Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Review: Hollyberry Homicide by Sharon Farrow (Berry Basket Mysteries #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and story, Christmas spirit
Cons: I’m in too merry a mood to list cons
The Bottom Line:
Marlee takes the stage
Adding to a Christmas case
That’s plenty of fun

Will Marlee Make it on Stage as a Ghost?

When I saw that the Berry Basket series was getting a Christmas book, I hadn’t given too much thought to what was going to be happening.  But as soon as I started Hollyberry Homicide, I couldn’t believe I had missed such an obvious backdrop to the plot.

You see, our main character is Marlee Jacobs, named after Jacob Marley since she was born on Christmas Eve.  So of course, we are going to be dealing with a production of A Christmas Carol.

In fact, Jacob Marley is dead, or at least the actor who was set to play him again this year in the community’s annual production.  Since he was ninety-five, no one is that surprised, however, Marlee can’t help but feel something is off about his death.  She tries to convince herself that her suspicions are just because of the murder cases she’s found herself involved in over the past few months, but as she meets the man’s relatives, she can’t help but size them up as suspects.

Not that Marlee has time for a murder investigation.  The town is holding a hollyberry festival in the days leading up to Christmas, and she has been cast as the replacement Jacob Marley, so she has to learn her lines and make it to rehearsals.  However, rumors of a curse on the play abound.  Is something more sinister going on?

As you might have surmised from my teaser, this book unfolds a little differently from a typical cozy, and I loved it for that.  There is so much going on here that it was easy to get caught up in the story each time I picked up the book.  I may have figured out a couple of plot points early, but that hardly mattered given everything else that was going on.  I loved how things came together in the climax, too.

Of course, it helps that I love the characters.  Marlee has always been a strong main character, and as we’ve gotten to know the wide variety of friends in her life, the series has grown richer.  That’s the case here once again.  The suspects fit into this world and do their job of confusing us perfectly.

The book has that wonderful Christmas feeling on every page.  In addition to the play and the snow, we also get plenty of talk about decorations and presents and music.  It made me want to curl up in a blanket and look at my own trees.  If only I had them up while I was reading this book.

Finally, we get three berry inspired recipes at the end of the book.  No, nothing with hollyberries since they are poisonous, but the ones we do get sound delicious.

If you enjoy Christmas cozies, you need to add Hollyberry Homicide to your list this year.  No need to check twice, you’ll enjoy this entry in the always tasty Berry Basket Mysteries.

Enjoy the rest of the Berry Basket Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. Oh this looks fun! I love holiday cozies and I'm adding this to my list.

    1. I love holiday cozies, too. And if you like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, you should have fun reading Hollyberry Homicide. Wishing you an early Merry Christmas!


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