by Kathleen Costa
This week we have 3 more Christmas mysteries by Kathi Daley-Fourth Victim: A Writers’ Retreat Mystery and The Christmas Letter: A Tess and Tilly Mystery in this post, and Reindeer Roundup in a separate post with a guest post by Kathi. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either print or kindle copies of both of these books, and links to purchase them from Amazon.
Fourth Victim: A Writers’ Retreat Mystery by Kathi Daley
Review by Kathleen Costa
It is an intriguing premise that writers of different ages known to write in different genres would live, work, and collaborate together on several cold cases from a few years old to decades past bringing to justice the killers and providing closure to family and friends. Contributing additional facts, perspectives, and maybe a red herring or two, we have a quirky set of support characters: townsfolk from shop owners to law enforcement to a squawking parrot and a ghost (well, that’s what Gertie says). The group’s investigative projects have popped up accidentally with a curious murder linked to a past unsolved crime (First Case), discovery of a body thought to have been the killer in another cold case (Second Look), or just a writer’s interest in a suspicious overdose (Third Strike). All of this works well as each member of the group uses their individual talents with input from a variety of sources, even putting someone in jeopardy, to uncover the truth behind the mystery ‘du jour.’ And this new project (Fourth Victim) literally came up by accident.
Introduced in Third Strike, Jill Hanford, investigative reporter turned proprietor of the Turtle Cove Resort, is given a box construction crews found hidden in the wall during renovations of one of the resort’s cabins. Inside the box she finds several love letters penned fifty-years ago, a photograph of a young couple, and a locket. Basic information had already been discovered in the previous story—Francine K. had spent time at the resort in 1963 to 1964 while her husband was serving in Vietnam, but the letters were not from her husband. The mystery turns into a murder investigation when it is discovered in 1964 Francine Kettleman was found strangled not far from the resort, her body found in a cemetery. The FBI at the time determined she was the fourth victim of the Silk Stalking Stranger, a serial killer in the 1960s that had never been caught. Jill and the Mastermind Mystery Group aren’t convinced of the FBI’s conclusions because of anomalies not matching the killer’s signature behaviors and decide to investigate on their own.
Wow! Quickly having become a favorite Kathi Daley series, the mystery is always fun to follow with the clever title references to the number of the books. I enjoy the manner in which the clues are revealed through conversations and research, including a few squawks and messages from beyond, and although my inner detective was greatly entertained, it was challenged, too. Beyond the mystery, I love the camaraderie between the writers, plans for the Christmas holidays, the continuing relationship between “Jack and Jill,” and Jill’s interest in unmasking the local Secret Santa. Life changing decisions loom and revisiting old wounds of her distant mother plague Jill who has been showing signs that a small community and close circle of friends may be more enjoyable and rewarding, but the lure of the big city still looms.
Fourth Victim earns 5+/5 Boxes of Suspicious Letters…Delightfully Devious!
The Christmas Letter: A Tess and Tilly Mystery by Kathi Daley
Review by Kathleen Costa
2017 has been the “Year of the New Series” for Kathi Daley in which she has penned three new entertaining storylines and wonderful characters for fans to enjoy. In May, she introduced the Writer’s Retreat series with First Case following a group of writers at a South Carolina resort collaborating on cold case investigations, and the fifth book, Fifth Night, will be released in late January 2018. In November, we head on up to Alaska with Finding Justice in her Rescue Alaska Mystery following a young woman who, with the ability to sense people in danger, works with the local search and rescue group while running an animal rescue shelter. The second book Finding Answers is set to release in March 2018. And just in time for Christmas we have another exciting new series! On December 1, The Christmas Letter from her Tess and Tilly Cozy Mystery series was released taking us on a new journey with residents of White Eagle, Montana. Fans of Kathi Daley are never, ever, ever without a marvelous adventure to read!
Ok, the temperatures are well on their way to zero, but Tess Thomas does not let that slow her down from “the swift completion of [her] appointed rounds.” Yes, she is the local postmistress, and alongside Tilly her dog, she delivers letters, packages, and a bit of gossip. But, murder, too? At her final stop for the day Tess and Tilly discover a little kitten tangled up in fishing line and…a dead body on the floor! Wow, just what fans enjoy the most, and Kathi ‘delivers’ with her signature clever mystery and more than one holding onto secrets. The murder rocks the small community, and when her BFF’s boyfriend Donny is arrested, and adding a surprising twist to the character dynamics, is also Tess’s own former boyfriend. Tess works methodically with friends and family to uncover the truth, always putting someone into jeopardy, and ending with a “What? I didn’t see that coming!”
Kathi’s characters are always entertaining and very important in her work. She gives us a tight knit group of family and friends in a small town with everyone looking forward to the Christmas Festival…her holiday settings are always very popular. There’s Tess’s widowed mom who owns the neighborhood café with Tess’s aunt and brother Mike who is a police detective and BFF Bree who runs the local bookstore. Intertwined are quirky shop owners, uppity entitled, and romance! Kathi must be a romantic herself to do so well matching the perfect, often opposite, partnerships. The old veterinarian has retired and his son Brady has taken over the practice: handsome, funny, and just what the doctor ordered. I highly recommend Kathi Daley’s work and especially this new series.
The Christmas Letter earns 5+/5 Entertaining Beginnings…and Murder!
To enter to win either a print or kindle copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “more kathi christmas,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 23, 2017. U.S. residents only for the print copy. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR KINDLE.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
You can use these links to purchase these books from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. 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.