Portrait of a Murderer

by Anne Meredith

1464209049.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_“Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.” Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.


This was quite different from most murder tales. Right up front in the first paragraph we know who is murdered. We are shown the murder and who did it. The mystery in this one is will they get away with it! I almost gave up on the book as the characters were so unlovely! Lots of characters and descriptions and getting to know them and the family dynamics and this family is not a pleasant family. But I hung in there, mostly because Tracy @ Bitter Tea and Mystery reviewed it right about that time and her review spurred me on.

It really was a character study with a murder thrown in. And in the end there were, as Tracy said, redeeming qualities to some of the characters. I’m glad I finished it. Stop over and read Tracy’s review, she does such a nice job!


I read this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Poison Pen for letting me read it. I adore these British Library Crime Classics!


This book fulfills the Who category (an artist) in the Gold Era for Just the Facts M’am over @ My Reader’s Block.

3 thoughts on “Portrait of a Murderer

  1. Thanks for mentioning my review, Peggy. I am glad you ended up liking the book well enough. Crime fiction seems to be filled with families that can’t get along.

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