It's almost Christmas in London in 1923. Daisy (Dalrymple) Fletcher's slightly snobbish mother has announced that the family will spend Christmas in Cornwall at Brockdene Manor, the ancestral home of Lord Westmoor, a distant relative. Daisy has been looking forward to visiting Brockdene for the article she is writing; however, she is distressed that her mother has forced the issue and fails to mention to her that Lord Westmoor no longer spends Christmas at the manor.

Occupied by the "poor relations" the Norvilles, the manor is a treasure-trove of ancient artifacts lovingly cared for by the servants while the occupants must fend for themselves. The impecunious family, headed by Godfrey, an historian obsessed with the artifacts, are a varied lot. Some welcome Daisy and her family, others seem resentful of them. No one seems to welcome into the midst an elderly clergyman in the company of Godfrey's seafaring brother. His mission is mysterious, but he manages to alienate everyone in the house.

When the murder occurs, having a policeman (Daisy's husband) on the premises proves to be a godsend. Daisy likes to meddle and gets involved in the investigation. Daisy and her family are amusing characters, if somewhat unrealistic. The book is easy to read and is something light for the fireside on a winter's day. (Dec., 260 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly