Release Date: Oct 27, 2020
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
I enjoy holiday-themed mysteries and this book includes three Christmas novellas by different authors. All three stories take place around Christmastime and a Christmas card plays an important part of the mystery in each. The type of mystery being solved varies from one story to the other, but all three are entertaining.
The first story is Leslie Meier’s Christmas Card Murder. Lucy Stone covers various stories for the local paper in Tinker’s Cove, Maine but the mystery that has her attention in this story hits closer to home. During some home renovations, she and her husband find an old Christmas card that has to have been left there by a previous owner of the house many years ago. The card has a charming vintage picture on the front, but a hateful, handwritten message on the inside. Lucy is determined to find out the whole story behind this card which was only signed with the sender’s initials. In a matter unrelated to the Christmas card, Lucy and a co-worker end up in a very dangerous situation. This plot is pretty heavy for a holiday mystery and I was shocked at how that part of the story turns out. This isn’t a joyful tale, but is well-written and suspenseful and ends on a hopeful note. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy it.
Death of a Christmas Carol by Lee Hollis is the next story in the collection. The mystery that is the focus of this story is an intriguing one. Three friends receive a hand-delivered Christmas card from the town flirt informing the women that she has been having an affair with the husband of one of them and plans to leave town with him! Hayley, Mona, and Rosana are suspicious and worried when their husbands and the woman are all no-shows to their company holiday party. Things get even more complicated when the three friends learn there has been a murder in their town. Hayley comes across as immature for her age, but I still like the story. Some of Hayley’s food-related columns and recipes are included which makes Hayley’s job as a small-town newspaper writer come to life. I was surprised by the bittersweet ending to this story.
The final story in the book is Death of a Christmas Card Crafter by Peggy Ehrhart. Pamela and her best friend Bettina are members of the same knitting group. They are at a holiday craft fair with Pamela’s daughter, Penny, who is home from college. Penny shows her mom some attractive Christmas cards she purchased that were designed by her former high school art teacher. The fair comes to a halt when the teacher’s dead body is found at a nearby Christmas card lot. A friend of Pamela and Bettina is accused of the murder, so the two women put their knitting needles aside to do some sleuthing.The card the victim had designed provides an important clue to solving her murder. I was unfamiliar with this author before reading this story, but I like her writing style and enjoyed the story even though the solution to the murder seemed a little rushed. Knitting tips and a couple of recipes follow the story. The author includes a lot of details about Pamela’s holiday celebrations that put a smile on my face, and I’m glad to have been introduced to this author.
Whether or not you’ve read other books by the author’s in this collection, each is an easy-to-read, entertaining holiday mystery that I recommend to cozy mystery lovers. Returning readers will be happy to spend the holidays with their favorite characters and new readers may just find a new series to read.