Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters, plenty of Christmas spirit
Cons: Mystery side-tracked by sub-plots
The Bottom Line:
Murder at Christmas
Who was intended victim?
Festive cozy book
Killer at Christmas
With as much as I love Christmas, reading cozies set at Christmas is one thing I look forward to each year. More and more series seem to be offering Christmas entries, too, which makes me happy. Wreath Between the Lines is the latest in this trend, and lets us visit Jenna Hart and her Cookbook Nook.
It's a couple of weeks before Christmas in the town of Crystal Cove on the coast of California, and just about everyone is getting into the spirit. The shops in town are putting wreaths on all their doors since that is the theme of this year's Christmas festival, and many residents are going all out in decorating their houses. Jenna has several themed events planned for the Cookbook Nook as well. Dampening the Christmas spirit is a visit from her sister, brother-in-law, and niece, bringing family drama with them.
However, the Christmas spirit is truly dampened when Jenna's neighbor, Jake, comes to her one night in a panic. His visiting friend has been murdered at his house, trussed up with Christmas lights and stabbed in the back with a star. Jake once saved Jenna's father's life, so Jake has been close to Jenna's family for years. What worries everyone is that Jake might have been the intended target. Can Jenna figure out who the killer is before he or she gets a chance to strike again?
If you are looking for a book with plenty of Christmas spirit, this is the book for you. Between the talk of Christmas themed cookbooks, Christmas decorations, Christmas carols, and Christmas treats, you'll find lots of, well, Christmas between the covers of this book. Even though it is still November, it was enough to wish I'd spent a little more time this weekend decorating for Christmas so I could enjoy the book surrounded by my own Christmas decorations.
However, the lack of Christmas decorations around me didn't keep me from getting fully involved in this book. We had yet to spend much time with Jenna's sister or her family, so it was nice to see them and get another side of Jenna as a result of these relationships. Of course, we get to see plenty of the various series regulars as well, and it is always great to spend time with them. The suspects are strong and easy to keep straight, which always helps with the mystery.
I did feel the mystery was a little on the thin side. We had several sub-plots that kept crowding in on the main mystery, slowing it down at times. Having said that, we did get some good surprises and complications on the way to a fun climax.
If all the talk of food and recipes leaves you craving a Christmas treat, you'll be happy to find the wealth of recipes at the back of the book. There are recipes for such things as Brownie Reindeer or Christmas Trees, Christmas Wreath, White Chocolate Crackle, and a Yule Log. We also get some gluten free alternatives to a few of these recipes as needed.
If you are looking for Christmas spirit mixed with some murder and mayhem, look no further than Wreath Between the Lines. Grab a mug of peppermint hot chocolate, curl up next to your Christmas tree, and savor.
Looking for more? Here are the rest of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries.