Silent Night, Deadly Night
By Vicki Delany
A Year-Round Christmas Mystery #4
Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series.
It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.
The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.
From setting to characters and storyline, Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany is a cozy mystery lover’s delight. As #4 in the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries series, it easily stands alone, but I recommend reading these stories in order for the utmost enjoyment.
As the series title indicates, Silent Night, Deadly Night is set in a year-round Christmas village named Rudolph, located in Upstate New York. The author vividly captures the sights, sounds and delicious aromas of Rudolph, making it a place readers would want to visit. Although Christmas is the main emphasis, stores still feature seasonal holiday displays – Thanksgiving in this story.
Merry Wilkinson is an appealing lead character who owns Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, a shop that specializes in locally made crafts and home decorations. And, of course, it’s located on Jingle Bell Lane, the main shopping area of this quaint village. Many cozy mysteries involve an animal of some type, but Merry’s beloved pet is an adorable Saint Bernard named Matterhorn (Mattie for short), who is perfect for a Christmas village.
The action – and tension – begins when Merry’s mother, Alison, hosts a 40th-anniversary retreat the weekend before Thanksgiving for five college friends who have maintained contact over the years, but never gotten together collectively before. Constance, Barbara, Karla, Ruth, and Genevieve are an eclectic group of ladies from varied walks of life and financial status. And just maybe their friendship hadn’t been as real as Alison remembered. A lot of characters are introduced at once, but the author does a great job in crafting these ladies so they immediately stand out and are identifiable. I found them intriguing and not so likeable, but was very interested in their backgrounds and history.
The bickering and pointed jabs among these ladies steadily propels the story along, with Merry and her Mom forced to act as peacemakers. For instance, Constance pretends to be generous, but uses her money as a way to put other people in their place. Ruth, who doesn’t have much money to spend, resents Constance’s offers to buy things for her. Karla, co-owner of a family business, resents the attitudes of Barbara, an environmental lawyer. And that barely cracks the surface with these ladies!
The murder mystery plot is well crafted with surprising twists and nothing is quite as it seems. Rather than trying to identify the murderer, I just enjoyed going along for the ride. The story is beautifully clean and has a little romance. I loved Silent Night, Deadly Night and will be reading more of Vicki Delany’s writing.
Highly recommended to cozy mystery fans everywhere.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series.