If you judge a book by its cover, then chances are you’ll fall in love with this cover as it depicts unconditional love between “rivals“ and you should have that warm fuzzy feeling. More of this below.
It’s Christmas and the town of Wagtail is getting into the holiday spirit by participating in the first Christkindl Market and inn keeper Holly Miller is bracing herself to meet her friend Holmes’ fiancée.
Murder, however, doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, it works overtime.
The Thackleberry family has checked into the Sugar Maple Inn for a reception for them to be given by Holmes’ family, where both families can get to know one another. His grandmother Rose and Holly’s Oma still hope that Holly and Holmes will get together.
While in Wagtail, Holmes begins to realize that he and Norma Jeanne don’t have anything in common and toys with the idea of breaking up with her. She confesses that she doesn’t like Norma Jeanne, since she treats people below her as second class citizens.
Although the Thackleberry’s are shocked with the first murder, they’re doubly shocked at the second murder a few short hours later.
As in the past, there are too many characters and animals who have human names. I found myself going back and forth with the character list and it takes until page 100 before the first murder takes place. This was probably the first time that I know of when it’s taken a long time for the murder to occur.
The characters introduced here are the typical “rich” folk and nothing really happens throughout the story.
I’m sure that I was distracted more by the cover of the book since my late dogs and cats were basically “rivals” but occasionally I would catch them snuggling together and of course later denying it.
I did want to point out a paragraph on page 117 which has the inn’s concierge talking to a sickly dog. His little speech packs a huge punch and having recently lost a pet, I was looking for my handkerchief.
This speech alone gives redemption to this installment.