Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great plot and characters
Cons: Some niggles, but not enough to make me a complete Scrooge
The Bottom Line:
Christmas crafting, death
Holiday infused story
In charming debut
Who was Enough of a Scrooge to Leave the Dead Body in Merry's Motorhome?
If my goal this year was to not start any new series until I'd caught up on a few of my series in progress, I'm failing. Here we are in the second half of January, and this is my second new series by a new to me author. But honestly, how could I pass up the Merry and Bright Handcrafted Mysteries? Someone as obsessed with Christmas as I am? And so I dove into the first book, Not a Creature was Stirring.
One of Merry Winters's favorite weekends each year is the Christmas Holiday Bazaar, held the weekend before Thanksgiving. As a crafter and Christmas lover, she enjoys getting to sell her merchandise to others who are also ready to get into the Christmas spirit. This weekend, she is extra excited because she's just bought a new RV from her ex-step-daughter. She's hoping that this will allow her more flexibility, and she's planning to turn part of it into a mobile crafting studio. This is a great chance to try it out.
While she's unloading, she discovers the body of her ex-husband hidden in a storage compartment of the RV. Now, her dream is turning into a nightmare since the police are sure she killed the man. True, she didn't like Samuel, but they hadn't been married long enough to truly hate him that much, right? But the biggest question is, how did his dead body get into the RV?
If you love Christmas, you really do need to read this book. Christmas oozes from every page. Whether it's talk of Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas crafts, or comparing people to characters from Christmas stories, you can't help but get into the Christmas spirit. Normally, this is a book I would save for reading in December, but I didn't want to do that with a book that was being released in January, and honestly, it was fun to have something that helped me hold on to the Christmas spirit just a little bit longer.
And yes, the book does have a strong mystery. It starts out quickly, and it kept me engaged and guessing the entire time. Yes, I did figure a couple of things out earlier than Merry did, but how they fit into the bigger picture was still unclear to me before Merry pieced them together.
Unfortunately, I did feel like the book needed one more polish before it was completely done. While the climax made sense, I felt like a few things could use have been ironed out a bit more. Additionally, it felt like Merry was too invested in her ex-husband's family for the amount of time they'd been married. A few other things seemed to need a polish to be more consistent. I was reading an ARC, so hopefully they were ironed out before the final version was released.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book, and much of that was the characters. Naturally, I really liked Merry and her love of Christmas, but her relationship with her family was really special. Her business partner in the Merry & Bright Crafting business, Bright, is a hoot. I would have loved to see more of her in the book. There are a variety of suspects to keep us guessing, and they were all fleshed out with clear motives.
And I mentioned the twists, right? Because the plot really did keep me engaged as well.
There is much to enjoy in Not a Creature was Stirring. If you love Christmas, this book will put you in the holiday spirit no matter what time of year you read it.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.