Monday, September 20, 2021

Book Review: Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide by Liz Ireland (Mrs. Claus #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters, setting, mystery
Cons: None, although the timeline is unclear in one scene
The Bottom Line:
Holidays collide
Causing chaos at North Pole
Charming, delightful



Introducing Halloween Has Consequences

One of my favorite books last year was the first Mrs. Claus mystery from Liz Ireland.  The combination of fantasy and mystery was purely delightful, especially for a Christmas fiend like me.  Naturally, I was looking forward to the follow up, Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide, and I wasn’t disappointed.

It’s been ten months since we last checked in with April Claus, but she is still trying to settle into her new role as the wife of Nick, the current Santa Claus.  In the North Pole, that comes with a certain level of responsibility, after all.  In an effort to liven things up in the fall, she’s introducing Halloween, another holiday she’s always loved.  Santaland has always been a one holiday community, but many of the residents are taking to the new holiday with gusto.

However, not everyone is open to new ideas.  Someone has smashed the pumpkins that one of the elves was growing behind the Claus Castle.  An elf has left threatening comments about the upstart holiday on the community page for the library.  But then a murder takes place, and April begins to question if introducing Halloween was worth the trouble it is causing.  Or was there another motive for the crime?

While the murder might come a little late in the book for some, that wasn’t an issue for me.  There is plenty of action to keep us engaged.  Things only heat up when the body is discovered, and everything comes together for a fantastic climax.  I loved how things came together in the end.

Meanwhile, the world building is also wonderful.  Clearly, we aren’t dealing with a world we are used to reading about, but author Liz Ireland does a fantastic job of tweaking things we know and building a world that seems plausible.  Heck, the elf’s names alone are a delight.  As much as I hate the cold, I would gladly enter this world if it were real.  That’s how carefully it has been constructed and how delightful it is.

Being the timeline fanatic that I am, I do have to mention a potential timeline issue.  I actually read through the scene a couple of times before finally deciding I was misreading things.  Still, it could have been a little clearer.

While not all the characters are human, they all seem like real people.  And that’s the key that pulls us into the book.  We care about April and her friends and want them to figure out what is going on so they can enjoy this special place they call home.  We get to see some growth in April and her relationships with those around her, which I really enjoyed.  In fact, there is a hint at something that I really can’t wait to read about – hopefully in the next book.

And yes, Halloween at the North Pole is as delightfully wacky as you might expect.  If you are a fan of either holiday, you’ll find something you’ll enjoy here.  Mixed in with all the mayhem is some delightful humor, too.

If you are looking for a cozy mystery series with a different premise, you need to check out this series.  Whether you read Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide now for Halloween or save it for Christmas in December, you will be swept away to a wonderfully delightful world.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

4 comments:

  1. Seems I need to move this up on my TBR mountain!

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  2. This series looks so cute! I need to add this series to my TBR. Looks like perfect Christmas-y reading.

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  3. So Mrs. Claus' name is April? That's amusing. I wonder why the author chose the name of a month?

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  4. Thank you again, Mark, for this wonderful review! So glad you've enjoyed the series.

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