Friday, November 23, 2018

Slay Bells by T.C. Wescott: Review & Giveaway

Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery)

by T.C. Wescott

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
Better Mousetrap Books (November 23, 2018)
Print Length: 273 pages
Digital ASIN: B07HGG7ZFR
‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!
Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring—
Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.

Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. You’re just in time for the week-long Christmas Festival, and nowhere is Christmas celebrated with such unrestrained merriment as the village which bears its name. Mayor Cobblestone and Sheriff Fell will be somewhere nearby, doing all they can to make sure you’re safe during your stay.  Provided you haven’t booked a room at Plum Cottage.

Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.

Presently lodging at the cottage are: the juggler, the acrobat, the magician, the psychic, the strongman, the manager, and the pretty assistant. In town as festival entertainment they’ve each brought their own bag of tricks. And a closetful of skeletons.

When the entertainers begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.

Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But has she finally met her match at Plum Cottage?
Can you figure out whodunit before Maribel does? If you’re up to the challenge, here’s your first clue—the key to unlocking the secret of the murderer’s identity lies in figuring out how the murders were committed. Good luck!

About the Author

T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series will launch in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple - mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.  Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as a slew of essays and articles.  You can follow the author on GoodReads.

My Thoughts

Slay Bells by T.C. Westcott takes readers to an enchanting town called Christmas Village.  It is a week before Christmas and it is time for their annual week long Christmas Festival.  Rose Willoughby owns Plum Cottage where Harper’s Harpoons are staying while they perform at the festival.  Rose injured her ankle the previous evening, so her friend, Maribel Claus has moved in to assist her.  They notice that Barnaby Snipes, manager of Harper’s Harpoons, has not come down for breakfast nor is he in his room.  Then Professor Samuel Pontifex arrives exclaiming about the dead man on Plum Hill.  Everyone rushes over and there they find Barnaby splayed out at the top on the rocks.  Sheriff Fell and Deputy Bentley arrive and find a tiny bell on the man’s chest.  Professor Pontifex is quick to proclaim that he believes the mythical Glockenvogel did in Mr. Snipes since they are no footprints leading up to the body.  Maribel believes that one of Harper’s Harpoons performed the deed and she looks forward to solving this challenging puzzle.  As the week flies by and a second performer dies, Maribel will need to be quick if she is to catch this killer.

Slay Bells is set in the quaint town of Christmas Village.  It is a charming small town filled with quirky characters and holiday cheer.  Maribel Claus is our main character. She has a bright mind and friendly demeanor with a husband and a pair of ferrets.  Maribel is one of the seven members on the Council of Elders for the village (similar to a town council) and is responsible for making sure the entertainment is appropriate and safe.  Checking out each act gives her the perfect excuse to snoop.  There are a variety of offbeat characters in the story with the most unusual being Dr. Samuel Pontifex.  He is a font of knowledge and believes the unusual before the practical.  The mystery has some intriguing aspects including how the crimes were committed.  There are a handful of suspects and some of the characters came up with unusual ideas on how the killer accomplished his nefarious deeds.  There is misdirection to throw readers off the track of the true culprit.  The reveal is a cross between an Agatha Christie novel and an episode of Murder, She Wrote with Mrs. Fletcher and Sheriff Amos Tupper.  The writing style is more formal than cozy readers are used to.  It is reminiscent of old fashioned mysteries from early in the twentieth century.  The author provides detailed descriptions of the village, Plum Cottage and the characters which will allow readers to envision the story in their mind.  Slay Bells has eccentric characters, small town magic, a perplexing whodunit and Christmas spirit. 

Slay Bells is available on Amazon.  In honor of the tour, the author is hosting a giveaway.  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Leave a comment on my blog for an extra entry and visit the other stops on the tour (schedule below).  I hope everyone (those of you in America) had a delightful Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow I am featuring Overkilt by Kaitlyn Dunnett.  It is the twelfth A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery.  Have a beautiful day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

November 23 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

November 23 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

November 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 24 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

November 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 26 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 26 – My Devotional Thoughts - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 27 – The Book's the Thing - REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 28 – Book Babble – REVIEW

November 28 – Bibliophile Reviews - REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 29 – View from the Birdhouse – GUEST POST

November 29 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – A Blue Million Books - AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 1 – Readeropolis - AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Island Confidential - CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 3 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 3 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  

December 4 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*


December 5 – The Montana Bookaholic - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

December 6 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

December 6 – Here's How It Happened – REVIEW


  1. This sounds wonderful--I'd love to read it!

  2. Kristina, thanks so much for the support. You've got a great blog and I'm honored to be featured on it.