The Killer Christmas Sweater Club
By Terry Ambrose
A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery #3
All ten-year-old Alexandra Atwood wants for Christmas is to get her dad and the B&B’s cook Marquetta under the mistletoe. After all, how can they get married if they don’t kiss first?
When murder strikes in Seaside Cove, bed-and-breakfast owner Rick Atwood is asked to help find the killer. But this will not be an easy case to crack. Not only did the killer contaminate the crime scene, but there are suspects all over town. And they all received the same Christmas sweater from the victim.
Alex hears rumors about the murder and decides that since she’s on Christmas break, she has time for a little multitasking. She launches her own investigation even as she continues her efforts to get her dad and Marquetta together.
Just when Rick thinks he’s identified all the suspects, he discovers a new one—his estranged wife. With the days until Christmas ticking down, Rick feels pressured from all sides. He needs to solve the case. He needs to send his wife back to New York. But the one thing he doesn’t need is for his daughter to be one step ahead of him and the cops.
The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is a fun cozy mystery with a great Christmas theme. The main characters are Rick, owner of the Seaside Cove B&B on California’s coast, his lively ten-year-old daughter, Alex, and the B&B’s chef, Marquetta. Reading the previous two books would give a better sense of the regular characters, but this story works well as a standalone.
Small towns make great cozy mystery settings, and Seaside Cove is no exception … “a small town without a whole lot to do other than watch what your neighbors are doing.” The Christmas sweater theme really resonated with me because of personal experience. Some time ago, my eyes were opened when my daughter asked to borrow several of my Christmas sweaters for a contest she was planning with her campus ministry team – and until then, I had no idea these sweaters were anything but cherished by those who wore them. Such a fun theme for a book! The problem arises because the murder victim had given a few Christmas sweaters, all alike, to members of the community – apparently to make amends for the grief he had caused, but the real reason might have been to create divisiveness and distrust.
A lot of the fun in this story comes packed in the pint-sized body of Rick’s daughter, Alex. Manipulative in a cute way in trying to get her dad and Marquetta together, and highly inquisitive when it comes to mystery investigation, she will literally steal the hearts of readers. And when she becomes a reporter for the Cove Talkers Newsletter – lookout! The story is told from two perspectives, Alex and her dad, and I loved getting to know Alex’s thoughts and heart from her journal entries.
I liked that the romance between Rick and Marquetta is progressing slowly through the series, and Marquetta is great with Alex. However, a small hiccup in Alex’s plans develops when Rick’s estranged wife surfaces as a murder suspect. Suspects are plentiful and it’s fun to figure things out along with Alex.
The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is an enjoyable story, recommended to cozy mystery fans.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller.
He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.
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