#FlashbackFriday – The Murder Before Christmas (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries) by Michele Pariza Wacek #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


The Murder Before Christmas (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Love-Based Publishing (November 2, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 205 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1945363320
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1945363320
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 205 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1945363304
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1945363306
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09H22K7LJ

If you’ve got a problem, Charlie Kingsley probably has a tea that’ll help make it right.

EXCEPT when it comes to love. She does NOT do love potions.

Not even for Courtney, her pregnant new client who showed up three weeks before Christmas seeking a love potion because her husband was cheating on her.

So, Courtney asked about poison, instead.

She said she was joking. That’s what happens between wives and husbands. They get angry and talk about killing each other. They don’t really mean it.

It seems to make sense … until Courtney’s husband turns up dead on Christmas Eve.

He was poisoned, of course.

And who is the number one suspect? Courtney. Of course.

But did she actually do it? Or is she being set up?

It’s up to Charlie to sort through all the twists and turns in a case that gets more complicated the deeper she digs.

Meet Charlie. Better known as “Aunt Charlie” from the award-winning Secrets of Redemption series. She’s back, making teas and solving cases in this funny, twisty, cozy mystery series set in the 1990s in Redemption, Wisconsin.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read the second book in this series as part of a Great Escapes Book Tour and enjoyed it but felt like I needed to get to know Charlie better. So I purchased this book to read before the third book in the series is released in April. Now I know Charlie a little bit better. She is a very smart woman with many talents. When she starts something she doesn’t give up.

Reading Ice Cold Murder I thought Charlie ran a tea shop in this series, I learned that is not the case, she runs a tea and tincture business out of her home. This is where a very pregnant Courtney comes and asks Charlie to create a love potion to make her husband fall back in love with her. After Charlie explains that she doesn’t make love potions Courtney turns the conversation sideways when she asks about poisons. But then quickly tells Charlie she was kidding. Charlie shakes it off until she learns that Courtney’s husband died on Christmas Eve and that he was poisoned. Courtney swears up and down she didn’t do it but can Charlie believe her? It would be quite a fluke if someone else did the deed but Charlie decides to investigate the crime herself. Either Courtney will end up behind bars or the real killer will. Charlie just needs to be careful or she could be the killer’s next victim.


Pat is the perfect sidekick for Charlie. She tries to reel her in if necessary but it is just as happy to jump in the car and tag along as Charlie visits her suspects. They work well bouncing ideas off each other too. I also liked the way Charlie bantered with Officer Wyle and the fact that he didn’t really tell her to butt out of his investigation and welcomed her input.

We also meet all the people in Courtney’s world. They developed satisfactorily over the course of the book. Some made really nice suspects.

The author has plotted out quite a mystery for Charlie. Courtney wants her help but doesn’t tell her the whole story. Courtney’s mother is happy Charlie is looking into the case but holds back important information. And that continues with almost everyone Charlie talks to, no one tells the full story and in many cases the truth or their observations are faulty. I felt for Charlie as she truly was running in circles and doing aerobics to get to the truth. It sure was fun to read though. I enjoyed all the twists and turns as everything was revealed and that the real culprit was a surprise.

Set in the 1990s it is great to harken back to the time when phones were hooked to the wall or on a desk and not in everyone’s pockets and to get somewhere you need actual directions.

The Murder Before Christmas is a fine holiday mystery that you can read at any time of the year. Charlie is a determined amateur sleuth and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of twisty mystery she gets wrapped up in next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent  

About the Author

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly. It took some time (and some detours) but she does spend much of her time writing stories now. Mystery stories to be exact, ranging from psychological thrillers to cozies, with a dash of romance and supernatural thrown into the mix. If that wasn’t enough, she also hosts a virtual book club you can check out and join (for free!) at MPWNovels.com.

Michele holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

Author Links
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Purchase Link – Amazon

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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.”