by Terell Byrd
Details on how to win a copy of the fun Christmas mystery novel Herald of Death at the end of this review!
My mother would have loved the painting on the cover of this book. A Christmas card scene of snow, greenery, a horse and sleigh in front of a lovely building in the countryside; the drawing would have been a centerpiece on our mantle. My father did not care for snow scenes. He said that he had shoveled too much of it to enjoy looking at it. Our heroine, Cecily Sinclair Baxter, is not enjoying the beauty of the winter scene outside the windows of the Pennyfoot Hotel. She wants it to stop snowing and quickly thaw so that she can accommodate all of the paying guests she is expecting for the holiday season. The Pennyfoot has a lovely view of the ocean and people come to the more temperate coast for the outdoor activities and indoor evening entertainment that Cecily is famous for.
Cecily almost forgets about her weather woes when the local constable comes to ask for her help in solving two murders. The killings took place in daylight, in the open, with a different weapon each time and there are no clues to the killer’s identity left behind. There are no apparent links between the victims except that each is missing a lock of hair and has a golden Christmas Angel sticker on their forehead. The problem is that Cecily promised her husband, Hugh Baxter, that she would give up sleuthing if he would pass up a career move that would require them to travel the world setting up hotels. She wanted to stay at her beloved Pennyfoot enough to give up solving crime and fears a permanent rift in her marriage if she breaks her promise.
Bodies begin to pile up under the mistletoe and Cecily has to try to stop the maniac before the little town of Badgers End is decimated and all of the hotel reservations are canceled.
I love reading stories set during the winter holiday season. I have a collection of books in a box stored with the Christmas ornaments. This book has both mystery and romance set in the early twentieth century. The side stories of people who work at the hotel are marvelous. Will the very young housemaid who adores the groom lose him to his former love who is visiting the hotel for the holidays? What exactly is the history of the handyman who seems to have a lot of education for a fixit man? Will Gertie find true love and a father for her twins? You will have to read the book to find out!
Kingsbury has seven Pennyfoot Hotel mysteries set at Christmas time. There are another twelve that take place during other times of the year. That leaves me plenty of reading until the next holiday volume comes out!
To enter to win a copy of Herald of Death, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Herald”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 17, 2011. U.S. residents only.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.