24 September 2014
Small Town Mystery Dressed Up in Bows
Silent Knife, Shelley Freydont
In this second of the Celebration Bay cozy mysteries, town events' manager Liv Montgomery is overseeing what plans to be the most beautiful Christmas the town has known. The square will be nostalgically dressed for the holiday season and all sorts of events are planned, but there's one fly in the ointment: the tacky new Christmas shop that has opened right on the square, spoiling its cozy nostalgia with windows festooned with drunken reindeer, beer-belly Santas under palm trees, and other tacky and inappropriate decorations, with the proprietor a grumpy Scrooge of a woman. Just when the town inhabitants think things can't get any worse, the man the owner of the Christmas shop hired to play Santa Claus has his throat cut in the store during the town Christmas parade.
Freydont populates her town with people you'd love to know: the friendly bakery owner who cooks delicious treats (even for Liv's West Highland White terrier), the gregarious coffee shop owner, the nurturing quilt shop owner, the ex-hippie natural gift shop proprietor, a friendly good ol' boys club of a town council, two darling elderly ex-schoolteachers, Liv's 60-ish assistant Ted who has daily "singing" bouts with Whiskey the terrier, the bewhiskered older man who always plays Santa Claus so well, one bitchy ex-events' manager (well, there had to be one unfriendly person in town), and even a sexy but usually diffident newspaper editor. The mystery is reasonably convoluted (although you know the nice people who are accused can't possibly be guilty of the crime), the Yuletide atmosphere so Christmassy it will make you hear jingle bells and shiver against the chill, and personal attractions begun are continued.
Readers of police procedurals and Nordic noir, take note: this isn't your bag, but if you're the type of person who likes cozies and Christmas, this book will be perfect for your holiday reading. It even ends up with a meal so luscious it will make you hungry, and some mistletoe. Enjoy!