Narrator: Allyson Ryan
Series: Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #1
Published by Blackstone Audio on October 10, 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Christmas
Length: 8 hrs 16 mins
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When Holly White’s fiancé cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime—exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.
When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn't watch out, she'll end up on Santa's naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.
Mistletoe, Maine, the setting of Twelve Slays of Christmas, is a wonderful little town, the perfect place for Holly to head home to after her wedding is called off. Her family and the town welcome her back with open arms and working at the family Christmas tree farm keeps her busy. In all reality, though she’s not too heartbroken over her fiancé; he was a jerk anyway, and good riddance. Then she finds one of the townspeople dead at the farm, killed by one of the candy cane shaped markers. It throws her for a loop, which is understandable, and she feels the need to investigate, both to keep the people she loves out of suspicion and to find justice for the victim.
Twelve Slays of Christmas is the first in the series and I think Holly will make a good lead character. She’s curious and smart, prone to doing what she wants regardless of others telling her to stay out. I like the relationship developing between her and the local sheriff, who is also (one of?) her love interest.
As far as the mystery goes, I enjoyed it. There were enough suspects and motives, and the clues led in the right direction, even if I didn’t catch on to who the killer was.
Holly is someone I would like to be friends with. For the most part, I like all the secondary characters too, from Cookie who is a hilarious older woman, to the local reporter who knew Holly in high school and may have a crush on her. The sheriff is a good guy, who left Boston for a calmer life, but is having trouble fitting in to Mistletoe. The only person I was not too fond of was Holly’s mom. She was nice, but too nice. Some of her dialogue was just soooo cheesy; there was a time I was almost hoping she was the murderer.
I listened to the audio, which was fine. The narrator wasn’t outstanding, but she didn’t detract from the story either. I thought she actually did the sheriff’s accent pretty well. It was interesting enough to keep my attention, but didn’t need me to listen so closely that I couldn’t work around the house or whatever.
I’m looking forward to the next in the series. Mistletoe is definitely worth visiting again, although I do wonder what it’s like in the off-season.