Christmas Cocoa Murder by Carlene O’Connor has Siobhan O’Sullivan in Kilbane, Ireland looking forward to a quiet Christmas with her family. Siobhan is surprised by the hot cocoa dunk tank that Paddy O’Shea dreamed up for the Christmas carnival. Before departing for the pantomime, Siobhan looks for her dog, Trigger and cannot find him. She hears a similar story from a little boy who is searching for his Christmas puppy. When the dunk tank rolls out, Paddy is found floating in it. Siobhan is quick to note some pertinent clues that will help in the search for the killer. During the investigation, Siobhan learns Paddy had been up to some mischief that put him squarely on Santa’s naughty list. Did Paddy’s Christmas tom foolery get him killed?
Christmas Cocoa and A Corpse by Maddie Day has Robbie Jordan down one staff member at Pans ‘N Pancakes during the busy holiday season. Robbie and her boyfriend, Abe are having dinner with his parents as well as Jed and Willa Mae Greenberg. Karinde Nilsson drops off Abe’s Christmas puppy early so Willa Mae agrees to watch him until Christmas Day so the little fellow will remain a surprise. The next morning, Lt. Buck Bird arrives at the restaurant with a solemn face and announces that Jed Greenberg was found dead near the library. He had been walking the puppy and slipped on a patch of ice hitting his head. Howard, Abe’s father, is at the top of the suspect list which has Robbie searching for answers to clear his name.
Death by Cocoa by Alex Erickson has Krissy Hancock along with Rita Jablonski taking part in a Christmas themed escape room game. Lewis Coates, the creator of the game, introduces them to the other players and then gives them instructions before departing the room. After escaping from the first phase, the players come out to find Lewis dead on the floor. Krissy finds herself locked in with a killer. They all must work together to escape with the hope that the killer does not strike again. Krissy figures it a bonus if she can wrap up the crime before she departs as well. Which one of her fellow contestants did in the escape room creator?
Christmas Cocoa Murder by Carlene O'Connor, Maddie Day, and Alex Erickson contains three cozy novellas that are a part of the following series: An Irish Village Mystery series, A Country Store Mystery series and A Bookstore Café Mystery series. I thought they were three entertaining Christmas cozies. They are all well-written and full of Christmas spirit. The three mysteries were interesting with various levels of complexity. The escape room mystery was my favorite, and I particularly enjoyed the description of the escape room puzzles. I have read books from all three series, so it was not a problem for me to read each story. I already knew the characters plus the settings. Maddie Day has my favorite writing style. It is like conversing with old friends. I like how hot cocoa played a part in each story with Christmas Cocoa Murder featuring it in a unique way (a dunk tank). We get to enjoy Christmas festivities in three different towns from two countries. I especially appreciated that all three stories featured intelligent female protagonists who are resourceful and do not break down at the sight of a dead body. I am glad that Kensington puts out these holiday novella collections and I hope that they continue to do so. It is a chance to catch up with our favorite series and solve a mystery (a definite bonus in my book). Christmas Cocoa Murder has three cocoa connected conundrums, a swarm of suspects, many missing mutts, sharp sleuths and copious Christmas cheer.
Christmas Cocoa Murder can be obtained through Amazon* (Amazon UK). Carlene O'Connor writes An Irish Village Mystery series with the fifth book being Murder in an Irish Cottage which releases on February 25, 2020. Ms. O'Connor also has Murder in Galway which is the debut of A Home to Ireland Mystery series coming out on April 28, 2020. Maddie Day writes A Country Store Mystery series which Nacho Average Murder publishing on June 30, 2020. She also has Murder on Cape Cod releasing on December 31 which is the debut of A Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery. Alex Erickson writes A Bookstore Cafe Mystery series. Thank you for reading my review today. I am featuring A Child from the Ash Pits by Chrissie Walsh tomorrow. There will be an excerpt from the book plus a giveaway. I hope that you have a pleasurable day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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