The Christmas Egg by Mary Kelly

The Christmas Egg by Mary Kelly was first published in 1958 but it was reprinted by British Library in 2019.

The setting is London and it begins just a few days before Christmas. Chief Inspector Nightingale and Sergeant Beddoes have been called to a poverty stricken flat in Islington. An elderly lady has died, she’s emaciated looking, and her ‘flat’ is really just one room. She didn’t even have  a proper bed to die in. It’s all very dirfferent from the life she was born into becaue she was a White Russian before the revolution and her name was Princess Olga Karukhin. She managed to escape from Russia with her son and a box full of goodies, jewels, porcelain, ikons, some Faberge, and she had hoarded them for years. But now she has been murdered and her box is empty.  It transpires that she had recently had her treasures appraised by a well-known firm of jewellers, it’s all a bit suspicious.

Olga’s grandson is a drunk. Ivan is well-known in the local pubs and to the police. He’s also apt to boast to everyone that he’s really a Russian prince and that he’s looking forward to getting his inheritance.

There’s a lot of action in this book and some likeable characters, it added up to an enjoyable read. There is of course an interesting Introduction by Martin Edwards.



Christmas reads

Throughout the year I’ve been collecting Christmas and winter themed books, with a view to reading them throughout December, in an attempt to get myself into a festive mood. Last year was fairly dismal, my own fault as I didn’t even bother to put up a tree.

Christmas/Winter Themed  Books

1. A Christmas Card by Paul Theroux

2. The Christmas Egg by Mary Kelly

3. Christmas Term at Vernley by Margaret Biggs

4. Murder in the Falling Snow – classic crime short stories (D. Sayers, G. Mitchell, R.A.Freeman, J. Symons, G.K. Chesterton. A.C Doyle, E. Wallace and others.)

5. A Country Christmas by Miss Read

6. Excitement at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent Dyer

Probable re-reads are:

7. Christmas at High Rising by Angela Thirkell

8. A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Stories for Winter and nights by the fire, for review. It’s a new one from the British Library Women Writers series.