Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to welcome Richard back to Escape With Dollycas today and be the 1st stop on his Great Escapes Tour!
My Many Merrie Christmases
by Richard Audry
In my newest mystery, Andy Skyberg and his crime-sniffing pooch King Harald end up snowbound at a resort that’s hosting a Holiday Faire. I had fun creating the list of vendors, packing their booths with tempting foodstuffs and merchandise for holiday giftgiving. With my head so much into Christmas festivities, I did some timetripping back to my younger holiday seasons.
My mother Merrie has been gone for quite a while. But I catch myself thinking about her almost every day. She was a great mother, a super wife (she and my dad were head-over-heels from beginning to end), a nurse anesthetist, and a stalwart friend to everyone she cared about. A fun, smart, classy lady who liked her smokes and her Martinis at the end of a busy day. For the most part, she didn’t have any hobbies. But there was one exception.
Merrie was a Christmas tree nut. She positively adored all the fuss and trappings that went with putting up a ceiling-scraping pine, spruce, or fir. And from my very earliest memories of her, I recall her ardently shopping for pretty and colorful decorations—from tinsel and those old classic Polish bulbs to novelty figures and commemorative decorations. She wouldn’t stop until the tree was pretty much totally encrusted with sparkly, glinty, colorful stuff.
A lot of the decorations she put up were, of course, commercial products. She was on the prowl all year round for Christmas tree ornaments in stores and catalogs. And every succeeding holiday season another dozen or so items would find their way onto the tree. When I was a teenager and older, I added to the trove by gifting her with gold-plated and silver Metropolitan Museum of Art snowflakes and stars. That became an annual tradition.
But the decorations she most treasured were the ones with personal meaning. My dad’s red bell that he bought when he was a kid. My pathetic little cardboard Christmas tree that I made in first or second grade.
Toward the end of her life, Merrie’s tree was truly a spectacular sight. I’m not simply being a loyal son when I say that I’ve rarely seen a more gorgeous Christmas tree. The photo here is of the decorations she (mostly) acquired.
After she was gone, the family tree was transferred from the apartment where she and my Dad had lived to our new house. For a couple of decades, my wife and I hauled out the ornament boxes in early December, assembled the artificial tree, and spent a few hours trimming it. Often, we’d invite friends or family to help, capping off the evening with a nice supper and holiday music.
Then one year my wife and I were going through an over-busy and over-stressed period and decided not to put the tree up—opting for a few choice decorations around the living room. And thus we dropped the Christmas tree ball, so to speak. We eventually sold the artificial tree at a yard sale, and stashed the ornament boxes away.
But lately, my Merrie’s old decorations, sitting in two big red boxes in the basement, seem to be calling to us. Maybe this year we’ll find a nice fir or spruce and adorn the branches with all of those wonderful ornaments my mother loved so much. We’ll have ourselves a “Merrie” Christmas once again.
What a wonderful post Richard!!
King Harald’s Snow Job (King Harald Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Conger Road Press (August 1, 2017)
Paperback: 302 pages
E-Book ASIN: B0747QWYLZ
It’s early December and Andy Skyberg is itching to blow town for a weekend of holiday cheer with old friends—including a date with an attractive divorcée who thinks he’s hot.
But first, Aunt Bev needs a teensy bit of help. She’s managing the Girls’ Weekend Out event at the Beaver Tail Resort and could use some extra muscle. Andy figures he can spare a few hours before hitting the road.
Mother Nature, though, has other plans. A giant blizzard makes an unexpected turn. Andy and his pooch King Harald find themselves snowbound—in a hotel full of hard-partying women, stranded travelers, a hockey team, a man-eating novelist, a belligerent blogger, and one violent, devious jewel thief.
Before you know it, man and mutt are up to their noses in another case. It’s a winter wonderland of fast-paced fun and merry madness, as the sleuthing duo dig out from King Harald’s Snow Job.
King Harald is a very special canine, “part Chesapeake and part moose”. He stole my heart in the first book, The Karma of King Harald, and still holds his place two books later. In King Harald’s Snow Job. Andy and King Harald have a plan for their weekend that is blown away by a huge blizzard leaving them stuck at the Beaver Tail Resort. They are joined by a bunch of women at the resort for a Girls’ Out Weekend, an author debuting her new book, a crazy fan of the author, a hockey team, many stranded travelers, and a jewel THIEF! Unbeknownst to Andy, King Harald will play a key role in the return of the jewel. Maybe just in time for Andy to save just a little bit of his weekend plans.
Here is Wisconsin we know all about snow and blizzards that drop several unexpected inches so I can sympathize with Andy. At least her wasn’t trapped alone and the resort had plenty of food and drink available. Except his was pulled right into the investigation, something he had hoped to avoid.
Richard Audry has plowed Andy right into the middle of everything happening and takes us along for a delightful ride in mostly organized chaos. Andy arrives to help his Aunt Bev for just a few hours and he watches the snow just keep coming down. Of course, Harald loves the snow and does all he can when let outside to run and frolic and even take off on his merry way leaving Andy to venture out in the cold himself. Funny how dogs get their way leaving their persons behind. The author does fill the story with quite of bit of humor, some of it comes from getting Harald’s own point of view on several situations. Some are laugh out loud funny and also have me wondering just what my own dogs are thinking sometimes around here.
The good thing about investigating the jewel theft is that it is pretty safe to assume the culprit is trapped in the hotel like everyone else. The bad thing is that the theyr could be absolutely anyone trapped in the hotel. Several twists reveal things that start to eliminate suspects but the climatic reveal took me by surprise. Mr. Audry does an excellent job of snowing us readers and diverting our attention elsewhere until the end.
The characters that join Andy in this story are all unique and so well written. I could see each and every one clearly in my mind. The resort and the weather were aptly described too forming very clear visualizations. Again, I am very familiar with the weather, but I found myself reaching for a blanket soon after beginning this story and it really wasn’t chilly outside. 🙂
Mr. Audry is a wonderful storyteller. You will quickly find yourself immersed in this book and will have a difficult time putting in down. With winter coming fast this would be a fun book to read curled up by the fire. Mystery, comedy, great characters, all in a setting full of snow, do add up to a perfect escape and one I highly recommend!
About The Author –
Richard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. In addition to his career as a journalist and copywriter, D. R. has written a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction. His current projects include a fantasy adventure trilogy, a canine cozy mystery series, and historical mysteries set at the turn of the last century.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/richardaudryauthor/
Webpage – http://drmartinbooks.com/
TOUR PARTICIPANTS Please visit all the stops.
November 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY
November 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 3 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
November 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
November 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
November 6 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT
November 6 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
November 7 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW
November 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 8 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
November 8 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
November 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
November 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
November 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
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.”