A Spider on the Stairs

Best friends Phillip Bethancourt, a wealthy man-about-town, and Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons are each on their way to Yorkshire over Christmas, though not together, and neither of them are looking forward to their respective trips. While Phillip is returning to his family’s estate to spend the holiday with relatives---a dreaded task---Jack must determine whether a particular murder is the work of a serial killer. It looks like it most likely is. As it turns out, Jack isn’t on the case for more than a day before the understaffed locals ask him to look in to another.

Jodie Farrady, a former bookshop employee who disappeared about a year ago, is found strangled in that same shop Christmas morning. The modus operandi is similar to the serial killer’s, but not exactly the same. It could be a copycat. It could be a coincidence. Either way, Jack could certainly use his good friend’s help as he investigates the citizens of a Yorkshire that has suddenly turned quite deadly. Luckily, Phillip is all too eager to escape his own holiday and join the hunt.

A Spider on the Stairs---Cassandra Chan’s contemporary reimagining of the classic English mystery---is not only a tale that is every bit as delightful and charming as the luminaries in this beloved tradition, but by far its most worthy heir.


Read an Excerpt

In Which Bethancourt Contemplates the Awfulness of Christmas
The twenty-third of December was a grey, cheerless day, with black clouds scudding across the sky and spatterings of rain. Phillip Bethancourt, looking out the window of his parents’ house in Yorkshire, felt it suited his mood exactly. It had been many long years since the exciting scent of the Christmas tree with the brightness of its ornaments and the munificence of the presents spread beneath it had been enough to ameliorate the essential awfulness of the holiday at Wethercross Grange. Attendance, however, was not optional,


Praise for A Spider on the Stairs

Praise for the Novels of Cassandra Chan

“A solid plot . . . Chan pulls off an ending as surprising as it is fitting.”
---Publishers Weekly on Trick of the Mind

“Gibbons and Bethancourt’s second adventure is another enjoyably lighthearted look at murder among the upper classes.”
---Kirkus Reviews on Village Affairs

“Bethancourt is a charming character. . . . A well-developed plot, intriguing and likable characters, solid investigating techniques, and an excellent sense of place distinguish this second in a series.”
---Booklist on Village Affairs

“Chan’s sprightly debut, a contemporary homage to Dorothy L. Sayers’s classic Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, introduces an appealing pair of sleuths. English mystery devotees should look forward to their further adventures.”
---Publishers Weekly on The Young Widow

“The author tells a tale that is part crime story, part family drama, part buddy flick, and part love story---a combination that makes for enjoyable reading.”
---School Library Journal on The Young Widow

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Cassandra Chan

  • CASSANDRA CHAN has published three novels, most recently Trick of the Mind, and several short stories featuring Gibbons and Bethancourt. She lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
  • Cassandra Chan Photo: Jack and Mary Dodge


Available Formats and Book Details

A Spider on the Stairs

Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons Mysteries

Cassandra Chan



Minotaur Books