Slay Bells Ring by Karen Rose SmithSlay Bells Ring by Karen Rose Smith
Series: Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery #7
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on October 31, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Christmas
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially now that Caprice De Luca has wrapped up her holiday-themed staging gig at a stunning historic home in downtown Kismit, Pennsylvania. Behind all the red ribbon and glowing string lights, homeowners Chris and Sara Merriweather have it all. But Chris, a Vietnam vet who plays Santa every year at the community park, has been displaying strange behavior after a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
The joy of the season vanishes entirely when Chris is found murdered on Santa Lane, leaving behind his loyal malamute and lots of unfinished business. As Caprice uncovers hidden secrets in Santa's workshop, the pressure is on to catch the candy cane-wielding culprit--before she's next on a killer's deadly wish list . . .

Just a note, Slay Bells Ring is the second mystery I’ve read this year where the victim was killed with a decorative, wooden candy cane. I don’t know if that means I should be hyper alert when out and about somewhere with wooden candy canes or that authors should choose another Christmas decoration to kill people off with.

Slay Bells Ring is the first I’ve read in this series. Festive Christmas covers always suck me right in. It stands alone well, though. You get to know Caprice and her whole family well and understand what’s important to her: her family, her friends, and animals. I liked Caprice for the most part, but she is just so good and wholesome and in love that she’s a bit hard to relate to. I do love that when she knows she’s going into a potentially dangerous situation, she makes sure she has back-up, too many amateur female detectives don’t take their own safety seriously enough. I liked her large Italian family, even if I had a little trouble keeping everyone sorted out, and how everyone pitches in when someone needs help. I loved the critters and the South Central Pennsylvania setting.

The mystery was fine. Chris, the victim, was a good guy, but he had a lot of secrets, and maybe an enemy or two. I honestly didn’t guess the killer, but I probably should have. I got caught up in the red herrings, like I was supposed to.

It’s a good Christmas cozy, but not outstanding. Maybe if I had read the series from the beginning, I’d feel differently.

About Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose Smith

Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.

In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business.

She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing relationship novels. Now she writes romances as well as mysteries full time. Her first book was published in 1992; her 80th novel will be published in 2013. A winner of New Jersey’s Golden Leaf Award in Short Contemporary Romance, Colorado Romance Writers Award Of Excellence for short contemporary, as well as the Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter’s Golden Quill for Traditional Romance, she has also been honored with’s award for Best Special Edition and Washington Romance Writers Career Achievement Award. Her romances have made both the USA TODAY list and the Amazon Romance and Contemporary Romance Bestseller lists.


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