In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…
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 shoo-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…
I tried to get ahold of this book for the Christmas season, but was way too late! But, since this author will be attending a conference that I will attend in August, I decided that I would read it anyway. I have previously read her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries, so I thought it would stand me in good stead to see what else she had to offer.
Imagine my surprise then, when I felt like I was re-read the Bookshop Mysteries! There are so many details in common. The protagonists are both young women who moved away from small communities and returned, both of them have set up speciality shops, both have best friends who run bake shops, both re-encounter a man they used to date, both have dogs that they barely have time for, both meet an attractive man who has newly moved to the community, both of them discover dead bodies, both have a member of the police force that they don’t get along with, and neither of these women trust the police to fully investigate the deaths. That’s a lot of overlap.
Don’t get me wrong--I finished the book. It was good enough to hold my attention to the end, although I was pretty sure of the destination. There were details that were delightful. This one is set in Rudolph, N.Y., billing itself as Christmastown USA. The main character is called Merry of course and her father (born on Dec. 25) is Noel and he is a dead ringer for Santa Claus. Merry’s dog, a young Saint Bernard, is called Matterhorn (though she calls him Mattie most often). Delany shows talent in naming her characters although I raised an eyebrow when the BFF in this one was named Vicky!
I realize that if you enjoy a particular pattern, you will enjoy a repeat of it. Witness myself and my obsessive reading of Ilona Andrews’ writing. Those novels too repeat a formula over and over and I shamelessly enjoy them. So, if you enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries, I have absolutely no doubt that you will enjoy the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries and vice-versa.
I have used a slow cooker before, but it has been neglected lately, so I thought I would request this recipe book from NetGalley (for an unbiased review) to inspire myself to start using it again.
I buy organic vegetables direct from a farm, so the first thing that appealed about this book was that it was organised by season. This means the correct vegetables are grouped together and I can make efficient use of my veg box.
On the downside, the majority of the recipes are not vegetarian, which reduces the number that I can use, although I'm generally pretty good at substituting alternatives, these are definitely heavy on the meat.
I did find a few delicious recipes to sample - lentils with garam masala, coconut, and pomegranate seeds (P22) and tartines with roasted garlic, white bean spread, fresh spinach, and radishes (P90). The deserts are also vegetarian, but I don't make a lot of deserts so I haven't tried any of these yet.
The advice at the beginning of the book applied to all slow cooking though. I was not previously aware that frozen food should not be added as it brings the temperature down into the danger zone, ditto opening the lid any more than necessary during cooking.
I was also interested to learn that slow cooker sauces need to be quite thick to allow for the liquid that comes out of the foods during cooking and for the lack of evaporation through the closed lid.
On balance, this is a great book for non-vegetarians who want inspiration to start using a slow cooker, sadly, it is less practical for those of us who prefer to eat vegetarian.
What a cute story this was!!
Neil Kelly, the younger computer programmer with his red curls and his fair skin and his case of ‘diarrhea of the mouth’ whenever he meets face to face with Ted Freeman – whom he has been having a crush for the past three years – just seized my heart immediately. I thought he was frickin’ adorable. I loved his friendliness, his outlook towards life and opportunities. I loved how Neil was able to make Ted realize that he needed to readjust his life’s expectations. Neil was the kind of character that just charmed me one hundred times over.
On the other hand, Ted was rather distant to me… although I couldn’t really blame him. Being a couples counselor whose partner left him, most definitely shook Ted to the core. Wondering what went wrong with his relationship. I could totally understand how he wanted to brood and think instead of socializing with this younger man.
But I thought their relationship progressed nicely. Neil didn’t push and he let Ted have the space and the time needed. So the relationship felt like it was moving at the right pace for me to enjoy – starting from friendship to the hopeful beginning. None of that instant-love that I dislike.
Oh, another kudos for Ms. McAllister was that she didn’t exactly portray Ted’s ex in black and white, meaning that he was the only one to blame. I thought there were definitely complicated reasons behind everything. There were signs for both Ted and his-ex on why it didn’t work between them. So I appreciated that.
Definitely a heartwarming and wonderful holiday novella!