Mr. Smith know more than he’s telling about the missing householders? The sharp-eyed Maltby sees and reveals other irregularities, as well, gradually making the other characters — and the reader — more and more uneasy. With the characters trapped in the cottage by the continuing blizzard, the suspense rises to the breaking point, and Farjeon provides so many twists and turns! How can it be that Joseph Jefferson Farjeon is not better known? How could his books, once justly popular, have fallen into oblivion? Farjeon, while perhaps not up to Dame Agatha Christie’s standard or that of Gladys Mitchell, can hold his own with Patricia Wentworth (also too much neglected), Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, John Bude, Anthony Berkeley, and Miss Sayers herself. British Library’s Poisoned Pen Press has been steadily bringing back Golden Age mystery novels, including two, thus far, by J. (Joseph Jefferson) Farjeon. (Thirteen Guests, which I read before publication, is due out on September 1.) Please, please! You cannot re-release Farjeon’s novels fast enough to suit me!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Bigglesworth

    This was great! Fast paced read of Noir style. For me, as good as the Orient Express. This is a great cosy Christmas read. People who review on Goodreads have often read so much that nothing is original to them, and they are hard to please. Is that fair to say? Anyhow, if you are looking for social political commentary that will blow your mind and change your life look elsewhere. If you just want a damn good read pick this up!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    English Mysteries Club, February Group Read. This was unexpectedly entertaining! Strangers on a train whose journey is halted by snow - a familiar scene this week! - decide to try to walk to the next station only to get lost and end up in a deserted country house. Most of the action thereafter is described in conversation rather than as it takes place but still the momentum is kept up and the mystery becomes more mysterious. I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to whoever suggested it as th English Mysteries Club, February Group Read. This was unexpectedly entertaining! Strangers on a train whose journey is halted by snow - a familiar scene this week! - decide to try to walk to the next station only to get lost and end up in a deserted country house. Most of the action thereafter is described in conversation rather than as it takes place but still the momentum is kept up and the mystery becomes more mysterious. I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to whoever suggested it as the February read. One thing I do often wonder about when reading these novels is the perception of age. The ‘old men’ in this novel are 57 and 60 years old. Heaven help us! It was interesting to learn more about the Farjeon family. In particular, the discovery that his sister was Eleanor Farjeon, whose poetry I remember from childhood and who wrote the words to Morning Has Broken, brought back warm and fuzzy memories.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    I loved this book, maybe it's just the right time of the year to read a snowbound mystery at Christmas but it was great! A bit of gothic, a bit of supernatural and a real entertaining read-I'm thinking it would make a wonderful movie in light of the Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express remake. I loved this book, maybe it's just the right time of the year to read a snowbound mystery at Christmas but it was great! A bit of gothic, a bit of supernatural and a real entertaining read-I'm thinking it would make a wonderful movie in light of the Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express remake.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bobby Underwood

    I'm going to mark this one as finished because I'm not finishing it. I read a lot of 30s and 40s books, so it wasn't the style so much as the execution. I know some love this book but it was just boring to me. It had the potential to be one of those fun when you're in the mood for it kind of books, but became harder and harder to ever get in that mood, because I didn't care about any of these people and the constant verbal interaction between the characters I couldn't warm to made it rough going I'm going to mark this one as finished because I'm not finishing it. I read a lot of 30s and 40s books, so it wasn't the style so much as the execution. I know some love this book but it was just boring to me. It had the potential to be one of those fun when you're in the mood for it kind of books, but became harder and harder to ever get in that mood, because I didn't care about any of these people and the constant verbal interaction between the characters I couldn't warm to made it rough going. I've picked up the Thirteenth Guest by Farjeon which is a more traditional story and style, so hopefully I'll like that one better when I get to it. This one is a dud for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sketchbook

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Here's a mystery you want to put down. It's so mindlessly banal that it's perfect for air-train travel. It requires no concentration; it's just a way to pass the time, uh-huh, til you get there. Published in 1937, this story of an oddball group snowbound in a country house at Christmas has been getting some Cheerio Rediscovered write-ups in the UK press. It should have been left in mothballs -- or snowballs. The characters are bland, and the plot turns on long-lost rels and an altered Will. Aga Here's a mystery you want to put down. It's so mindlessly banal that it's perfect for air-train travel. It requires no concentration; it's just a way to pass the time, uh-huh, til you get there. Published in 1937, this story of an oddball group snowbound in a country house at Christmas has been getting some Cheerio Rediscovered write-ups in the UK press. It should have been left in mothballs -- or snowballs. The characters are bland, and the plot turns on long-lost rels and an altered Will. Agatha Christie often used similar elements, but there is nobody like the whodunit Dame. I guess within the genre it's called a "cosy." On a holiday r/t NY-DC it offered distraction from the miserable countryside flying past Amtrak windows. But not much. Gesundheit !

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

    The highly successful reissue of this book in 2014 by the British Library initiated not just a series of classic-era crime reissues by the BL but a revival of interest in classic crime novels in general. It's Christmas Eve, and a train gets stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere. Some of the passengers attempt to walk to the nearest station, get lost, and find themselves at a house where the fires are lit in the grates, the kettle's boiling on the stove, the table has been set for tea . . . b The highly successful reissue of this book in 2014 by the British Library initiated not just a series of classic-era crime reissues by the BL but a revival of interest in classic crime novels in general. It's Christmas Eve, and a train gets stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere. Some of the passengers attempt to walk to the nearest station, get lost, and find themselves at a house where the fires are lit in the grates, the kettle's boiling on the stove, the table has been set for tea . . . but the residents are nowhere to be seen. At first nervously, the group takes up occupancy, led by the fashionable young things David and Lydia, who're brother and sister, and the psychic researcher Maltby, who's aged 60 but is throughout described as "the old man." (Harrumph!) There's a murdered corpse out in the snow and another, we discover, on the train the group left behind them, but the biggest mystery, obviously, is how come the house has been, Mary Celeste-like, so suddenly abandoned. It's a tremendous premise, and as soon as I picked the book up I remembered having read it before, I think in the mid-1980s. I also remembered, alas, that despite its cracking start the book had eventually seemed to go on for far longer than it should. I had exactly the same experience on this new reading. What I'd forgotten were the awful snobbery -- you can tell one of the characters is a baddy because he's "common," and there are a few other remarks about the ghastliness of "common" people -- and a major plot flaw. The latter concerns an extended expedition that David makes out into the wintry waste. He follows footprints through the snow, sees this, that and the other, and encounters two important characters, a father and daughter, whom he leads back to the house by following his own trail. This is all very impressive, despite the occasional fall into a ditch. It's even more impressive when we consider that it's about 11pm on Christmas Eve, David doesn't have a flashlight, there are no street lights, and of course there can't be any moonlight because in a steady blizzard there's total cloud cover. So David was operating in pitch darkness. How the hell did he see any of the things we're told he saw? The novel's quite fun in its way, but the denouement is far too complex and confused (I sort of lost count of the number of murderers), and irritatingly there's a coyly roguish suggestion that Maltby's psychic abilities may have played their part in the unraveling. Overall, despite the super premise, the novel seemed to me, when finally I came to the end of it, to have more minuses than pluses. It's a very interesting curio, but I'm not exactly rampant to read more by Farjeon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    What better to settle down with as Christmas approaches than a crime story set over the two days of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That is what J Jefferson Farjeon provides us with and the word 'Mystery' in the title is the operative word. The reason for this is that oft times when the goings on in the plot are very much a mystery to the reader! A train is stranded in snow and for some inexplicable reason a group of passengers decided to embark and try to walk to a nearby station to see if ther What better to settle down with as Christmas approaches than a crime story set over the two days of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That is what J Jefferson Farjeon provides us with and the word 'Mystery' in the title is the operative word. The reason for this is that oft times when the goings on in the plot are very much a mystery to the reader! A train is stranded in snow and for some inexplicable reason a group of passengers decided to embark and try to walk to a nearby station to see if there is any train movement there. However, the snowfall is so heavy that they lose their way until they come across a house in the country that has its lights burning. Knocks at the door bring no reply so the door is tried and is found to be open. Inside the fire is ablaze, the table is laid for tea but, strangely, there is nobody home. Various reasons are put forward for this but no definite solution can be formed. The uninvited guests decided to make themselves at home and discussions take place as to what happened on the train as one of the passengers explains that he saw a body in an adjacent carriage. Tensions rise, hypotheses are put forward but again nothing definite is known or decided. And there is a mysterious portrait that appears to be keeping an eye on all those present from its prominent position at the head of the stairs. Attempts are made at trying to find a path out of the snowbound haven but these fail but on one of the excursions a lady and her father are discovered, having crashed their car into a ditch. They return to the house and join the others and discussions take place that deepen the mystery. So much so that at one point two of the ladies have a discussion that goes, 'All right. My ghost meets your ghost. Then what happens?' To which the reply is, 'A lot of little ghosts. Oh. my goodness. I'm going dippy.' And it is quite possible that some readers may find themselves feeling rather similar! Unexplained deaths are then discovered and eventually, when other uninvited guests find their way to the house, a story begins to unfold and, providing one can keep all the threads together, an explanation, and solution, to the mystery, appropriately late on Christmas Day, is finally is reached. As one of the protagonists states at the end, 'Well, anyhow, we've been through hell, and it was Christmas, so if one or two of us did get a bit funny, well, who could blame anyone?' For funny, one could quite readily substitute 'confused'! The Christmas setting is superb and one does get the feel for a snowbound house party and the storyline is passable, providing, of course, that one can keep it all together!

  16. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    THE first thing David did on emerging from the front door was to pitch head first into a mound of snow. For a moment or two he nearly suffocated, while countless soft, icy pellets invaded his back as though he were being bombarded by silent salvos from heaven. Then he scrambled out, and strained ears choked with snow for a repetition of the shout. Already he had lost his sense of direction, for all he could see was a bewildering succession of snowflake close-ups, almost blinding vision. During t THE first thing David did on emerging from the front door was to pitch head first into a mound of snow. For a moment or two he nearly suffocated, while countless soft, icy pellets invaded his back as though he were being bombarded by silent salvos from heaven. Then he scrambled out, and strained ears choked with snow for a repetition of the shout. Already he had lost his sense of direction, for all he could see was a bewildering succession of snowflake close-ups, almost blinding vision. During the forty-five minutes he had been in the house the weather had travelled from bad to worse. Snow rushed at him unbelievably from nowhere caking him with white. He would have retreated promptly saving for the knowledge that somewhere in this whirling maelstrom was a man in a worse plight; but how to find the man, if his despairing cry was not repeated, seemed a stark impossibility. Alright, this was a fun book. Despite the excellent, yet misleading, cover, this story does not take place on a train but is essentially a country house mystery. Our protagonists are a group of strangers who share a compartment on a train and get stuck in a snowstorm just days before Christmas. As they all dislike being stranded, they set out to try and walk to the next station - which may or may not have a connections that are still running. But... they never get there. The weather conditions worsen and they need to turn in to a nearby house for shelter. They enter looking for its occupants, but no one is there even though the fires are laid on, the tea set is laid out, and the kettle is boiling. What a great start to a Christmas mystery! The characters were really cute, too. We have a couple of young women, one of the women's brother, a young clerk suffering from some sort of anxiety disorder, a guy who is a known psychic, and an older chap who is described as "the old bore". We also get to meet a man suffering from shell shock. I loved the characters. You'd think they were all straight out of the catalogue of British country house mysteries, but each one had a little bit more to them - I especially liked that the author included characters who were going through some mental distress. It is still not that often that I have come across depictions of characters suffering from shell shock in the original 1920s/30s mysteries. They are not really part of Christie's setup and it took me to discover Sayers and Tey to find a representation. The mystery itself is convoluted and the solution is contrived - the psychic gets involved a lot, and at one point I flashbacks to The Haunting of Hill House - but there is also something gripping about the part of the mystery, which really takes quite a gritty turn. Almost as good as Death of an Airman, and the book made me laugh a lot. But first things first. Is anybody getting hungry? Come along, staff. Step on it. We mustn’t keep the family waiting for dinner. I may not be honest and sober, but I am punctual!” Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Smith glanced at each other, then followed the girl obediently into the kitchen.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yibbie

    This book aggravated me. So, there will probably be some sort of spoilers in this review. Be warned. I chose to read this book over the holidays because it promised to be a nice vintage Christmas mystery. It sounded fun. Then almost from the first page it hinted at a ghostly overtone but pulled back from a bit. Okay, so at least one person was going to be seeing ghosts everywhere. Not my favorite plot device, but okay. Then slowly, slowly the supernatural plot hinted at took over the whole stor This book aggravated me. So, there will probably be some sort of spoilers in this review. Be warned. I chose to read this book over the holidays because it promised to be a nice vintage Christmas mystery. It sounded fun. Then almost from the first page it hinted at a ghostly overtone but pulled back from a bit. Okay, so at least one person was going to be seeing ghosts everywhere. Not my favorite plot device, but okay. Then slowly, slowly the supernatural plot hinted at took over the whole story. It became nothing more than a Christmas ghost story. The author takes the time to chronicle just about every character's journey from skeptic to ardent believer in ghosts. I, personally found that extremely aggravating and unnecessary. The mystery would have been just fine without all that added in. Then after the dramatic ghostly climax, the author suddenly pulls away from the ghostly explanation altogether and dumps us back on a perfectly explainable mystery. It was just too little too late and felt as if the author couldn’t make up his mind what genre he wanted to be writing. It was just irritating. But if you like a book that is marked one way, builds up to an entirely different conclusion, and then changes the conclusion after it’s solved, this is the book for you. I didn’t like it. Content… There were quite a number of ‘mild’ curse words throughout the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jaina

    It's got such a strong start! There's a chorus girl who's constantly declaring herself "a bit psychic", and an old man obsessed with the ghost of King Charles the First! A blizzard strikes! An eerie fairy tale house full of Christmas food and no hosts! Murder most foul! But... the writing makes it difficult to keep track of who's talking, and so many random people drift in and out of the crime that it's hard to care who did what and why. I liked enough of it to try the author again, and it's tota It's got such a strong start! There's a chorus girl who's constantly declaring herself "a bit psychic", and an old man obsessed with the ghost of King Charles the First! A blizzard strikes! An eerie fairy tale house full of Christmas food and no hosts! Murder most foul! But... the writing makes it difficult to keep track of who's talking, and so many random people drift in and out of the crime that it's hard to care who did what and why. I liked enough of it to try the author again, and it's totally passable overall, but once it loses that initial burst of fun, it never gets it back.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christine PNW

    This has little in common with Murder on the Orient Express, aside from the whole train in winter thing. This is my second British Library Crime Classic by J. Jefferson Farjeon. I previously read Thirteen Guests, which was a traditional English Country House murder. I preferred Mystery in White to that one, but I have yet to find one of these BLCC mysteries that comes close to a Christie or a Sayers. I suppose that is, in part, why they are long out of print and need to be "rediscovered." However, This has little in common with Murder on the Orient Express, aside from the whole train in winter thing. This is my second British Library Crime Classic by J. Jefferson Farjeon. I previously read Thirteen Guests, which was a traditional English Country House murder. I preferred Mystery in White to that one, but I have yet to find one of these BLCC mysteries that comes close to a Christie or a Sayers. I suppose that is, in part, why they are long out of print and need to be "rediscovered." However, as a second tier Golden Age mystery, this was quite enjoyable. And I find myself in the midst of a serious vintage phase right now, so I'm sure I will read more of these.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Mystery in White (1937) by J. Jefferson Farjeon finds a train full of people stuck in an unexpectedly heavy winter storm as they are on their way to various Christmas destinations.. It's a situation very familiar to fans of the Golden Age mystery story. But Farjeon gives the scenario a deft twist from that of Christie's Orient Express. Instead of keeping everyone snugly in place on the trapped train, he sends them out into the wintry whiteness. After they've been stuck for what seems an eternity Mystery in White (1937) by J. Jefferson Farjeon finds a train full of people stuck in an unexpectedly heavy winter storm as they are on their way to various Christmas destinations.. It's a situation very familiar to fans of the Golden Age mystery story. But Farjeon gives the scenario a deft twist from that of Christie's Orient Express. Instead of keeping everyone snugly in place on the trapped train, he sends them out into the wintry whiteness. After they've been stuck for what seems an eternity, the passengers—David Carrington and his sister, Lydia; clerk Robert Thomson; chorus girl Jessie Noyes; Edward Maltby, of the Royal Psychical Society; and an old bore named Hopkins —all decide to leave their carriage in search of another (hopefully snow-free) train at the nearby the Hemmersby station. But the weather is worse than expected and they become hopelessly lost in the swirling white landscape. When Jessie twists her ankle on a particularly tricky bit of ground, the adventurers are lucky enough to find a house where they can ask for refuge. Except no one's at home. The door is unlocked and, desperate for shelter, they go on in and find an unusual sight--there are fires blazing in the fireplaces, the table is set for tea, and the kettle is on the boil. No one in their right mind would get tea all ready only to leave the house in the middle of a snow storm. So where is their host? That's not the only question facing the stranded travelers. Why is there a knife in the middle of the floor? Who killed the man on the train? {What man, you say? Hold on...} And who is "Smith," the little Cockney who suddenly appeared at the door as well? He says that he wasn't on the train--so where did he come from? Back to the man on the train. Hopkins was the last to leave the compartment. He had fully expected to remain on the train, unlike the "lunatics" (as he referred to his fellow passengers). That was before he noticed one of the train's guards staring into the next compartment....at a dead man. While the guard and other passengers all stood around gaping at the body, Hopkins decided to try and get to Hemmersby and find a policeman. Or so he said. Then Maltby reveals that he tripped over another dead body as he was making his way to Valley House (as their shelter is known). Maltby and David Carrington take the lead in investigating the mysterious happenings--both those that occurred on the train they left behind and those that involve the house. Fortunately, they are able to unravel it all and bring about a conclusion that is satisfactory to almost everybody...except the killer, of course. Farjeon loads his mysterious Christmas tale with all sorts of unlikely things--from psychic tremors that tell of past misdeeds in the house to unlikely connections among the cast to the police's ability to swallow the tale that Maltby ultimately spins them (to protect the innocent--you know). But--the tale is such great fun and is such a wild bobsled of a ride through Farjeon's winter wonderland that one can suspend one's disbelief in psychic happenings. And the psychic episodes are brief enough that they don't detract from the mystery. A thoroughly enjoyable romp through the 1930s countryside. Added bonus: the spiffy introduction by Martin Edwards. So glad he and The British Library are bringing these forgotten vintage mysteries back to us. First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Stranded on a train in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, a group of passengers decide to walk to the shelter of a nearby station, but stumble instead upon an unlocked house in which they find blazing fires, a table set for tea and a well stocked larder.....but no inhabitants. There is plenty of mystery here, lots of melodrama and atmosphere, and a diverse cast of characters....throw in a sprinkling of the supernatural, and you have an entertaining, seasonal whodunnit, which is nicely old fashioned. I Stranded on a train in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, a group of passengers decide to walk to the shelter of a nearby station, but stumble instead upon an unlocked house in which they find blazing fires, a table set for tea and a well stocked larder.....but no inhabitants. There is plenty of mystery here, lots of melodrama and atmosphere, and a diverse cast of characters....throw in a sprinkling of the supernatural, and you have an entertaining, seasonal whodunnit, which is nicely old fashioned. I enjoyed trying to work out what was going on in a plot with a few good twists that kept me guessin.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cphe

    A solid murder mystery. A group of stranded train travellers find shelter in an abandoned house during a bitter snow storm. Plenty of twists and turns with a decided paranormal slant. The second book I've read by the author and much preferred this to the Thirteen Guests. Enjoyed the setting, period and characters on offer. A solid murder mystery. A group of stranded train travellers find shelter in an abandoned house during a bitter snow storm. Plenty of twists and turns with a decided paranormal slant. The second book I've read by the author and much preferred this to the Thirteen Guests. Enjoyed the setting, period and characters on offer.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    This book is an excellent example of what it is - an old fashioned, well written 'whodunnit' with a wintry/Christmas theme. It's exactly what I was looking for! This book is an excellent example of what it is - an old fashioned, well written 'whodunnit' with a wintry/Christmas theme. It's exactly what I was looking for!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I usually really enjoy a classical detective story such as this one without any DNA, internet, video,...aspects but in this case there was no point at which I was really interested in the story or the characters. Everything felt too planned and the solution to all the murders was the most banal one with unrealistic motives. Still an easy read and festive audio book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    A different spin to the 'manor house murder' subgenre. The few paranormal aspects to this were just the right amount to lend a certain spookiness to the story while not stretching my credulity too far. A different spin to the 'manor house murder' subgenre. The few paranormal aspects to this were just the right amount to lend a certain spookiness to the story while not stretching my credulity too far.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    This was a pretty good read. A little slow moving as can happen in this genre. I did enjoy the range of characters. Once the action picked up a bit it moved very quickly and before you knew it...well it was 2 am on Christmas. I would strongly suggest this for a Christmas Eve read by the fire!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    Suspenseful and spooky, but not the mystery I expected. The train only plays a minor part.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This classic mystery has been reissued and is all over Waterstone's this season. The cover alone is reason to buy the book, very stylishly evocative of the 1930s. The story keeps the promise of the cover -- a cozy, though faintly menacing, mystery involving a group of people who abandon their carriage on a snowbound train and strike out through a blizzard, hoping to get to a nearby station. Instead, they gratefully stumble on a country manor, where they find fires blazing in hearths, a meal laid This classic mystery has been reissued and is all over Waterstone's this season. The cover alone is reason to buy the book, very stylishly evocative of the 1930s. The story keeps the promise of the cover -- a cozy, though faintly menacing, mystery involving a group of people who abandon their carriage on a snowbound train and strike out through a blizzard, hoping to get to a nearby station. Instead, they gratefully stumble on a country manor, where they find fires blazing in hearths, a meal laid in the dining room, but no people. There's some hint of the supernatural, there's a dead body in the snow, there's a knife on the kitchen floor... I thoroughly enjoyed the story, deftly woven and satisfying. Yes, it's a bit dated, but all the more charming for that. It's the perfect book to read by the fire on a grey afternoon.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I liked this cosy murder mystery set in a snow storm on Christmas Eve in 1930's England. I enjoyed this on audio; sometimes I laughed out loud (I'm not sure this was intended by the author!) at the overly dramatic conversation and reactions enhanced by the narration. You probably wouldn't be able to solve the murder from the beginning as you are drip-fed facts and happenings to suit but I didn't mind that at all. There were a few eye-rolling moments but in a good-humoured way. It's a bit of fun and I liked this cosy murder mystery set in a snow storm on Christmas Eve in 1930's England. I enjoyed this on audio; sometimes I laughed out loud (I'm not sure this was intended by the author!) at the overly dramatic conversation and reactions enhanced by the narration. You probably wouldn't be able to solve the murder from the beginning as you are drip-fed facts and happenings to suit but I didn't mind that at all. There were a few eye-rolling moments but in a good-humoured way. It's a bit of fun and a well narrated audio if you fancy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alix

    Not as good as I expected. First of all, I assumed it was a whodunit, and it's not. The nature of the mystery only becomes clear very late into the book, and by then I was quite frustrated. I'd say it's more like a campfire mystery, with mostly unpleasant characters telling the tale. The setting was original enough, but other than that, it's not a very good crime novel. Not as good as I expected. First of all, I assumed it was a whodunit, and it's not. The nature of the mystery only becomes clear very late into the book, and by then I was quite frustrated. I'd say it's more like a campfire mystery, with mostly unpleasant characters telling the tale. The setting was original enough, but other than that, it's not a very good crime novel.

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