C.S. Challinor was raised and educated in Scotland (St. George's School for Girls, Edinburgh) and England (Lewes Priory, Sussex; University of Kent, Canterbury: Joint Hons Latin & French; University of Surrey: minor in psychology). She also holds a diploma in Russian from the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. She now lives in Southwest Florida. Challinor is a member of the Authors Guild and writes the critically acclaimed Rex Graves cozy mystery series published by Midnight Ink, featuring Rex Graves, a Scottish barrister and amateur sleuth.
CHRISTMAS IS MURDER, the first in the Rex Graves Mystery series, reached #1 on the Kindle Bestseller List. This title is also available in large print hardcover through Thorndike Reviewer's Choice. The fifth in the series, MURDER OF THE BRIDE, was a Mystery Guild Book Club pick (hardcover) and a Top Five Books of 2011 Selection by Crime Fiction Lover. UPSTAGED BY MURDER (#9) came out in 2018.
Reviews for CHRISTMAS IS MURDER:
*STARRED* Review from Booklist: "The first installment in this new mystery series is a winner... At times, it seems we are playing Clue or perhaps enjoying a contemporary retelling of a classic Agatha Christie tale (And Then There Were None, or At Bertram’s Hotel) with a charming new sleuth. A must for cozy fans."
~Booklist (American Library Association)
"C.S. Challinor's CHRISTMAS IS MURDER dishes up an English manor house mystery with the traditional elements: a murder, a small contingent of suspects thrown together, and an engaging and witty sleuth... Challinor will keep most readers guessing as she cleverly spreads suspicion and clues that point in one direction, then another.”
~Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
"Shades of Agatha Christie. A disparate group of guests snowed in at an English hotel await Christmas and death. Rex Graves, QC,...uses his prosecutorial expertise to work his way through method and motive until he announces the murderer in a denouement in the classic style."
"It's a charming novel, especially since the violence occurs offstage. CHRISTMAS IS MURDER is full of people with interesting characters and clues... Ms. Challinor was educated in Scotland and England, which explains how she writes so convincingly of both her setting and her characters."
"CHRISTMAS IS MURDER has all the elements traditional English cozy fans have come to love. The plot is tight, suspects limited and an investigation uses Rex’s wit rather than a lot of outside sources. The setting is lovely and the characters entertaining. A great start to a new series that is sure to become a modern favorite traditional English cozy series."
~The Mystery Reader **** (4-Star review = Recommended)
"CHRISTMAS IS MURDER is an enjoyable and quick read. The setting is great, a Victorian hotel in England in modern times, the characters are interesting and the mystery is engaging. I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was—any of the guests could have done it! This is not a very 'Christmasy' book. It could be read just about any time of the year."
~The Friendly Book Nook
"Agatha Christie fans, here you go! You have been waiting for a mystery writer that can hold the torch, well we found her: C.S. Challinor."
"CHRISTMAS IS MURDER is an engaging whodunit populated with an interesting and imaginative mix of characters and a very appealing and charming sleuth in Rex Graves. The story effortlessly combines elements of a classic country house mystery with an Agatha Christie-style denouement to great effect."
"Authors are sometimes compared to Dame Agatha but, in my opinion, few of their books have those characteristics and—more important—the overall feel of hers. CHRISTMAS IS MURDER does."
"Wanted to let you know I just finished the book and enjoyed it very much. I'm thinking of pairing it up with a large assortment box of shortbread at the holidays. Eat some shortbread, make a cup of tea and curl up with a good book."
~Barbara Selvaggio, Walkers Shortbread US
"Cozy fans will want to find CHRISTMAS IS MURDER tucked into their stockings for a cold, winter's night read. This is one to help you while away the hours without scaring you out of your slippers; a delectable tidbit of a puzzle that will leave you hungry for the next Rex Graves Mystery."
"Rex gives the reader just enough hints to keep them guessing until the very end when the final pieces to the puzzle are revealed. Look out, Hercule Poirot; Rex Graves will give you a run for your money."
~Once Upon A Romance
"CHRISTMAS IS MURDER is a most enjoyable first mystery in what promises to be a fantastic series."
~Rick Miller, host of ABC's prime-time hit series "Just for Laughs"