Ryan’s Christmas by L.J. Ross

Ryan's Christmas (DCI Ryan Mysteries #15)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: DCI Ryan Mystery #15
Publication Date: 12/23/19
Period: Contemporary Northumberland
Number of Pages: 158

Brrr! DCI Ryan, DS Phillips, Dr. Anna Taylor (Ryan’s wife), and DI McKenzie (Phillips’ wife) have traveled to Edinburgh to enjoy a rare day off during the Christmas season. On their return, there is a huge snowstorm and they find the A1 highway is closed to through traffic and they must take a detour. With near-whiteout conditions, it is all but impossible to see and follow the detour signs. Just as the last drop of gas passes through the engine and the car comes to a complete stop, they find themselves at the gate to Chillingham Castle. Will they find shelter inside the castle? Is anyone even at the castle? It looks dark and empty.

Inside the castle, they find quite an odd mixture of guests and staff. The castle is old, drafty, and . . . haunted. One of the highlights of a stay at the castle is the ghost tours they offer, but sadly, due to the blizzard, the guests won’t get to partake this time. With the electricity iffy, no telephone service, and the possibility of the fuel running out, it might turn out to be a perilous stay indeed.

Everyone seems to be coping tolerably well – until a body is found outside. How did she die? What happened? There is only one set of footprints leading out to her body – and those are her own. Surely, she didn’t commit suicide by stabbing herself in the neck! Ryan and his crew definitely have their work cut out for them because there is no forensics crew, no uniformed officers, and no coroner – nobody is showing up to help. They can’t even let anybody know what has happened.

I certainly enjoyed this book as the writing is superb, the mystery is well-plotted, and the characters are exceptional. I listened to the audiobook version and thoroughly enjoyed the narrator’s voice and delivery. I’ll definitely listen again.

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