by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen and a link to purchase it.
You can never have too much holiday spirit: that’s the philosophy of the residents of Rudolph, New York, where Christmas is celebrated throughout the year and is the theme for attracting tourists to its Yule-themed stores and restaurants. As the new owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson is disheartened when her decorated float stalls out and is disqualified during the town’s semiannual Santa Claus parade. The news that it may have been an act of intentional sabotage is overshadowed by the death of a famous travel magazine journalist, poisoned by a tainted gingerbread cookie.
Having lost both a relationship and her dream job at a Manhattan magazine in one fell swoop, Merry returned home to Randolph to fully embrace the town’s holiday spirit. With her best friend’s bakery on the line as the one responsible for providing the fatal treat, Merry is fully invested in who seems intent on destroying Rudolph’s Yuletide joy. British reporter Nigel Pearce managed to alienate more than a few locals, although nearby Muddle Harbor and their “Muddites” have no little amount of antipathy toward the neighbors they believe are stealing tourists away and bankrupting their town.
This absolutely charming debut mystery series by the author of the Lighthouse Mystery Series as well as the Constable Molly Smith Series succeeds in deftly avoiding cozy mystery clichés or expected stereotypes. Her characters are fully formed and entirely realistic, with even the most unlikable personalities revealing moments of vulnerability.
Delany crafts an entire history for the town of Rudolph, where an unfortunate discovery put an end to its appeal as a patriotic commemorative destination, forcing them to rebuild around the Christmas holiday and a more appealing reindeer namesake. Merry is a standout as a protagonist; she is extremely smart, funny, and occasionally exasperated by her loving and exuberant parents. Just as refreshing is that a hinted-at love triangle avoids eye-rolling pitfalls by all being so skittish that they can barely begin a rivalry. Witty writing, an unexpected solution, and truly likable characters ensure that the appeal of this holiday-themed series will last long past the Yule season.
To enter to win a copy of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Gentlemen,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 5, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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