I love this series and was shocked a couple of weeks ago when I realized I had not read Dying in a Winter Wonderland as soon as it was released. I was driving myself a little crazy trying to figure out how I missed this book. Well, then I realized it was released when I was in the middle of my cancer treatments. I had started reading it but didn’t finish it because of a short hospital stay. My chemo brain was in full effect at that time too. When I opened the book on my Kindle it was on Chapter Six. Apparently, I started a new book and didn’t remember to finish this one. So I backed it up and started from the beginning. I apologize to Vicki for my delayed review.
The next book Have Yourself A Deadly Little Christmas is being released on September 19.
Dying in a Winter Wonderland (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
5th in Series
Setting – New York
Berkley (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593197062
ISBN-13 : 978-0593197066
Kindle ASIN : B0838K67C9
In the town of Rudolph, New York, the Christmas season should make spirits bright, but as the year comes to an end, so does a life, in the fifth installment of this charming cozy mystery series.
Christmas has arrived in Rudolph, New York, and Merry Wilkinson is looking forward to a much-needed rest. But before that can happen, Luanne Ireland walks through her door. Luanne had asked Merry to help make decorations for her wedding but has suddenly moved the wedding months earlier and is now demanding that everyone follow her lead, regardless of the cost.
But that cost is much higher than anyone anticipated. When Luanne’s fiancé is found murdered at their proposed wedding venue, Merry resolves to restore peace and calm to the community of Rudolph. But the closer she gets to the killer, the more personal the case becomes, and Merry begins to worry that a death knell could ring in the New Year.
We arrive in Rudolph, New York, just in time for Christmas Eve and Merry is looking forward to a little relaxation after the holidays. Then, Luanne Ireland comes into the shop bubbling with excitement. She had asked Merry to do the decorations for her wedding and now instead of a summer wedding, she wants to get married on Valentine’s Day. “What could be more romantic?” Luanne even wants Merry to tell her family, groom, and future in-laws it was her idea.
Life with Luanne is never easy but Merry didn’t think Luanne’s groom would be murdered at the Yuletide Inn, their future wedding venue the day after Christmas. She also didn’t expect her brother to be a prime suspect in his death. That makes the murder personal for Merry and she finds herself right in the middle of another investigation. She hopes to help wrap up the case and prove her brother’s innocence before the residents of Rudolph ring in the New Year but the killer may have other plans.
I love the Wilkerson family. Merry Wilkerson owns Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, her mother Aline is a retired opera diva and her father Noel is the former mayor and performs all Santa Claus duties needed all year long. She has sisters Eve and Carol and a brother Chris. Chris plays a major role in this story. Her best friend, Vicky, owns Victoria’s Bakeshop. She helps Merry do some sleuthing whenever she can. I love the way Merry’s relationship with Alan has grown. They are truly perfect for each other. Most of the core characters in this series are engaging and genuine. There are a few that are a little prickly and spirited but not in a good way.
The crazy quirky of this cozy mystery comes from the characters introduced in this story. Luanne is something else. She can test a person’s patience and has total disregard for others. Thankfully Merry and her brother Chris are kind and patient people. Luanne’s family, her groom before his death, his ex, and his family are also in their own worlds doing what is best for themselves at all times. I will say that they do deliver some wonderful comedic moments throughout the story.
The mystery was complicated and full of surprises. Merry’s investigation even takes her, Vicky, and the loveable Mattie, Merry’s St. Bernard, to the neighboring town of Muddle Harbor as they try to dig up some dirt while trying to tie some clues together. Merry works so hard, asking questions and keeping her ears open for any detail that will point her in the right direction. Ms. Delany gives her readers presents with plenty of twists and turns and I did my darndest to keep up with each one of them and failed. I had my A-Ha-Moment right along with Merry. There were several possible suspects and the actual killer didn’t even make my list. That made the final chapters very exciting as a dangerous showdown played out.
I love the theme of this series and the setting of Rudolph. All the Christmas themed places and events are so delightful.
Dying in a Winter Wonderland is a fun, entertaining, and merry read. It is a Perfect Escape and perfect to read at any time of year, even now when we are creeping toward 100 degrees here in Wisconsin. Vicki Delany is a fabulous storyteller and I have fun escaping into anything she writes. I am very excited that the next book in this series, Have Yourself A Deadly Little Christmas will be released on September 19.
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About the Author
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.”