Sanity Clause by Steve Brewer: Novella Review

Dec 17, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Pat Browning

P.I. Bubba Mabry needs Christmas cash to buy his wife, a newspaper reporter, a laptop computer. He takes an undercover job at Albuquerque’s new mall, where all he has to do is monitor Santa’s workshop for shoplifters, pickpockets, lost kids and perverts posing as Santa. “Albuquerque loves the ‘new’ the way a monkey loves a shiny penny,” he says of the hordes flocking through the doors.

Unfortunately, Bubba has a Santa phobia dating back to when he was five years old. It gives him the creeps but that’s nothing when Daniel Gooch, the Santa team’s best man, is murdered. Santa? Murdered? It gives new meaning to the seasonal chaos.

Bubba’s wife Felicia, ever the intrepid reporter, shows up pen and notepad in hand, to interview Bubba. Gooch is big news, a famous inventor who gives all his money to charities and is a Christmas nut.

Bubba’s caught in a conflict of interest; can’t talk until okayed by the guy who hired him, the ever-smiling Milt Jablonski, head of mall security. Milt promptly fires him.

Everyone was after Gooch’s patents and money. His lawyer Marley plans to invoke a sanity clause in the will. Gooch’s much-married sister stands to inherit millions if the will is broken. Charities called Joyous Noises and the Holiday Food Bank will fold without Gooch’s money.

So who knocked off Gooch and tries to knock off Bubba? Good question. Sanity Claus is a short, lively read for anyone needing a break during the holiday rush.

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 rb@robinburcell.com or cindy@cindysamplebooks.com.

Pat Browning spent many years in the Valley working at various newspapers. Also a mystery writer, and contributor to our Mysteryrat’s Maze mystery section, and on the editorial staff, you can visit her blog.

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