Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas 


About Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas


Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas (Year-Round Christmas Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 

6th in Series 

Setting - Rudolph, New York 

Crooked Lane Books (September 19, 2023) 

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages

It’s beginning to look a lot like murder in the sixth installment of this charming cozy mystery series, perfect for fans of Donna Andrews and Jacqueline Frost.

It’s the beginning of December in Rudolph, New York, America's Christmas Town, and business is brisk at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, a gift and décor shop owned by Merry Wilkinson. The local amateur dramatic society is intensely preparing a special musical production of A Christmas Carol. But it’s not a happy set, as rivalries between cast and crew threaten the production. Tensions come to a head when a member of the group is found dead shortly after a shopping excursion to Mrs. Claus's Treasures. Was someone looking to cut out the competition? Everyone in the cast and crew is a potential suspect, including Aline, Merry’s mother, and Merry's shop assistant Jackie O'Reilly, who was desperate for a starring role. It could be curtains for Christmas—and for Merry—unless the killer can be ferreted out of the wings.

About Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. Author of more than fifty books, she is currently writing the A Tea by the Sea Mysteries, A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries, A Year-Round Christmas Mysteries, and A Lighthouse Library Mysteries (as Eva Gates). Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links 

Instagram: vickidelany 

My Thoughts

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany takes us back to Rudolph, New York. It is Merry Wilkinson’s busy season at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures.  It does not help that her assistant manager, Jackie O’Reilly is busy with rehearsals with the Rudolph Community Theater Players of a musical version of A Christmas Carol.  Merry is a friendly and relatable protagonist.  I love her charming shop (I could do some serious damage in there).  I do feel, though, that Merry needs to work on her managerial skills.  Her employees are breaking the rules and Merry is not holding them accountable (I do not like seeing them walk all over her).  I would not want to work with Jackie (I feel bad for the employee that must work with her).  Jackie is self-absorbed.  If it does not relate to her, Jackie is not interested (she is obtuse).   Rudolph is brimming with holiday charm.  It is a town that I would love to visit (do some shopping, take a sleigh ride, enjoy hot cocoa by the fire while reading a book).  

I would, though, avoid Rudolph Community Theater Players.  They fight more than toddlers over a new toy.  It was just a matter of time before one of them was murdered (the crime occurs about a quarter of a way into the story).  There are several suspects in the crime (not one cast member liked the woman).  The investigation was skimpy.  The crime is neatly wrapped up at the end with a bow.  The Rudolph Community Theater Players take the saying “the show must go on” seriously.   Have Yourself A Deadly Little Christmas is the sixth A Year-Round Christmas Mystery.   It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series.  The author takes the time in the beginning to describe the town and the characters.   My favorite character is Merry’s St. Bernard.   He provided some sweet and funny moments.   There is a scene near the end of the story that I loved.  It shows that a little kindness towards another person goes a long way.  Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas is a festive tale with quarrelling players, a terrible Tiny Tim, singing snafus, an encounter with a killer, a crotchety storekeeper, a winter wonderland, and a Happy Holiday!


Paula, have you met my daughter, Merry? She owns Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, on Jingle Bell Lane. And this is Alan Anderson, who makes the most divine things out of wood you’ve ever seen. Merry and Alan, this is Paula Monahan. Paula’s an important part of the theater family. Isn’t that lovely?”

Probably only I, because I know my mother so well, heard the unsaid “not” at the end of that sentence.

“Are you in the cast, Paula?” Alan asked. “Or crew?”

I’d seen Paula around town, but I didn’t remember having ever met her and I didn’t think she shopped at my store. She was in her early forties, younger than most of the company, slightly taller than my five foot four, and slim beneath a padded black jacket. Heavy brown bangs peeked out from beneath her wool cap. “I play Mrs. Cratchit. My son, Eddie—he’s around here somewhere—is Tiny Tim.”

“Important roles. Tim, in particular,” Alan said.

Paula didn’t smile in acknowledgment. Instead she threw a not-friendly glare at my mother. “It is. As some people fail to understand. If you’ll excuse me. I need to ensure Eddie finds something other than cake to eat.”

“Sounds like an idea,” Alan said once she’d gone. “I’m ready to hit the buffet. Merry?”

“Go ahead. I’ll be with you in a minute.”

He needed no further encouragement and barely managed to refrain from breaking into a run as he crossed the lawn.

“That was tense,” I said to my mom. “What’s with you and Paula?”

Mom sighed. “All these years I have refrained from engaging in amateur dramatics, no matter how hard Desmond and Ron worked to entice me. At last, I succumbed. Much to my regret.”

Mom wasn’t exaggerating or bragging. The director and former artistic director of the Rudolph Community Theater Players came on pilgrimage once a year to the house to beg her to join the group. In her glory days, my mom had been a professional opera singer. Not just a singer, but a true diva. She’s sung solo parts with the Metropolitan Opera and at some of the best opera houses in Europe, including a sold-out performance of Madama Butterfly at La Scala, in which she sang Suzuki.

With her travel and performance schedule, it had largely been my dad—solid, sensible, small-town dad—who’d raised my three younger siblings and me. Mom was retired now, and she kept her hand in teaching vocal lessons to local children and a few adults who’d always wanted to sing but never had the chance to learn formally. She might be retired, but she was still every inch the diva. She’d never had anything but scorn for amateur theatrics. To everyone’s surprise, probably hers most of all, she agreed to appear with the Rudolph Community Theater Players in this year’s production of A Christmas Carol. Desmond Kerslake, the director, told her they’d be doing the musical version, and they desperately needed her help.

She not only would play the Ghost of Christmas Past, as well as Belle, Scrooge’s former fiancée, but she served as the musical coach. When I’d asked how she could play both the ghost and Belle when the ghost shows Scrooge his youth, she said, “With a bit of deft maneuvering from stage left to center and a flick of a cape. Belle has the strongest female song in the entire production, no one else is remotely capable of doing it.” She tried not to smile too widely as she said it.

“This,” she now declared dramatically, “is going to be the death of me.” All that was missing was the back of the hand held to the forehead and the drop into the fainting couch. “If not of me, likely someone else.”

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas is available from Amazon, B&N,, and PenguinRandomHouse.  You can find the other A Year-Round Christmas Mysteries here.  Check out Vicki Delany's other cozy mysteries.  Vicki Delany has The Sign of Four Spirits coming out January 9, 2024.  It is the ninth A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery.   Time for the giveaway!  You can win a signed hardcover of Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas (open to US and Canada).  You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below or click here.  Leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan.  I hope that you have a pleasurable day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Tour Participants

September 11 – Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT 

September 11 – Angel's Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

September 12 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

September 12 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
September 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

September 14 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 14 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
September 15 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 15 – Bigreadersite – REVIEW

September 16 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW


September 17 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 17 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 18 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 18 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 19 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 19 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
September 20 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 20 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

September 21 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

September 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring my book today. I love the photos you've added to the post.