Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, great holiday spirit
Cons: Who do you think I am, an unthankful Scrooge?
The Bottom Line:
College friend murdered
Complicated this Thanksgiving
This College Reunion is Nothing to be Thankful for
There are cozies for just about any time of the year, but Thanksgiving seems to be one of the lesser picked holidays. Yes, I can think of a few, but it isn’t as popular as its neighbors Halloween and Christmas. Yet Vicki Delany made it the setting for Silent Night, Deadly Night, the fourth entry in her Year-Round Christmas series.
If you are new to the series, it features Merry Wilkinson, the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures in the town of Rudolph, New York. With a name like Rudolph, is it any wonder that the town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination for all things Christmas year-round. Unfortunately, Merry is finding that murder happens year-round, too, since this marks the fourth time she’s gotten involved in a murder in the past year.
Merry’s mother, Aline, is thrilled to be hosting some of her college friends the weekend before Thanksgiving. While they have kept in touch, they haven’t all been together since their college days almost forty years ago. However, her joy quickly turns sour when the group arrives and they spend most of their time bickering and sniping at each other. Desperate for some company and help reigning them in, she invites Merry to several of the group’s meals.
However, the tension continues to build until one of the women dies under suspicious circumstances. Despite warnings to keep out of the investigation, Merry can’t help but gather some information. And when a newcomer to town tries to use this to take over the job of town Santa from Merry’s dad, she really begins to try to find out what happened. Can she figure out which of the women is a killer before they leave town?
Yes, I have been vague about who the victim is and how she died, but fans of cozies will be able to spot the victim and method of murder fairly quickly. That doesn’t make the start of the novel any less interesting since we are meeting the suspects and getting to know the victim a little bit, too, before she dies. Once the murder takes place, we are off to the races with several good twists in the story. The sub-plot involving Merry’s dad drew me further into the book. Everything built to a great climax. Honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on a few things earlier, but everything was logical when Merry figured it out.
I was a bit worried when we meet all the suspects at once that it would be hard to keep them all straight, but that was never a problem for me. Near the beginning, we were given enough context to remember which of the ladies was which, but as the novel progressed, I was able to keep them straight without any cues since their characters were better defined in my mind. Naturally, the series regulars are as charming as always. I really do enjoy this cast, and it was great to be spending time with them again.
You might have noticed I love Christmas. That is one thing that initially drew me to this series. Even though this book is set around Thanksgiving, it balances that line between the two holidays perfectly. While reading the book, I got that late fall, Thanksgiving feeling, but the town and Merry’s store still provided the Christmas charm I was looking for. After reading this, I’m about ready to start setting up my Christmas trees. Too bad it’s only August.
Whether you read this book now or save it for the holidays (your choice of which holiday), you’ll enjoy Silent Night, Deadly Night. This is a cozy mystery filled with murder, mayhem, warmth, and Christmas cheer. What more could you want?
Need more Christmas cheer? Check out the rest of the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away. Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.
Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win. I will pick the winner Thursday August 29th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 8/29. You will have until midnight on 9/3 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 9/4.