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The Christmas Appeal

A Novella


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About The Book

This immersive holiday caper from the “modern Agatha Christie” (The Sunday Times, London) follows the hilarious Fairway Players theater group as they put on a Christmas play—and solve a murder that threatens their production.

The Christmas season has arrived in Lower Lockwood, and the Fairway Players are busy rehearsing their festive holiday production of Jack and the Beanstalk to raise money for a new church roof. But despite the season, goodwill is distinctly lacking among the amateur theater enthusiasts with petty rivalries, a possibly asbestos-filled beanstalk, and some perennially absent players behind the scenes.

Of course, there’s also the matter of the dead body onstage. Who could possibly have had the victim on their naughty list? Join lawyers Femi and Charlotte as they investigate Christmas letters, examine emails, and pore over police transcripts to identify both the victim and killer before the curtain closes on their holiday production—for good.


To: Femi Hassan & Charlotte Holroyd
From: Roderick Tanner, KC
Date: November 1, 2023
Subject: A conundrum for you
Dear both,
I trust you are well.
While you establish yourselves in the field of criminal law, it doesn’t hurt to keep the wheels of deduction turning. I have another fascinating case to run past you. Why you? Well, it seems The Fairway Players are once again at the center of a mystery.
I’ve read the enclosed and think I’ve worked it out. I wonder if you can.
Here is a bundle of correspondence from the last few weeks of 2022, during rehearsals for the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Roderick Tanner, KC (retired)  

About The Author

Gaia Banks

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist, and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office, and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and cowrote the feature film Retreat. She lives in London and is the author of The ExaminerThe Mysterious Case of the Alperton AngelsThe AppealThe Christmas Appeal, and The Twyford Code.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (October 24, 2023)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668035887

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Raves and Reviews

"Janice Hallett’s latest witty, effervescent murder mystery brings us back to the world of the Fairway Players in all their dysfunctional glory...The humor is laugh out loud funny throughout this lively, fast-packed book."
—Criminal Element

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