For those of you who love to read on the dark side, and perhaps occasionally find the unrelenting joy of Christmas a tad wearisome, welcome to our selection of novels that celebrate murder and mayhem during one of the most festive times of the year.

While the majority of these reads sit within the twelve days of Christmas, there are a couple that I’ve included due to their winter snowstorm themes, Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson and The Hollows by Daniel Church.

If you fancy collections of short stories then I can direct you to Christmas is Murder by Val McDermid, and Silent Nights edited by Martin Edwards. This list isn't complete without the newly published The Winter Spirits by some of our favourite authors here at LoveReading. These twelve ghostly stories set over the Christmas period are hauntingly exquisite, and would make a beautifully creepy present for you or those you love. Featuring stories from Bridget Collins, Imogen Hermes Gowar, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Andrew Michael Hurley, Jess Kidd, Elizabeth Macneal and Laura Purcell, these twelve tales range in plot and setting, from offering a menacing foreboding through to delivering sharp and concentrated hammer blows.

If a full on celebration of Christmas, with a side serving of humour is your thing, then I can highly recommend Murder Most Royal by S.J. Bennett and The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict.

While The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson, The Winter Guest by W.C. Ryan, Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie, and Catt Out of the Bag by Clifford Witting all include the festive season.

While some readers turn to romantic, feel-good festive stories at this time of year, SJI Holliday’s The Party Season is a chilling Christmas thriller for those who enjoy meaty novels of detection and revenge that throw you off the scent with unexpected twists and thought-provoking motives for murder. A satisfying seasonal read for fans of detective thrillers, with the added zing of unexpected surprises.

Andreina Cordani very much stamps her own mark on the Christmas murder mystery in The Twelve Days of Murder where a Christmas murder mystery game in a remote snowed-in hunting lodge turns deadly in this absolute romp of a read.

Finally The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley and The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh revel in New Year's Eve parties filled with murderous intent.

Enjoy a walk on the wild side and ensure your festive period doesn't get too sickly sweet with these Christmas crime capers. Have you got a favourite?