Three familiar sleuths each get a turn in this trio of cozy Christmas mysteries.
First, O’Connor (Murder in Galway, 2019, etc.) dives into Siobhán O’Sullivan’s past. Just graduated from the Garda College and not due to report for duty until the New Year, she’s busy preparing for Christmas when she sees a sign advertising a missing dog and links the disappearance to that of her own family dog and others around town. When the town Santy, Paddy O’Shea, is discovered floating dead in a dunk tank he’s filled with hot chocolate, all the missing dogs are also found, waiting in vain to be part of his extravagant show. Now Siobhán must help catch Santy's killer. Next up, Day (Strangled Eggs and Ham, 2019, etc.) presents South Lick, Indiana, cafe/country store owner Robbie Jordan, whose boyfriend Abe’s father, Howard O’Neill, has secretly acquired Cocoa, a rescued Lab puppy, as a Christmas gift for Abe’s son, Sean. When Howard’s business associate, Jed Greenberg, is found dead on an icy sidewalk, tangled in Cocoa’s leash, it turns out to be murder. Though Jed had plenty of enemies, Howard is a particularly choice suspect because he’d just learned that Jed had cheated him in a business deal. In the final tale, Erickson (Death by Café Mocha, 2019, etc.) features cafe/bookstore owner Krissy Hancock, a locally renowned sleuth who reluctantly accompanies her friend Rita Jablonski to a remote warehouse, where Lewis Coates, whose attention to detail is obsessive, has installed an escape room. Each member of the small group is given their own room whose door code they must determine from cryptic clues. They all manage to escape to a large locked room where they find the corpse of Coates. A prick Krissy finds on his finger and traces to a trick mug strongly suggests that one of the players is also a killer.
Three quick, enjoyable reads to get you in a murderous Christmas spirit.