Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Two funny short stories that will make you thankful for your own bad mall experiences
The Bottom Line:
Two Christmas shopping
Two crazy, funny stories
Two different trips
Dangerous Mall Shopping
Christmas usually brings to mind warm memories of parties and decorations and music. We tend to block some of the less enjoyable parts of the season, like the crowded malls. But that’s the part of the season that Odelia faces in both stories included in Ho Ho Humbug.
Set around books 3 or 4 of the Odelia Grey mystery series, “Ho Ho Homicide” finds Odelia roped into taking her step-mother to a mall to complete her Christmas shopping. To take a break from standing on her feet and her step-mother’s nasty personality, Odelia sits down on one of the benches in the area. Next thing she knows, Santa sits down next to her and dies. What is happening?
This first story was originally published as part of a compilation, but I hadn’t read it before. I had a smile on my face from the very beginning just to see a few of the characters from earlier in the series again. Obviously, being a short story, the mystery was fairly straightforward, yet author Sue Ann Jaffarian still managed to get a nice twist in before it was all over.
In the second story, Odelia returns to the exact same mall years later so her mother can go in and quickly pick up a present being held for her. But as “Ho Ho Hell” relates, this seemingly simple task turns into a headache when Odelia gets into a fight with another car for that most rare and valuable thing – a parking space. Who will get it?
This is actually a fairly funny story and a situation just about everyone can relate to. It takes that set up and keeps throwing more into it until you just can’t help but laugh. And the final scene is the best part. This is a brand new story, so even if you’ve read the first one before, you haven’t read this one.
Those not familiar with the series will want to note that this second story is set around the time of the current books, and book 9 just came out. Any differences in the characters are absolutely explainable in those in between books, so pick them up today and enjoy.
With just two short stories, this is a fast read, but it is priced accordingly. Keep that in mind when you sit down to read, and you’ll be well rewarded.
I usually avoid my mall right before Christmas, and the stories in Ho Ho Humbug remind me why. But if I do have to venture to the mall this year, it will make me thankful that I’m facing normal people instead of the people Odelia has to deal with in these two stories.
And if you enjoy the stories here, you'll definitely want to read the Odelia Grey Mysteries in order.
NOTE: I was sent this as a gift. No promise of a review was made in exchange. All opinions are my own.