Short Story Review: A Strange Christmas Game by Charlotte Riddell

I could find no relevant book cover to go with this review so I thought I would share a glimpse of Bedfordshire woodland…


Brother and sister John and Clare Lester inherit an old spooky house in the country. But when they start to hear strange noises, it sets them on a path to discover a terrible secret…

Favourite Quote

‘You pooh-pooh the existence of ghosts, and “only wish you could find a haunted house in which to spend a night,” which is all very brave and praiseworthy, but wait till you are left in a dreary, desolate old country mansion, filled with the most unaccountable sounds, without a servant, with none save an old caretaker and his wife, who, living at the the extremest end of the building, heard nothing of the tramp, tramp, bang, bang, going on at all hours of the night.’

(From A Strange Christmas Game by Charlotte Riddell)


This short story was read as part of Festive Reads Fortnight 2020 at Sammi Loves Books.

I hadn’t read any of Charlotte Riddell’s work until this one, and only then did I learn that she published her writing under her husband’s name, J.H. Riddell. Hence why sometimes her works are attributed to that name.

Atmospheric, this story falls into the category of traditional or old fashioned ghost story. It’s not terribly scary, but it is interesting to read how John and Clare discover the secret of Martingdale, and then solve the secret.  The character of Clare is cleverly written.  She is very astute, though she also fulfils the role Victorians would have expected of a woman, by which I mean she screams on occasion and drops a glass in fright. 😉

It’s a very quick read, but certainly well-worth a look, especially if you like your ghost stories to be horror-free.

This short story wins ‘local interest points’ from me, as it is set in part in my home county of Bedfordshire.


Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019 – I’ve chosen this book for challenge #3 in the list: a book set in a place you’ve lived / visited


7 thoughts on “Short Story Review: A Strange Christmas Game by Charlotte Riddell

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – December 2020 | Sammi Loves Books

  2. I smile. Just remembering yesterday. I’d gone to Breydon Water for photos and the light dimmed (no actual sunset) and he mists started rising, and I’d a 15 minute walk in the dark across a deserted common. Oh yes, creepy!

    Liked by 1 person

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