Bath Voice News – Book Review: ­Christmas isn’t Christmas without a murder – especially if it is in Bath – Jean G Goodhind’s whodunnit keeps the reader guessing in another Honey Driver mystery

Book Review: Jean G Goodhind’s novel Murder For Christmas

If you are going to murder someone then make sure they are dead – no half measures – as in the untimely demise of Clarence Scrimshaw in Jean G Goodhind’s novel Murder For Christmas. For the unfortunate publisher is poisoned and stabbed – and for good measure strangled. Well, you might as well make sure, if you set out to be a Yuletide murderer.

The novel is part of a series – the Honey Driver murder mysteries – featuring the eponymous hotelier and part-time sleuth who has the task of not only providing the hotel guests with a Christmas lunch but who seeks answers to the questions posed by Clarence’s demise. With a  ghostly sighting of a mysterious man on the night of the murder there are overtones of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol as the complex plot begins to make sense and we start to look for symbolic characters such as Scrooge – no spoilers – I think I spotted  him.

I spent much of the novel set in Bath also looking out for aspects of the city – harder to spot compared to the ITV detective series McDonald and Dodds – which has the advantage of the city as a constant backdrop. Our heroine goes shopping in Milsom Street, and as the crime liaison officer for the Bath Hotels Association she chases a suspected vandal past the Therma Bath Spa, and there are references to being locked in a cell in Manvers Street and of course in case you miss it – the cover has a rather wintery looking Bath Abbey adorning it.

It is a good read? Well yes – in a sort of comfort food sort of way – easy to read but with enough characters, depth and potential plot twists to keep you guessing. I don’t think the author would object to me saying it’s not a literary novel – but a cosy read with a glass of wine. And as a man of a certain age, I rather took to Honey Driver with her understated sexiness and obsession with hair and make-up. I quickly built up a picture of her as a dressy, still-got-it sort of woman who doesn’t rest until she’s cracked the crime – although I’ll say no more about the con man, the stingy company boss or the excessive amount of brandy poured over the Christmas pudding. And with around 300 or less days to Christmas little does Clarence Scrimshaw may not realise he’s months way to when he will meet his maker – and never get to open his presents.

Harry Mottram

There are a dozen other Honey Driver Murder Mysteries in the series – so if you enjoy a whodunnit set in Bath then they are available in paperback, audio or digital. Jean, the alter ego of writer Lizzie Lane, has lived in and around the Bath area for some time and was even a member of Bath Hotels and Restaurants Association. She now lives in West Wiltshire which I call East Bath.

Published by Joffe Books – check out the other titles at

Lizzie Lane has also published a series of novels based in Bristol during the 1940s and romance dramas under the pen name of Jean Moran. For more on the prolific writer visit

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