Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Christmas spirit and fun characters
Cons: Mystery could be a little stronger in the middle
The Bottom Line:
Christmas town murder
Complicates December in
It’s the Most Murderous Time of the Year
With as much as I love Christmas, I always try to keep a couple of Christmas themed books to read in December. And what better series to read this month than the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries, right? We make our second trip to the town of Rudolph, New York, with We Wish You a Murderous Christmas, and it’s a lot of fun.
Rudolph has built their economy around celebrating Christmas all year long, drawing in tourists to their shops and events. One of their best hotels is the Yuletide Inn, owned by Grace and Jack Olsen. Grace and Jack are good friends with Merry Wilkinson’s parents, our main character and guide to this merry town.
The Inn also features a nice restaurant, and Merry is enjoying a rare evening off there when she runs into her parents and the Olsens. The evening ends with Jack having a heart attack. While he is in the hospital recovering, Jack’s son Gord comes to town to run the inn.
Except Gord is more interested in making as much money as he can from the inn as soon as possible. His plans for the inn would not only affect the employees at the Yuletide but also the rest of the town. Naturally, everyone is upset by the proposed changes, but Merry is shocked when she finds Gord’s dead body in the inn’s garden. When the list of suspects hits close to home, Merry begins investigating to out what really happened.
You’d think a town that celebrates Christmas year around would have a merry outlook on life, but this is the second murder to happen in the town in less than a month. That’s right, this book picks up not too long after the first book ended. It’s been a year since I read the first book so I don’t remember the timing exactly, but it is obviously the same December, and we are marching closer to Christmas.
Honestly, I loved that since it means we get the entire Christmas magic, including snow and talk about the upcoming holiday. That just adds to the Christmassy feeling, which is exactly what I was looking for when I picked up the book. Of course, the talk of the shops in town help as well. This is especially true of Merry’s show, which specializes in nice decorations. I think that shop would be very dangerous to my wallet.
The book does a great job of setting up the suspects before Merry finds the body. I did feel that some of that momentum stalled in the middle of the book. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of stuff happening, but Merry seem to make slow progress on learning anything to solve the case. However, as the climax nears, things pick up again and we reach a logical climax.
The characters are as charming as the setting. While we don’t see any of Merry’s siblings, I love her parents, and her friends are just as wonderful. Those worried about the potential love triangle set up in the first book in the series will be happy to see how that advances here. And, of course, the new characters introduced here are strong enough to pull us into the murder as well.
So if you are looking to celebrate Christmas with a little murder, light the tree, turn on the music, and curl up with We Wish You a Murderous Christmas. Even if you read it any other time of the year, you’ll feel that magic Christmas spirit as you turn the pages.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book in hopes I would review it.