Place: Mistletoe, Maine
People: Holly White and her parents, owners of Reindeer Games Tree Farm. Sheriff Evan Grey, a new recruit to Mistletoe, formerly a detective in Boston. Margaret Fenwick, head of the Mistletoe Historical Society and a thorn in the side of many town business owners. Delores “Cookie” Cutter, a longtime friend of the White family and the operator of the gift shop at the Tree Farm.
Plot: Heartbreak right before her Christmas Eve wedding drove Holly and her rescue cat, Cindy Lou Who, home to the small historic town of Mistletoe, Maine. Thankfully, the hustle and bustle of the annual Reindeer Games at the family’s Christmas tree farm promise to keep Holly busy enough so she won’t wallow in mystery for the holiday. But when Holly finds the body of the local Grinch – Margaret Fenwick – in one of the farm’s sleighs, her wishes for a happy holiday are threatened – as is the viability of her family’s business, which depends on the success of sales in the days before Christmas. Despite warnings and wishes from Sheriff Grey, Holly can’t leave the investigation alone. The murder took place on her family’s farm and she can’t believe someone in their small town would be capable of killing. But solving the mystery might be the least of Holly’s worries when the killer seems to turn his aim to her.
Perspective: In a word, this book is delightful. We readers must be on the nice list in order to have been gifted with such a present! Jacqueline Frost displays an impressive holiday spirit filled with bright and imaginative descriptions of activities at the fictional Reindeer games Tree Farm that will send Christmas lovers searching for some way to celebrate like the White family. The story is a joy to read and a challenging puzzle to solve all wrapped up for the holiday season.
About the Book: When Holly White’s fiance cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime–exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.
When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn’t watch out, she’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.