Inspiration behind The Deaths of December

Why did Susi Holliday choose to centre her latest book The Deaths of December around a macabre advent calendar?

Posted on December 18, 2017 in Guest Author
Tags: The Deaths of December

Who doesn’t love an advent calendar? I’m actually old enough to remember when chocolate ones first appeared on the shelves. My dad had a newsagent’s, so anything new and chocolate related, we were the first to hear of it (and sample it!) The first ones were made by a company called Kinnerton. The chocolates weren’t huge, and they were shaped like the traditional things that you’d find behind the regular cardboard and glitter advent calendars that were the norm in the 80s. They tasted OK, as non-branded chocolate goes – and it was definitely a treat to be able to open a door and eat the little chocolate every day before school.

It didn’t take long before the other chocolate companies got in on the act – creating their own branded ones with a similar chocolate mould behind the little doors. But then, things got completely out of hand. You can get almost anything in an advent calendar now. Little chocolates, big chocolates, Haribo, scented candles, make-up, beauty products, gin, wine, cereal (WTF?) and possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, DOG FOOD – who wants to open a special treat of THAT every day . . . oh wait, it’s not for you. It’s for your pet. That’s fine then 😉

The point is, the world of advent calendars has gone a bit mad. Gone are the days when it was actually part of a religious thing to count down the days to the birth of Jesus, lighting a candle each day to coincide with the Advent Devotions (prayers). So I thought, well . . . if you can get cereal and gin and pet treats in an advent calendar, what if someone decided to go back to basics and have one with the little images in it, like we used to have when we were kids . . .

. . . except this is a crime novel. So those little images were never going to be bells and elves and cute little snowmen. The images had to be something altogether more gruesome. Crime scenes, for example. And what if this individual decided that the best audience for these images might be the police? Only, they left a few doors blank. Had to leave the detectives with something to do, right?

Once the seed was sown, the rest began to unravel. Who’s taken the photographs? Who are the victims? Why this police station? Why now?I can’t really tell you anything else without adding spoilers. So, I’ll let you find out more for yourselves.

Just remember one thing in this run up to Christmas . . . Don’t Open the Door.

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