Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and mystery; delicious sounding recipes
Cons: A couple of minor continuity errors
The Bottom Line:
Return at Christmas
For another mystery
Fun at any time
Stabbed in the Back at Christmas
One of the advantages of self-publishing is that if inspiration strikes, you can follow it. That’s what Karen MacInerney did with Mistletoe Murder. Even though we just got to visit farmer Lucy Resnick and her town of Buttercup, Texas, a couple of months ago, we are back just in time for Christmas.
It’s just been a couple of months for the residence of Buttercup as well when we pop in the week before Christmas. The annual Christmas market is in full swing, with Lucy doing a brisk business selling her soaps and candles in addition to lots of mistletoe. The talk of the town is the recently discovered bones in city hall, which is undergoing renovations.
Unfortunately, talk soon turns to a murder much more recent when Randy Stone is found stabbed in the back in the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant his in-laws own. Rooster Kocurek, the local sheriff, quickly arrests Randy’s wife for the crime. While Lucy buys the potential motive, she doesn’t think the case is that simple. Never the best detective on a good day, Rooster is distracted by some person problems, so Lucy begins to investigate and quickly finds plenty of people with motive to kill Randy. But can she find the real killer before an innocent woman spends the holiday in jail?
This is actually our second visit to Buttercup during Christmas, and it felt nice to spend another holiday season there. While Lucy never has trouble finding suspects to interview, the Christmas market makes a great place to meet and interrogate people. As a result, the pace never lags as Lucy begins to piece together the puzzle. Several twists took me by surprise, but the ultimate ending made sense and was satisfying.
While we’ve gotten to know several of Lucy’s friends in the previous books, they were supporting players this time around. Instead, a different friend took the spotlight, and I really enjoyed her sub-plot. Not to worry, Lucy’s boyfriend Tobias is still an active part of the book; I love watching their relationship progress. And the suspects are as strong as ever.
Unfortunately, I did catch a couple of continuity errors in the book, but nothing that interfered with the plot at all. They annoy, but they aren’t critical to understanding anything that transpires in the book.
The book has some serious underpinnings, which are counter to the Christmas setting. The contrast worked well in this case.
With all the talk of food, this book is sure to get your mouth watering, so you’ll be delighted to learn that there are seven recipes at the end for things are varied as snickerdoodles, tamales, and candy cane fudge.
This is a fast read that is sure to entertain. Mistletoe Murder is perfect for this time of year but will be just as fun no matter when you pick it up.
Enjoy more visits with Lucy in the Dewberry Farms Mysteries.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book.