Twelve Slays of Christmas: A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maine
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B06XWDL7YW
When Holly White’s fiancé cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime—exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.
When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn’t watch out, she’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.
The White Family owns and operated the Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm, “a holiday paradise” and hosts The Twelve Day of Reindeer Games drawing tourists from near and far. Holly White was supposed to be getting married on Christmas Eve but her fiancé called it off when he met another woman. So Holly is home in Mistletoe helping her family with the festivities. Games like the snowball roll and find the pickle, treats baked up fresh by her mom, and trees as far as the eye can see. Where better to spend the holidays than Mistletoe, Maine?
Then Margaret Fenwick’s dead body is found in one of the sleighs and the murder weapon is a wooden stake Holly’s dad made to mark the types of Christmas tree rows. That makes him a suspect, but Holly finds out there were several people not happy with the president of the Mistletoe Historical Society. With the farm closed for a police investigation her family isn’t making any money and the people in town for the games and their trees are not happy. Holly decides it is up to her to slay the killer or at least catch him so the games can begin.
I loved this story. What a wonderful debut for this series!
Ms. Frost’s descriptions brought Mistletoe and the Reindeer Games farm to life. As we traveled around, from the cafe to the guest house, from the forest of trees to the entrance gate, and even Holly’s parent’s house and the reindeer stable. Pictures formed immediately in my mind. I could almost smell the hot chocolate, the cookies and the pine trees. Her writing style makes it easy and fun to escape right into the story.
The author has also created some fantastic characters. Holly is a strong women growing through a huge change. Her life is not going how she planned and soon realizes she is happy the wedding was called off. Her parents are very supportive. I like that she thinks of her dad as her personal Paul Bunyan. Her mother can be found in the cafe kitchen baking up cookies and whoopie pies, always there to talk. Holly thinks she got her creative side from her mother. Delores Cutter, known to everyone as “Cookie” has quite a past but now she runs the Holiday Mouse Christmas Craft Shop on the farm and has a pet goat named Theodore, after her late husband. Be prepared to laugh, this lady is a hoot and a holler. We also meet Sheriff Evan Gray, a transplant from Boston. He came to town hoping for a slower life never expecting to have to deal with a murder in Mistletoe.
This mystery is very well written with a blizzard of twists, a couple were downright chilly. With Holly not being home for a long time and the sheriff new to the community everyone seemed to be a a suspect. Holly knew her parents had nothing to do with the murder but she knew it had to be someone who knew their way around the farm. I was right there along with Holly tried to solve whodunit.
This is a terrific holiday mystery. Fix yourself a cup of hot chocolate, grab some frosted sugar cookies, and curl up in your favorite cozy spot and enjoy! I sure did!
About the Author
Jacqueline Frost is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Jacqueline is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”