We Wish You a Murderous Christmas
A Year-Round Christmas Mystery #2
By Vicki Delany
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack’s health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn.
But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn, and Merry and the other shopkeepers start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.
When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays….(Goodreads)
We Wish You a Murderous Christmas is the delightful second book in the Year Round Christmas Mystery series. Full of holiday glitter and charm right out of a Currier and Ives painting, I enjoyed every word of it.
Christmas celebrations are in full swing in Rudolph, New York, aka Christmas Town, and everything is picturesque until Yuletide Inn’s proprietor Jack has a heart attack and his son Gord comes to town to help his step-mother Grace run the hotel until Jack is back on his feet. Gord immediately sets about changing everything that makes the inn special and unique to the town, all the while threatening some of the local businesses and the town’s future as a tourist destination. When Gord is murdered in the Inn’s gardens, it is clear that someone is really unhappy about the changes. Merry’s father Noel quickly becomes the prime suspect so Merry does her best to unmask the real killer before Noel and the town’s reputation are ruined.
It is so good to be back in Christmas Town. Delaney has created a perfect cozy setting centered around the holiday all year long. It is especially appealing to read as the Christmas holiday approaches, but there is enough murder and mayhem included that I am sure the book can be enjoyed when read any time of year. We Wish You a Murderous Christmas maintains a perfect balance of Christmas festivities and the real world of a tourist town trying to thrive in a prickly situation, and it achieves it all without veering into an overly sweet cliché. The story grabbed my attention from the first page (come on – they’re talking about food), moved along at a quick pace, and kept my interest until the very end.
In most cozy mysteries, the murder happens within the first chapter or so, but here we have the opportunity to get to know Gord a bit and thoroughly dislike him. Heck, I wanted him gone by the time he met his demise. There are several suspects, and I found it appealing that the list included people close to the protagonist Merry. Of course, there was no way that Noel or Vicky, Merry’s best friend, were guilty of the crime, but their inclusion made the mystery more realistic to me. There are plenty of possible motives, and Merry does a good job logically piecing the puzzle together. A bounty of twists and turns had me guessing until almost the very end, and the conclusion was quite satisfying.
All of the characters, no matter how much or little they are featured, are well developed. Even though this is only the second book in the series, I feel like I know Merry, her parents, and friends pretty well. Merry is practical and level headed, even when her father’s future is at stake and when facing danger head on. She is likable and relatable; I think she and I could be good friends. Merry’s parents are a hoot. Noel is fully invested in the Christmas theme, his beloved town, and his Santa Claus persona. Her mother Aline embodies all of the good qualities of a retired opera diva. Talk about opposites attracting, but it is clear that the parents are devoted to each other. Alan and Russ, Merry’s potential love interests, are as different from each other as night and day and add interest to the series long story arc (I do still hope that there will not be a love triangle). There are a couple of characters introduced, including the inn’s chef Mark and Merry’s rival shop owner’s sister, that I look forward to learning more about. And, of course, Mattie the St. Bernard puppy steals every scene that he is in.
I really enjoyed We Wish You a Murderous Christmas and foresee many more entertaining adventures in Christmas Town. I recommend it to any fan of quality cozy mystery writing.