The Christmas Mystery, Paperback Book

The Christmas Mystery Paperback

Illustrated by Sarah Gibb

Part of the Christmas Fiction series

3.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Fifty years ago a girl disappeared from her home in Norway.

She ran after a lamb and found herself travelling right across Europe to Palestine, and back through 2000 years to meet the Holy Family in Bethlehem.

There she met angels, shepherds, wise men and other biblical characters who joined her on her pilgrimage; and she heard of many of the things that happened in the world in the last 2000 years.

In present-day Norway, a boy acquires a strange old Advent calendar.

Hidden in each of the windows is a tiny piece of paper.

Little by little these pieces unfold the girl's story and as we learn what happened to her, another story is revealed - that of the strange old man who made the calender.


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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

I like reading this book instead of using an advent calendar,as each of the chapters are a day in December. Nice, mystical tale that captures Christmas.

Review by

When Joachim and his father go looking for an Advent calendar on the last day of November, they end up with one that a mysterious flower seller has left in a local bookshop.The book is divided into 24 chapters, one for each window of the Advent Calendar, so if you are going to read it during Advent, you can read each chapter on the right day!

Review by

This is an odd one to review, because... well, nothing Gaarder writes is ever simple, is it? It's a story within a story, an advent calendar within an advent calendar. A little boy called Joachim finds a handmade advent calendar in an old bookshop and takes it home. Every day when he opens the next door a folded piece of paper falls out, slowly telling the story of a little girl called Elisabet who runs away from a department store in the late 40s and ends up on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Each day the pilgrims, including shepherds, angels, sheep and the three Kings of Orient, run across countries - and across time - adding new figures to their ranks as they go, with the aim of reaching Bethlehem at the time of Jesus's birth. At the same time, there's an ongoing mystery about a grown-up Elisabet who's ALSO missing... Suffice to say that in classic Gaarder style, all is sort-of cleared up by the end, with a whopping side helping of BUT MAYBE...?? As you may know, I'm not remotely religious, but my Decembers at school as a kid were filled with nativity scenes and carols and colouring in pictures of the Three Wise Men, just like every other child, so I was mostly able to overlook the occasional heavy-handed religious moment and focus on the themes of peace and goodwill and general festivity. The arrival of an exuberant and rather unorthodox cherub called Impuriel definitely helped, as well as the fact that the chapters are short - about 7-11 pages - so it never got overwhelming. It became a lovely morning ritual throughout December, reading that day's chapter over breakfast, opening my own advent calendar at the same time as Joachim opened his!

Review by

This book is best read as an Advent calendar: start it on December 1st and enjoy a chapter of this journey through "a stack of pancakes" one day at a time.

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