Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business, and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. Even better, Mistletoe, Maine's sheriff, Evan Gray, has deputized his little sister Libby to help Holly wrap presents for Mistletoe's toy drive. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in: Karen, a vicious B&B critic, who could make or break the new inn. And the short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Karen's dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.
The suspect list is longer than Santa's naughty list, and local resident Cookie is on it, since her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a metal nutcracker that she gave to Holly. So is Libby, who recently moved to town from Boston in less-than-savory circumstances. But cranky Karen was an oh-holy-nightmare to lots of the townsfolk, such as Evan's reporter friend Ray; Christopher, the inn's former contractor; and confectioner Bonnie, whose Gum Drop Shop was a direct target of Karen's scathing prose.
To figure out the killer's identity and clear Cookie's name, Holly and her friends brainstorm at The Hearth, the farm's café, while her mother keeps them fueled with Christmas goodies fresh from the oven. But if they can't put the culprit on ice, Holly may never see another Christmas.
Slashing Through the Snow is the 3rd novel in A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone if you are new to the series. I always enjoy visiting Mistletoe, Maine where the residents are friendly and there is plenty of Christmas cheer. The White’s Christmas Tree Farm is a festive place where you can stay at the inn, eat at the Hearth, play in the twelve days of Reindeer Games, pick out a tree, go for a sleigh ride, and relax in front of the fire with delicious hot cocoa. I find the characters to be varied and developed. Cookie and Theodore add the quirky to the story. Cookie’s antics had me laughing. The mystery was well thought out. I enjoyed following the clues in order to solve it. There is misdirection and various warnings. The reveal was suspenseful. The only thing I did not like was everyone telling Holly to stay out of the investigation. They should have known that she would not. I love the descriptions of Holly’s recycled glass candy jewelry. Slashing Through the Snow will get in you in the holiday spirit with all the Christmas activities. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the latest A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery and I cannot wait for the next one (I hope we do not have as long a wait). Slashing Through the Snow is a jolly tale with gooey gumdrops, a teddy bear bonanza, rousing Reindeer Games, a caustic critic, a surfeit of toys, and a cheery Christmas.
The Avid Reader
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