Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Three fun Christmas mystery novellas
Cons: Lucy's family annoyed me
The Bottom Line:
Filled with holiday spirit
And plenty of twists
Put on a Yule Log and Curl Up with this Novella Collection
Over the years, I've read a few of Kensington's novella collections, and I've always enjoyed them. In fact, they are pretty much a given for me if an author I enjoy is included. And that's exactly why I found myself picking up Yule Log Murder, a collection of Christmas themed mysteries featuring Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross along with their series sleuths.
Opening the collection of "Yule Log Murder," which features Leslie's heroine Lucy Stone. This story opens to news that a major Hollywood movie is going to be filmed just outside of town, and many of the townspeople are going to be used as extras. Lucy manages to snag one of those spots, but her joy turns to sorrow when a young woman dies on the set. The police seem quick to settle on a killer, but Lucy suspects that something else is going on. Can she figure things out?
I must admit that I haven't read many of Lucy's adventures, sticking mainly to the novellas featuring this character and her family. As a result, I don't have the history with Lucy's family that long time series readers do. That may be why I found them a little annoying. The mystery itself was very strong, however, with a solution I didn't see coming.
Up next is "Death by Yule Log" featuring Lee Hollis's Hayley Powell. This Christmas, Hayley's daughter is coming up to Maine for Christmas and she's bringing her new boyfriend. Hayley does her best to greet Connor with an open mind, but something about him just rubs Hayley the wrong way. However, when a young man is found murdered after getting into a fight with Connor, it begins to look like Connor is the prime suspect. Hayley may not like him, but she doesn't want to see Connor accused of a crime he didn't commit. Can she figure out what is going on?
Again, I don't read this series, but this story made me rethink that. If only there weren't so many books already in the series. Anyway, while I obviously didn't understand all the character history, I certainly got enough to fully enjoy what was happening here. The mystery was strong and kept me engaged until the end.
Finally comes the reason I picked up this book. "Logged On" by Barbara Ross takes us back to Boothbay Harbor as we check in with Julia Snowden. She's become obsessed with creating a perfect Yule Log cake to impress her boyfriend's family when they come for Christmas, but her efforts aren't turning out well. She is so desperate that she goes to a neighbor, Mrs. St. Onge, since her cakes were legendary. Mrs. St. Onge is an older lady, but as Julia begins to spend more time with her, Julia begins to wonder wonders about the many people from Mrs. St. Onge’s past and present who seem to disappear from her life around the holidays. Is Julia in any danger herself?
I love this series and these characters, and it was great fun to pop in for a Christmas visit. The mystery on this one really drew me in. It is the shortest of the three, but it had me turning pages the fastest to find out if my suspicion on what was happening was true or not.
These stories are just over the 100 page mark each, and all three comes with festive Christmas recipes you can make after you've finished reading the book. Yes, that includes three different yule log recipes as well as hot chocolate, snowman pizza, and jewel brooch cookies.
And all three are guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit. It may be October as I write this, but I was ready to start decorating my Christmas trees myself when I was done with the book.
So if you want to get into a festive mood, pick up Yule Log Murder. In addition to three fun holiday tales, you just might find some new friends to visit year-round.
And if you are looking for more of Julia's adventures, here are the rest of the Maine Clambake Mysteries in order.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.