William F. Deeck

EDITH HOWIE – Murder for Christmas. Farrar & Rinehart, hardcover, 1941. No paperback edition.

   An alleged short cut during a blizzard in New York leads Marcia and Peter Holgate, the latter a private detective, to the house of Carter Dravis on Christmas Eve. Dravis is a collector — of wives — and has naturally gathered around him for the holiday family members and acquaintances who bode him no good. At least he’s sensible enough to be scared, but he isn’t scared long because someone inserts a knife in his back.

   Although Howie writes well, she unfortunately not only employs “Had I But Known” but “Had I But Given It Any Thought.” Marcia Holgate, the novel’s narrator, is a blurter, only bothering to think after she has said something dangerous either for herself or for someone else. Concealed evidence, for reasons that perplex me, and a blind eye by Peter Holgate allow the murderer a chance at Marcia, who carries an automatic she calls a revolver and who has never been shown what to do with the safety.

— Reprinted from MYSTERY READERS JOURNAL, Vol. 7, No. 3, Fall 1991, “Holiday Murders.”

Editorial Comment:   My review of Edith Howie’s first book, Murder for Tea, can be found here. Following the review is a complete list of all of the author’s mystery fiction, seven titles in all. For more about the author and another review of Murder for Christmas, her second book, check out what Curt Evans has to say over on his blog.