‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas (Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Setting – Maine
Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 309 pages
Kindle ASIN: B078LZ5T7X
It’s out of the cupcake tin, into the fire for Holly White’s best friend, Caroline. Can Holly clear Caroline’s name in time to go caroling?
When a body turns up in a larger-than-life candy bowl filled with peppermints on the town square, Holly White is horrified to learn her best friend Caroline is the main suspect. Everyone in town, including Mistletoe, Maine’s sheriff, saw Caroline fighting with the victim on the night of his death. Worse, a custom kitchen knife, engraved with Caroline’s initials was found with him.
Now, just ten days before Christmas, Holly’s up to her jingle bells in holiday shenanigans and in desperate need of a miracle. Juggling extra shifts at her family’s Christmas tree farm and making enough gingerbread jewelry to satisfy the crowd is already more than she can handle―and now she has to find time to clear her best friend of murder. Add in her budding relationship with the sheriff, and a personal stalker dressed as Santa Claus, and Holly’s ready to fly south until springtime.
But her Sherpa-lined mittens come off when Caroline is taken into custody. Can Holly wrap up the case in time for Christmas…even after she gains the true killer’s attention?
Mistletoe, Maine, the perfect place to celebrate Christmas. Holly White’s family’s tree farm is a magical place this time of year with its Reindeer Games. All kinds of treats and festivities are planned and a contractor named Christopher has promised their new inn will be ready to open by Christmas Eve.
The first big Mistletoe event is the annual tree lighting. Everyone is gathered in the town square but when the big moment arrives the night turns from Merry to Scary. There, next to the tree is a huge candy dish full of peppermint candies and a dead body. The man was stabbed with a monogrammed custom made knife. A knife that belongs to Holly’s best friend Caroline. The deceased is the same man that got handsy with Caroline at a recent dinner and the whole town was witness to her dressing him down. With all the evidence it isn’t long before Caroline is behind bars. Holly knows her friend is no killer, she just has to prove it. But the killer is watching every move Holly makes and leaving her special warning gifts. When the gifts escalate to real harm Holly just hopes she will survive until the killer is caught.
I loved the first book in this series, Twelve Slays of Christmas last year, so I put this book on my reading calendar several months ago. I was so excited to start reading and the author exceeded all my expectations.
The White family are such wonderful characters. They make everyone feel right at home and try to make their tree farm experience as merry as possible. Holly hands her hands full as she has been put in charge of all the building choices for the new inn, in addition to helping her mother in the cafe and making her glass jewelry, a business that has really taken off.
I wanted to sit back with a couple of cups of hot chocolate and savor my visit to Mistletoe, but there is so much happening that was impossible. The author sets a brisk pace and fully draws the reader in. Chasing down clues, running from a creepy Claus, keeping up with the tourists, Holly takes us on a wild ride, at times literally! The pages were flying.
Ms. Frost’s descriptions really take us there. A sleigh ride around the tree farm was described in such vivid detail, I was enjoying the scenery and after a scary moment, I was feeling chilled to the bone and was pulling a blanket over myself. The blindfolded games played were also described so well. I easily pictured what was happening and was laughing at loud. Great ideas for family get-togethers too. I also enjoyed the details along the way as the inn neared completion and the entire subplot was heartwarming. I am ready to call in my reservation today.
This was an exciting holiday read, cozy mystery lovers will be overjoyed. It will also get you truly into the holiday spirit. Fun and entertaining, a book you will not want to put down. I loved it and I can’t wait for next year. I already have saved a date on my calendar and added this story to my Best Reads List for 2018.
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.”