Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides By Barbara Allan: Review/Giveaway

Dec 1, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides along with a link to purchase the book from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

Christmas may come just once a year, but readers are treated to three delightful visits to the town of Serenity as it celebrates the Noel season. In this hilarious collection of Trash ‘n’ Treasures short stories, Brandy Borne and her exuberant mother Vivian manage to find themselves in the middle of murder investigations “assisting” the local Serenity sheriff (despite his repeated declarations to please stop) just as the Christmas holiday rolls in. Armed with a prescription for Prozac (if your mother was Vivian Borne you would need it too), Brandy and her diabetic-but-no-longer-blind shih tzu Sushi do what they can to catch criminals despite having the narration occasionally hijacked by Vivian and an increasingly exasperated editor reminding them to please stay on topic

mystery book  coverThe novella “Antiques Slay Ride” has the Borne women investigating the death of a Christmas decorations collector, with the ladies motivated not so much by the need for justice but by the lure of an extremely valuable collectible. “Antiques Fruitcake” finds Vivian in her element, writing and directing Serenity Playhouse’s original production of The Fruitcake That Saved Christmas. The title proves a wee bit ironic when poisoned fruitcake takes out the off-off-Broadway star Madeline de Morlaye (formerly known as Hildegard Gooch). Concluding the collection, “Antiques St. Nicked” finds Santa Claus dead in his sleigh, with treasures once more compelling the Borne women to test the sheriff’s patience and their ability to bend the law.

The combination of Christmas and murder has never been so much fun, nor such a perfect blend of hilarity and the warm sentiments of the season. Vivian and Brandy are mostly on their meds throughout the tales, but that never restricts their need to find answers (if they do so before law enforcement officials, all the better). Parenthetical asides that have Vivian and Brandy speaking directly to the reader – and often arguing with their editor – break down the fourth wall as they make Meta commentaries on the mystery genre as a whole. This is the perfect Christmas gift that lasts throughout the year, delivering more than its share of light-hearted entertainment and laugh-out-loud moments.

To enter to win a copy of Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “ho ho,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 8, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on iTunes and Google Play.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This one really looks good —thanks for all the info!

  2. I don’t remember if I have read any of this series. A novella would be a good starting point.

  3. I love this series. Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  4. Thanks for the contest. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. thanks for the review.
    kckendler at gmail dot com

  6. Sounds good. Would love to read it

  7. I am always on the look out for short story collections for my mother, 96, who has problems with large casts of characters.

    This sounds like it might be of interest to her.

    Thank you for your review and bringing it to my attention.

    Karenmayers at aol dot com

  8. This series sounds so good

  9. This sounds just like what the Dr. ordered. We all can use some laugh out loud moments. And a christmas mystery? Thanks for the chance! nschwenkner (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. These books are hilarious! I love the characters, their antics, and the problems they get into. You just never know what is going to happen next with those two.

  11. This series sounds so good. Can’t wait to read it

  12. Great cover!.sounds like another great Christmas story. Looking forward to reading.

  13. I’m not usually a fan of short stories, but since I’ve read all the books in this series I have all the background which enriches the reading of short stories I would like to give these a read.

  14. Thanks for introducing me to a new author! Love the book’s cover! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. We have a winner!


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