Author: Vicki Delany
Series: A Year Round Christmas Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Description: As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoe-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.
Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list.
This book is the first installment in the Year Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delany. I have not previously read anything by this author, who also writes under the name Eva Gates, but I can tell you it will not be the last. I loved this book. While it is a holiday themed book, I think it can be read any time of the year and it would not lose its charm.
I was drawn into this book from the very first pages with the authors description of the town and the Christmas parade. The characters were all well written and I found them to be quirky and fun. I really liked both Merry and her best friend Vicky. They both had spunk and I enjoy that in my cozy mystery characters regardless of their age. The author spins a great tale with wonderful descriptions that engage the reader and allow them to know and love both the characters and the town. I especially liked how Merry's St. Bernard puppy became one of the characters and I am looking forward to her adventures in raising Mattie. The mystery is a strong, solid mystery with plenty of twists and turns. I was surprised to find out the killer's identity at the end and the reason for the mischief in the town following the murder. I found this story to have a good pace and didn't feel like there were any lulls in the story line. For me, the sign of a good series, is when I am engaged with the characters and either like them or can relate, and the mystery is solid and not readily apparent at the beginning of the story.
Vicki Delany delivers a wonderful first installment to this series and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Rudolph New York. I can't wait for the next book to see what happens next. In fact, this series has been added to my list of automatic buys when an new installment is released. And while I am waiting for the next book, the author's Lighthouse Library Mystery series, written as Eva Gates, has been bumped up on my TBR pile.