Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong, warm characters; Christmas spirit
Cons: Plot could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Murder on tree farm
Mystery, Christmas spirit
Great holiday read
Murder on a Christmas Tree Farm
Given my love of Christmas, it’s hard to resist when a new cozy mystery series starts up with a Christmas theme, which is why I knew I’d be reading Twelve Slays of Christmas pretty much as soon as the title crossed my radar. A series set at a Christmas tree farm? Sign me up, please.
The farm in question belongs to the White family, and has been operating for four generations just outside of the town of Mistletoe, Maine. Holly has returned home after a broken engagement in the middle of December. While she figures out what to do next, she knows she can help around the farm since they are not only selling trees, but they have a café, gift shop, and host the Reindeer Games, different holiday themed games on the twelve days leading up to Christmas.
However, things take a decided un-merry turn when Margaret Fenwick shows up on the farm. She is from the historic society, and she has been making everyone’s lives miserable recently in her desire to get every single building up to code. After a fight with several people in the café, including Holly’s father, Margaret leaves. A few minutes later, Holly responds to a scream to find Margaret dying in one of the rows of trees. In an effort to focus the investigation away from her family and the farm, Holly starts poking around. But what secrets might she uncover?
If you are looking for a warm, cozy Christmas book, you’ve come to the right place. There is Christmas atmosphere in spades. And the games that the farm hosts? I want to play them, too! Okay, so maybe the last one wouldn’t be my cup of peppermint hot chocolate, but I would watch that one.
Speaking of food and drink, there are so many delicious sounding treats in this book, I think I gained weight just reading it. There aren’t any recipes in the back, which might be a good thing for my scale.
Unfortunately, this did come at the expense of the plot, and at times, the Christmas spirit overshadows the mystery. Holly also spent some time reacting to events (which is understandable) instead of actually detecting. She does piece things together in the end, however, and the climax is very suspenseful.
The characters are outstanding. Holly may not have lived in the area for a few years, but she still has obvious strong ties to the community. I felt the love coming through in her interactions with the various characters. They provided much of the warmth and Christmas spirit I felt. Even though this book is set in Maine and there is all kinds of snow, I would love to hang out with these characters in real life. Maybe I should plan my visit for summer when it would be warmer.
I’m already looking forward to visiting Holly and my new friends again. Grab your favorite warm beverage, cuddle up by the fire, and slip into Twelve Slays of Christmas.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book