Hark the Herald Angels Slay
Year Round Christmas Town Mystery #3
By Vicki Delany
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.
In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.
It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer. (Goodreads)
Where does Santa go when he wants a vacation from the North Pole? Why, Rudolph, NY, of course. Even though it is July, Rudolph, the self proclaimed Christmastown, is full of the holiday spirit with Santa slated to be part of the boat parade and visit with children on the beach. Merry is all set to play Mrs. Claus to her father’s Santa, but her Christmas spirit lags a bit when her ex-fiancé arrives in town with a crew from Merry’s former employer to do a story for their magazine. When Max dies in her shop during the parade and her employee Jackie is nowhere to be found, Merry cannot help but get involved with the investigation. As the bodies pile up, so does the pressure to unmask a killer.
I really enjoy this series, and it gets better with each installment. Vicki Delany has created a charming setting with vivid characters that jump right off the page. I love that the town is so full of the Christmas Spirit all through the year. Merry is a good amateur sleuth and likeable, although here she comes across as a bit self centered. I understand that she is a woman scorned, but if my ex was murdered in my place of business, I would definitely show more emotion than she did. And, what is up with leading on a man who is obviously crazy about her? My favorite aspect of the characters is Merry’s relationship with her father. Their rapport is so fun. Even the unpleasant characters are used to great effect. The magazine crew is chock full of drama, and they make fine suspects in Max’s death. I do not understand why Merry keeps Jackie around. As an employer, I would not put up with her antics, murder suspect or not.
The mystery is solid with several viable suspects. Everyone seems to have the perfect motive. Just when I think I had it all figured out, another clue is revealed and another person dies. I did not see the murderer’s identity coming until right before Merry figured it all out.
I wish I could visit Rudolph. I think it would make for an enchanting weekend getaway any time of year. For now, I will have to keep my visits to the virtual nature and look forward to many more adventures with Merry and crew. I recommend Hark the Herald Angels Slay to any cozy mystery reader, but especially to those who enjoy the year round holiday setting.