Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
It is my pleasure to welcome Vicki Delany to
Escape With Dollycas today!
Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas
(Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
by Vicki Delany
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks for asking. I am the author of more than 50 published books. Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas will be the 52nd. I started my career writing standalone suspense and police procedurals. Now I write cozies. I have four cozy series currently running: The Year-Round Christmas series, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop books, and the Tea by the Sea mysteries, as well as the Lighthouse Library series I write under the pen name of Eva Gates. I live in Prince Edward County Ontario and I am a past chair of the Crime Writers of Canada.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
Hard to say. I’m rather an open book. However:
I am an extreme introvert, which some people find surprising. Introvert doesn’t mean shy, remember.
I wasn’t a cat person until I had to look after my daughters’ (plural) cats (plural) for several months and I decided I like cats a great deal.
I don’t have a pet because I travel too much.
What books/authors have most inspired you?
None? Okay, not exactly none. I have done location research for books in places I’ve never been or haven’t been recently, such as going to Cape Cod for the Sherlock Holmes and Tea by the Sea mysteries, and the Outer Banks for the Lighthouse Library series. Which is always great fun. In October I’m going to the UK, for location research for both the Tea by the Sea series and the next Sherlock book as I plan to set books from those series in Halifax and London, respectively. I have done research into killing methods, poison in particular. The eleventh Lighthouse Library book (coming 2025) is all about art, so I did some research into 19th-century American impressionism.
The plot of Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas is about an amateur theatrical production of the musical version of A Christmas Carol. I’m very familiar with the book but have never seen that adaption, so I watched several versions of it on YouTube.
Other than the travel, I don’t start any research until I’m well into the book and discover what I need to know, that I don’t.
Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?
When I originally took creative writing, I was told there’s no such thing. It’s a job. Do it. Plumbers don’t get plumbers’ block. So, no. I don’t. I have good writing days and bad writing days, but I wouldn’t call that Writer’s Block.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I have two pieces of advice which I give regularly:
- Read and read a lot. You can’t be a writer if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. Plus you need to know what’s popular and what’s being read these days
- Persistence is key. Keep on writing and keep on submitting.
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I do jigsaw puzzles. I work on one most days. I travel a lot. Usually two or three big trips a year as well as smaller trips to closer places.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
As it happens I’ve booked one of my dream destinations for next year. The Galapagos. Ten days on a boat touring the islands, preceded by nine days’ tour of Ecuador. Otherwise, I’m lucky enough to have been to a great many places all over the world, particularly in South and East Africa which I love. The only place I have not been where I’d particularly like to go is Antarctica.
Keep writing. I have continuing contracts for all my series, so I’m working on those. Between that, as I mentioned above, I’m off to England in October and Ecuador in January. The next book coming out, after Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas, is The Sign of Four Spirits, the 9th Sherlock Holmes Bookshop book which will be released next January.
Vicki, thank you so much for visiting. It is always fun to get to know the author of the books we love a bit better. I would love to stow away in your luggage to The Galapagos. It is one of my dream destinations too.
Now keep reading for my thoughts about Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas.
About Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas
Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas (Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – Rudolph New York
Crooked Lane Books (September 19, 2023)
Hardcover : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639104631
ISBN-13 : 978-1639104635
Digital ASIN : B0BQLJWBN4
It’s beginning to look a lot like murder in the sixth installment of this charming cozy mystery series, perfect for fans of Donna Andrews and Jacqueline Frost.
It’s the beginning of December in Rudolph, New York, America’s Christmas Town, and business is brisk at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, a gift and décor shop owned by Merry Wilkinson. The local amateur dramatic society is intensely preparing a special musical production of A Christmas Carol. But it’s not a happy set, as rivalries between cast and crew threaten the production.
Tensions come to a head when a member of the group is found dead shortly after a shopping excursion to Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. Was someone looking to cut out the competition? Everyone in the cast and crew is a potential suspect, including Aline, Merry’s mother, and Merry’s shop assistant Jackie O’Reilly, who was desperate for a starring role.
It could be curtains for Christmas—and for Merry—unless the killer can be ferreted out of the wings.
We are back in Rudolph, New York just in time for the Christmas holidays. Could there be a better place than America’s Christmas Town to celebrate in December? Merry Wilkinson’s Mrs. Claus’s Treasures is fully stocked for our shopping pleasure and Victoria’s Bake Shoppe always has something yummy to eat. The Rudolph Community Theater is almost ready for its performances of a musical version of A Christmas Carol. Merry’s mother, Aline is in the play and also helping the vocalists get ready for their big debut. Jackie O’Reilly, Merry’s shop assistant is in the chorus but is hoping for a bigger role. Merry’s dad is involved too, helping build and maintain the sets. Sadly, the rehearsals are not going well with tensions on the rise when some cast changes are proposed.
Then a member of the cast is murdered in Merry’s shop. The entire cast finds themselves on the list of suspects including Aline and Jackie. Christmas may not be merry and bright this year unless the killer is caught quickly and Merry is determined to do just that.
First, I have to say that I am so happy that Crooked Lane saw the promise of this series and has brought it back for us to enjoy. The Wilkerson family is so much fun and their stories were definitely not complete. The author has also written the story so new readers will be able to jump in with this book too.
Merry owns Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, a home decor and gift store. Her father Noel is the former mayor of Rudolph and performs all Santa Claus duties needed all year long. Mom, Aline is a retired opera diva who now gives vocal lessons. Merry’s boyfriend Alan Anderson, creates wonderful things with wood whether it be toys or furniture. His trains are a hot item at Merry’s Shop. He also plays elf/toymaker to Noel’s Santa at events all over town. All of Ms. Delany’s characters are well developed and feel so genuine. When I start reading it is truly like visiting old friends. I really enjoy Noel as he interacts with others. Merry has said she knows her dad isn’t really Santa Claus but some things that happen really make her wonder. Me too!
We meet several new characters in the members of the community theater. Some have been with the group for years and others are brand new. One of the new members brings money to the group and has new ideas which aren’t always needed. The interactions of the group were very interesting although at times pretty tense. The author did a wonderful job of making each of these characters unique. Like Paula Monahan and her son Eddie. Paula was cast to play Mrs. Cratchit and Eddie as an unusual Tiny Tim. Sadly, Paula was the killer’s victim.
The mystery of Paula’s murder has a lot of moving pieces with a plethora of suspects. With the murder taking place in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry is involved no matter what Detective Diane Simmonds has to say about it. Merry is a smart amateur sleuth but sometimes her BFF leads her a little bit astray. They are sure fun to follow. I do like that when they do find something relevant or something that may be relevant to the case, Merry shares that with the good detective. That does not mean Merry doesn’t find herself in a pickle when all the clues fall into place. Ms. Delany does fill the story with several twists and turns which set up an exciting showdown that ended in an absolutely perfect way.
Have Yourself A Deadly Little Christmas is a delightful story filled with engaging characters, a Christmas miracle moment or two, and a merry little mystery. Ms. Delany has infused her story with plenty of humor to balance out the drama. There was a remembrance that had me laughing out loud. Oh, the things Merry gets herself into. I am so excited this series has been allowed to continue. It will be so nice to visit America’s Christmas Town again next year. A great tradition.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
More About Vicki Delany
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. Author of more than fifty books, she is currently writing the Tea by the Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year-Round Christmas mysteries, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates). Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
September 11 – Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT
September 11 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST
September 12 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
September 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
September 15 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 15 – Bigreadersite – REVIEW
September 16 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
September 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 17 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 18 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 18 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 19 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 19 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
September 20 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
September 20 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST
September 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
September 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR 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.”