The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

I’m not quite sure why I’ve not read one Janice Hallett’s books yet. Her 2021 book, The Appeal won lots of awards, and then her follow-up The Twyford Code won more. She’s also since published The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels. And now comes, The Christmas Appeal hot on its heels.

This short book follows o from events from Hallett’s first book, as she revisits the Fairway Players, a local amateur-dramatic society who are soon to put on their version of Jack and the Beanstalk.

The book, which doesn’t require you to have read the previous title, is told via messages and emails between the various members of the society, who are quickly revealed to have all kinds of personal grievances, and are sometimes duplicitous, despite generally appearing as a friendly and outgoing group.

The writing is hilarious, and opening with one of those Christmas “round robins” that is truly awful.

I read this in a single sitting, and was laughing out loud the whole way through. The case at the centre of the book is, frankly, incidental to the small minded-ness of some of the correspondents we hear from. The pettiness of some of the characters, the social climbing, the bitterness and much else besides will have you laughing from ear to ear.

A fun Christmas read.