Mall Santa Murder

Gemma Stone, Book #2

By Willow Monroe

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


Gemma Stone normally hates the Black Friday shopping rush, but this year she’s excited – she and her best friend Holly have opened their very own jewelry boutique, and they’re pretty proud of it. The only downside might be that their fancy new mall kiosk is directly in front of Santa Land, the noisiest spot in the mall.

Santa is a drunk, the elves are kind of mean, and to top it off, security is left up to a wannabe cop who can’t pass the police academy entrance exam. As if that isn’t enough, Gemma discovers Santa dead, propped up against a poinsettia and strangled with garland.

Suddenly everyone is a suspect, and Gemma can’t keep her nose out of police business. Things are getting dangerous, but even with handsome detective Ross Ferguson tracking her every move, Gemma has to solve this crime before she ends up dead.


Mall Santa Murder is the second book in the Gemma Stone series by author Willow Monroe. I jumped into the series at this second book in the series as I was looking for a quick, holiday themed story. I was immediately entrenched, probably because “Rosie” (her 14-year-old Subaru) was just not co-operating!  Been there – done that and so I related with Gemma’s challenges and formed an instant bond 🙂

Getting a ride with her business partner, Holly, they arrive on Black Friday to the mall early to get their jewelry boutique ready for a busy shopping day. Unfortunately, their kiosk is not in the best location – right next to Santa Land. Oh well, what can one do, but make the most of it. Gemma and Rose must deal with a Santa who is close by and is drunk to boot and let me tell you – those elves are nasty…

Nick Leonard, ex-fiancé and good friend to Gemma, is a reporter looking for the next big scoop. He is following a lead about a rash of thefts in the downtown area (and the mall is not too far from there) and is worried about Gemma. A few days later various merchants are noticing that items are missing…

And then Santa turns up dead. That truly can’t be good for business. Detective Ross Ferguson is on the job. But for some reason, Gemma feels inclined to help speed up the investigation – for her own safety. And what does Gemma feel about this handsome detective? Hmmm…

Mall Santa Murder is an enjoyable novella, just the right amount of cozy mystery with a Christmas vibe going on to get this reader in the holiday mood. While I did find Santa a bit annoying (after all, who wants Santa to be drunk?), I certainly did not want him dead! Was it his angry ex-spouse or maybe the thieves? All is revealed as the story unfolds.

I liked the story well enough that I hope to seek out other titles in the Gemma Stone series. The writing of Willow Monroe contained enough descriptive language to supplement the story and keep this reader interested from beginning to end. A fun way to begin to holiday season.