On the second day of Christmas, my editorial assistants bring you “Death, Snow and Mistletoe,” a blast from the past—circa Y2K! This book may be 20-plus years old, but it ‘s new to me, so why not give it a whirl? Also, it only cost me a buck, so why not add another paperback to my teetering stack of unread books. It’s a sickness, I tell you!
Either way, this was a fun read that fit all the criteria for the tried-and-true cozy mystery formula: A wayward 30-something lady who’s unlucky in love and living in a small town far removed from her big city life; a cute little kitty cat who keeps her company on those lonely single-lady nights; a bunch of colorful, quirky townsfolk, and a quaint village that goes above and beyond with cutesy holiday festivities. Most importantly, there’s a dead body—actually multiple dead bodies—which makes it double the fun! Someone is bumping off the ol’ ladies who are starring in the town Christmas play—gasp! There’s also a missing toddler, a missing child cold case and all sorts of creepy Yuletide shenanigans.
There’s a lot going on in this mystery, which kept the pace moving along at a fast clip. The main character Tori Miracle seems likeable enough, but I didn’t really appreciate her comments about heavyset women, and I especially didn’t enjoy her mentionings of things being “politically correct.” That subversive term really sets me on edge, especially when it’s applied to fur coats. Don’t even get me on my soapbox about that one!
Also, while I’m griping here, I fear for this small Pennsyvlania town because the only qualified lawman is on a long sabbatical, and the others left at the cop shop are inept, sniveling imbeciles! I mean, yeah, Lucious, you are probably right that you will lose your job because you are sorely unqualified! If you have to rely on a small town newspaper editor to do your police work, something is wrong. Very wrong.
And then there’s the gimmicky names. Why oh why do all the characters other than Tori have the strangest, impossible to pronounce names? I see this as lazy writing for authors who don’t want to bother fleshing out characters, so they just slap a gimmick on them and call it a day. Read a John Green book for more examples on that subject.
Lastly, the kitty needed a bigger part! And when he was allegedly kidnapped—or catnapped, I should say—Tori didn’t put much effort into the search. I’d be going nuts and driving my car around the neighborhood all day and night if my Lil Bootz was wandering the streets, but that’s just me.
OK, I promise I’m done griping. I just needed to get that all off my chest! All of those minor grievances aside, this is a solid mystery with a lot of layers. I had fun trying to figure it out and was taken by surprise in the end!