Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder
Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery #3
By Meg Macy
Author’s website: megmacy.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
holiday season, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman must solve the slaying
of Santa Bear . . .
Sasha and her sister Maddie are thrilled that the Silver Bear Shop and Factory has won the Teddy Bear Keepsake Contest, which means they get to produce a holiday specialty toy, a wizard bear named “Beary Potter.” Promising to be just as magical is Silver Hollow’s annual tree-lighting ceremony and village parade. Only one hitch: the parade’s mascot, Santa Bear–played by Mayor Cal Bloom–is missing.
After a frantic search among the floats, Bloom is found dead. When the outfit is removed, it’s clear the mayor’s been electrocuted. Who zapped hizzoner and then stuffed him into his Santa Bear suit? While the police investigate the grisly crime, Sasha attempts to track down the murderer herself, with some help from the Guilty Pleasures Gossip Club. Can they wrap up this case in time for Christmas–or will Sasha meet her own shocking end?
Silver Hollow and the Silver Bear Shop and Factory are delightful to visit any time of year, but especially before Christmas! This is well-written cozy mystery has a detailed plot kept me guessing. A variety of characters is representative of many small towns. The setting of early December in southeast Michigan isn’t far from where I grew up, where snow and Christmas go hand-in-hand.
Sasha manages the Silver Bear Shop with help from her sister Maddie, while Uncle Ross and Aunt Eve have their hands on the heart of the bear factory. They have entered the Child’s Play Toy Box Co.’s special Teddy Bear Keepsake contest for the past five years, and this year they won with the Beary Potter Keepsake Wizard Bear. They now have an exclusive contract to provide these already best-selling bears to Child’s Play for at least a year, and business has never been better!
Tonight, Sasha is finalizing inspection on the Silver Bears in Toyland float that will be in the annual Tree Lighting and Festival of Lights Parade as her parents circulate to make sure other floats are ready and the parade is a go. Mayor Cal Bloom, owner of Bloom’s Funeral Home, was recently re-elected by a landslide. He is ready to be Santa Bear in the festival, and Sasha’s ex-husband Flynn will be Grand Marsal with his fiancée Cheryl. It is past time to start, however, and Mayor Bloom is nowhere to be found.
Sasha’s mother Judith, Flynn, Cheryl and Sasha finally find Mayor Bloom, sitting on a bench quite a distance from where the floats are lined up. They recognize him by the Santa Bear suit. He’s kind of leaning to the side with sleeves and paw gloves looking very wet. Mom tries to pull off the bear head, then shakes him. Mayor Bloom didn’t wake up; he fell off the bench, cold, dead. Assuming he died of natural causes, Judith wants the bear suit so someone else to play Santa Bear. Flynn starts to take it off him when he sees the man’s chest is charred. When removing the paws, his hands were red and blistered. He looks as if he had been electrocuted, but he isn’t near anything electrical. Time for the police. If someone else would just get the parade moving! The children can’t find out that this Santa Bear has been permanently grounded.
Alex, Sasha’s father, fills in the blanks by wearing the regular Santa Claws costume for the parade. Alison Bloom, the mayor’s wife, is a close friend of Judith, so Judith goes with the police chief to tell her about her husband’s death. Within a couple of days, however, the police and the detectives brought in from the County are treating Alison as if she is the primary suspect. Alex helps get her an attorney, and Judith asks Sasha to help the police find out who really killed Cal Bloom. Sasha has helped solve a couple of previous murders despite the detectives telling her to leave it to the professionals. She wants nothing to do with helping again, but one simply doesn’t say “no” to Judith, especially when the freedom of one of her friends is at stake.
Each of the characters is designed with care according to their roles. Some of the folks we learn more about as the investigation proceeds. I like Sasha and Maddie, especially as Maddie works hard to establish her new business. I also like Sasha’s best friends Mary Kate and Elle. Overall, the citizens of the village are hardworking entrepreneurs or employees. Most will help out in any kind of crisis, yet among them might be a killer. They love the Tree Lighting and Festival of Lights Parade, and children are important to most of their events – in short, the ideal small town.
The more Sasha learns about Cal, the more suspects get onto her “list”. It seems there are many who Cal had upset just in the past couple months! He had started drinking again, changed his mind about selling the funeral home to his loyal manager and his wife, and was a little too friendly with ladies. Sasha has her hands full with asking questions, getting ready for Aunt Eve and Uncle Ross to re-marry, and fill in long hours at the factory for the many, many keepsake bears ordered. There are many people who are part of the story, almost too many to pick out – or narrow down – suspects. With so many characters, it might be good to read the books in order, as a few earlier situations are mentioned that aren’t explained. However, I did enjoy this very much, and highly recommend it! Any time of year is good to read this, but especially before Christmas!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*