‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost 'Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost
Narrator: Allyson Ryan
Series: Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #2
Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc. on November 13, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Christmas
Length: 8 hrs 53 mins
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars

It’s out of the cupcake tin, into the fire for Holly White’s best friend, Caroline. Can Holly clear Caroline’s name in time to go caroling?

When a body turns up in a larger-than-life candy bowl filled with peppermints on the town square, Holly White is horrified to learn her best friend Caroline is the main suspect. Everyone in town, including Mistletoe, Maine’s sheriff, saw Caroline fighting with the victim on the night of his death. Worse, a custom kitchen knife, engraved with Caroline's initials was found with him.

Now, just ten days before Christmas, Holly’s up to her jingle bells in holiday shenanigans and in desperate need of a miracle. Juggling extra shifts at her family’s Christmas tree farm and making enough gingerbread jewelry to satisfy the crowd is already more than she can handle―and now she has to find time to clear her best friend of murder. Add in her budding relationship with the sheriff, and a personal stalker dressed as Santa Claus, and Holly’s ready to fly south until springtime.

But her Sherpa-lined mittens come off when Caroline is taken into custody. Can Holly wrap up the case in time for Christmas…even after she gains the true killer’s attention? Find out in ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s second pine-scented Christmas Tree Farm mystery.

‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas is a perfect cozy mystery for this time of year. It’s Christmassy from beginning (the corpse being found in a candy dish of peppermints) to end (a Christmas Eve party at an inn that may or may not have been built by Santa Claus).

Holly is our amateur sleuth. She works at her parents’ tree farm where the annual Reindeer Games is underway. She’s also the future innkeeper. Her parents are building an inn at the farm to help accommodate all the tourists that come to Mistletoe, Maine. Her friend Caroline is accused of murder, actually arrested, so she takes it upon herself to do some investigating, not trusting her maybe-boyfriend/sheriff to handle the job on his own. In her defense though, Evan, the sheriff, clearly has something else on his mind. It turns out his sister is in some trouble and is hiding out at his house.

There were a lot of people in town who didn’t like Derek. He was an investor, but also a womanizer and all-around jerk. Only one person seems genuinely sad that he’s dead, but even she’s on the suspect list. We’ve got plenty of clues, but I was still surprised at who the killer turned out to be.

I read a lot of cozy mysteries. The heroine almost always ends up in danger some way or another, but Holly is going to get herself killed one of these days. (Obviously not, because the author couldn’t actually let that happen.) At the very least, she should seeing a counselor for PTSD. I know that doesn’t fit in with the typical cozy mystery, but if it were real life, I’d be honestly worried about her.

It’s an enjoyable mystery. I love the Christmas setting and the shops in town, the decorations, the food are delightful. Holly and her friends would be fun people to hang out with. And the town apparently only has a murder once a year, so that’s not too bad.

About Jacqueline Frost

Jacqueline Frost is a pen name of Julie Anne Lindsey. Julie is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than forty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under the pen names Bree Baker, Jacqueline Frost, and Julie Chase. She is represented by Jill Marsal at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and is the 2020 Golden Quill Award Winner for Series Romance, a double finalist for the 2020 National Readers Choice Award for Romance Adventure, the 2019 Winner of the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Mystery & Suspense, the 2019 Stiletto Award for Romantic Suspense and the 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award for romantic suspense.

When Julie’s not creating new worlds or fostering the epic love of fictional characters, she can be found in Kent, Ohio, enjoying her blessed Midwestern life. And probably plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

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