Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to have Vicki Delany stop by for a visit today!
The Fun of Creating a Whole New Town
By Vicki Delany
(Post provided by Publicist)
What power we writers have. We can create whole towns, populate them with only the people we want, we can play with their minds, and think: What’s the worst thing that could happen to this person at this time.
And then do it!
Case in point: my Year Round Christmas Series from Berkley. When I was tossing around the idea of a Christmas-theme-shop book, the first thing I had to consider was if it would be a shop in a nice, typical town. Or in a town totally dedicated to Christmas.
It didn’t take long to decide on the latter, and Rudolph, New York was born. In Rudolph, they love Christmas so much they celebrate it all year round.
Now, I had my town, so I had to fill it with something. Mrs. Claus’s Treasures sells everything you need for decorating your home, as well as toys and jewelry, and many of the goods are locally made. Victoria’s Bake Shoppe is famous for its gingerbread. There’s Candy Cane Sweets, the North Pole Ice Cream Parlour, The Elves Lunchbox, Cranberries Coffee Bar, Touch of Holly Restaurant, The Yuletide Inn, the Carolers Motel. The possibilities are endless. (Looking at this list it seems as though the residents and visitors to Rudolph like to eat a lot.)
Then we need people. Merry Wilkinson is the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. Merry’s father, Noel, is the town’s, Santa Claus. Merry knows her dad isn’t really Santa, but sometimes she does wonder how he knows what people want before they so much as say so. Merry’s best friend, Vicky, owns the bakery.
The fondest wish of the residents of Rudolph is to be known officially as America’s Christmas Town. But they have tough competition from the likes of Snowflake, Arizona or North Pole, Alaska. In the first book of the series, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, they’re delighted when a reporter from an international travel magazine arrives to do a feature he is going to title “America’s Christmas Town”.
Delight changes to something else when the reporter dies from eating a poisoned gingerbread cookie baked at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe. And rivals from a nearby town begin to whisper the worst: Christmas Town or Horrorville?
In the third book, Hark the Herald Angels Slay, it’s July and time for Santa’s annual vacation at the lake, and the town organizes a boat parade to greet him. But Merry Wilkinson, playing Mrs. Claus, has forgotten the basket of candy canes at the shop and hurries back to get them. Where she finds that someone has used a Christmas tree decoration with evil intent.
I’ve had great fun creating Rudolph and it’s inhabitants, and I hope you enjoy reading about their adventures.
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Vicki!
Hark the Herald Angels Slay (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 28, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B06XFFNS2M
The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.
In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.
It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.
I love this series sooooo much!
This time Santa is on his summer holiday at the beach in Rudolph. It’s Christmas in July and the town celebrates it up big. A magazine has even sent a crew to cover the event, the publication Merry used to work for, meaning her ex Max Folger is in Rudolph. She quickly sees he is there to try to win her back and using the promotion of the celebration to do it. When his current fiancé arrives in Rudolph she is not happy. Her mind should be on finalizing their wedding plans not him on a date with Merry.
Merry has too much on her plate to worry about the sparing couple. Santa is due to arrive by boat soon and she is his Mrs.Claus. She never expected the scene she found back at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures after the parade. Max dead and her assistant missing. The last thing Rudolph needs is another murder! Could Jackie have killed Max and gone into hiding? Things will not be merry until the killer is caught.
Rudolph is full of Christmas spirit in December, in July, and all the other months of the year too. It is also the perfect setting for this cozy mystery series. The author takes us on a real journey around town with her words. There may not be any snow this time but the town is decked out in all it’s holiday trimmings. Just stepping into Mrs. Claus’s Treasures is so much fun. I enjoy the way Merry’s dad, Noel, rearranges the stock every time he comes into the store. I had a vivid picture in my mind as he moves the table settings from a focal point in the store to showcase more Christmas ornaments instead. Merry tries to get him to leave things alone but lets him do whatever he wants. He is Santa after all.
As you can see the setting feeds right in me telling you about these extraordinary characters. The relationship Merry has with her father is absolutely joyous, and they both know how to handle her mother. Jackie is unique in that she is so good with the customers but she has what I would call a strained relationship with her boss, Merry. Woodworker Alan Anderson is back too, working as Santa’s elf and trying to find time to actually go on a real date with Merry. All the characters we meet in Rudolph are entertaining but some are not entirely likable. The crew from the magazine brings all the drama to the story. It starts and ends with them.
I think the mystery in this story was the best one in this series. A murder and a missing person and a bunch of out of towners that had their own agendas. It was complex and Merry seemed to be drawn right into it no matter how hard she tried to leave it to the police. The pace of the story had a slow build that leads to a surprising conclusion that did make sense but the actual killer was never on my radar.
This is a fabulous series, book 1, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, was a perfect escape, and book 2, We Wish You a Murderous Christmas, made my Best Reads List in 2016, This one will find a place on my Best Rests of 2017. For maximum enjoyment, I suggest to start at the beginning, but if you are feeling ready for some warmer temps this Christmas season, escape to Christmas in July in Rudolph. It will warm you right up!
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Most recently, she is the author of the Year Round Christmas cozy mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime and (writing under the pen name of Eva Gates) the Lighthouse Library mysteries also from Berkley and the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries for Crooked Lane Books. Find out more about Vicki Delany on her webpage here.
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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.”