This book takes an unusual approach by having the main characters from two different series meet up. I haven't read any of either series but I intend to. Maizie Albright is a former child star who returns to her home state of Georgia to become a private detective. Cherry Tucker is a small town girl who meddles some in local crime solving. The book switches point of view between the two women and does a great job of portraying each character. Maizie decides to follow up on a missing granddaughter at no charge because it's almost Christmas and her search takes her to the very small town of Halo. Cherry Tucker, a resident of Halo, is confined to bed with a raging case of the flu and hates Christmas. Since Cherry observes some odd goings-on through her bedroom window and Maizie finds that many of the people she meets are not who they appear to be, the story has a bit of a flavor from the movies Rear Window and Charade. There are some hilarious moments and the characters are great.
Not your usual small town or English village holiday setting but a circus! Susannah (or Trixie as she is better known) is billed as the world's smallest Lady Godiva. When the calliope player is found murdered by a sword that has been missing for some time, suspicion falls on many of the circus members and Trixie must find courage and confidence that she never thought she had. A fun look at a different world.
Jenny King, who has found a new life on an island off the Virginia shore, takes action to help a children's home have a Merry Christmas. But a mysterious old man, Harry, appears on the beach handing out candy canes. Jenny becomes so intrigued by him that she gives him a place to stay over the objections of her friends and boyfriend. Is Harry as harmless as he appears? What is his story and his secret? A delightful holiday story.
This book won't be released until Dec 23, but I had the privilege of doing an advance read. When the body of the most annoying woman in town is found in a clothes dryer in the local laundromat, police chief Elizabeth Friedman has plenty of suspects. Only solving the mystery will bring holiday cheer and security back to the small town. Elizabeth is a wonderful main character--a sensible and competent law enforcement officer who must juggle the local politics, a diverse force and eccentric small town characters to solve the crime.
If you haven't met Hamish Macbeth, you are in for a treat. Constable Macbeth deals with a spate of Yuletide crimes, balancing the wish of some for Christmas cheer to brighten the winter and the Calvinist leanings of others opposing such holiday displays. The new schoolteacher is especially fascinated by Hamish, as he searches for stolen lights, Christmas tree, and a cat.
Christmas, Criminals, and Campers By Tonya Kappes
I'm just about halfway through this myself, but of course I can't resist a camping mystery. Mae West, the owner of the Happy Trails Campground in Normal, Kentucky and the Laundry Club ladies deal with the death of a famous author, who isn't what she seems. Romance between Mae and Hank Sharp, local deputy, appears to be heating up and Mae's life is further complicated by a visit from her foster mother--not something that boosts Mae's holiday spirit.
And while we're on the subject of camping (see how I did that?), I can't neglect to mention A Campy Christmas by yours truly.
Frannie and Larry Shoemaker are facing a Christmas alone and decide to join Mickey and Jane Ann Ferraro on a camping trip south. But they get caught in Missouri by a wayward snowstorm and end up snowbound in a campground for the holidays.
When I was writing this three years ago, I put a question on several Facebook camping pages: Have you ever been snowbound while camping? I was amazed by the number of affirmative responses. People who ran out of propane and spent the night in a visitor's center or lost communications and even one who rescued a stranded man! So it's not as farfetched as you think.
So find a book and curl up and enjoy. Don't forget to leave the author a review (a very cheap but appreciated present!) And have a great holiday!