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  • Entertaining cozy mystery

    Silent Night, Deadly Night is the fourth A Year-Round Christmas Mystery. Merry Wilkinson has her hands full when one of her mother’s old college friends dies while in town for a reunion and a newcomer to town is determined to take the Santa Clause position away from her father, Noel. It is a week before Thanksgiving, which is Merry’s favorite holiday, and the shop is hopping with customers. It is always a delight to visit the charming Christmas town of Rudolph, New York. While Silent Night, Deadly Night is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. I thought the book was well-written with good pacing. The book is fraught with tension from the minute Aline’s college friends walk into Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. The five women are constantly sniping at each other and getting in little digs. It is only the first day of their visit and Aline, Merry’s mother, regrets organizing the gathering. When one of the women dies, the remaining ladies are suspects and are not allowed to leave town (there goes Thanksgiving). Merry wants to figure out which woman committed the crime so they can all leave town (they are staying at the Wilkinson home). There are clues sprinkled throughout the book to help readers solve the case before the satisfying reveal. I found Ruth to be an interesting character with her love of mystery novels and her fascination with the case (all mystery lovers can relate). There is a subplot with a newcomer to town trying to take the Santa Claus position away from Merry’s father, Noel. I like how Noel handled himself and how the situation was resolved. I enjoyed learning more about the Wilkinson family and the romance factor was light (thank you). I thoroughly enjoy the descriptions of Rudolph and Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. Silent Night, Deadly Night was a satisfying cozy mystery and I look forward to reading the next A Year-Round Christmas Mystery. Silent Night, Deadly Night has catty college chums, deadly delicacies, a sly Santa stealer, dangerous secrets, old-fashioned ornaments and one elf investigator.

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  • Chick Lit Holiday Mystery

    I have read a fair amount of cozy mysteries, and this one struck me as different right from the start. Honestly, at the beginning, it feels more like chick lit gone awry—which I loved, by the way! In fact, “chick lit” is much of the vibe of the entire story. Despite the title of the novel, this is more centered around Thanksgiving than Christmas. It just happens to take place in a town named Rudolph, where it's Christmas all year ‘round (but they do give a nod to the other holidays). The setup of the story is that the heroine's mother is hosting her college friends’ 40th reunion. Though they were friends back in the day and have kept in contact, they have not met in person since that time. I thought the author did a fantastic job showing how different each of these ladies was. Many writers tend to write an “old lady” stereotype or two (grumpy granny or “cuppa tea” granny), but each of these women is very different. The initial part of the story has much to do with their sniping and disagreements, which the author writes with a deft hand. The dialogue actually helps the story keep moving. The protagonist and her mother have to act as peacemakers, not quite what Mom imagined when she put together the weekend. While this book is part of a series, I had no problem understanding it even though this is the first book I have read of it. The author developed the mystery well, with lots of balls to juggle. I so enjoyed the town and the characters that I didn't really try to figure it out as I read and instead just went along for the ride. And what a delightful ride it was! The author also threw in some good twists, as I like to see in a mystery, and the end held more surprises than I imagined. A wonderful read by a new author to me, one whom I will look forward to reading again in the future. If you like the idea of chick-lit holiday mystery gone wrong, you will most likely enjoy this book as much as I did. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

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