Real Elves: A Christmas Story by Helen SmithReal Elves: A Christmas Story by Helen Smith
Published by Tyger Books on September 16, 2014
Source: Author
Genres: Mystery, Short Story
Pages: 35
Format: eBook
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In a department store in London, a little girl called Sophie visits Santa’s magical forest with her grandfather. As they emerge from the forest, Sophie’s grandfather reports her missing… but the little girl’s right there. Is she a ghost, a twin, an alien abductee—or is there some simpler explanation? Twenty-six-year-old amateur sleuth Emily Castles has fifteen minutes to figure out the puzzle before the police are called and Christmas is ruined.

Real Elves is my first Christmas read of the year and it was a cute little mystery, a little silly maybe, but it has a light-heartedness that fits Christmas. And I would love to visit the Magic Forest, pick a golden apple,  and see Santa. It’s a short story, only 35 pages or so, so I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. I will say that there’s no violence and it has a happy ending all around.

I’ve read a couple other stories featuring Emily Castles. She’s smart, funny and a bit quirky, but I don’t think you actually get much of a feel for her characters here, it’s more about the magic and mystery, not the recurring character. That does mean it works well as a stand-alone though. It’d be a nice gift to sneak into a stocking or a small gift exchange.

About Helen Smith

Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of acclaimed cult novels Alison Wonderland and Being Light; dystopian novel The Miracle Inspector; the Emily Castles mystery series; and children’s books, poetry and plays. Her books have been published by Gollancz/ Orion (part of the Hachette Group), Watling Street, Lake Union, and Thomas & Mercer. Her most recent British mystery, Beyond Belief, was published by Thomas & Mercer in 2014.

Helen Smith’s books have been praised in The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Time Out and They have appeared on “best books of the year” lists in For Books’ Sake, The Cult Den, The Independent and the Guardian. Her work has been optioned by the BBC.

Helen Smith is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writers’ Association and English PEN. She has been invited to read at literary events and festivals in London and New York and points in between – including, most recently, a cruise ship en route to California via the Suez Canal. Her work has been read or performed at the National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, Amnesty International’s Headquarters, The Edinburgh Festival and The University of London. She’s a Literary Death Match champion and the recipient of an Arts Council of England award.

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