A Christmas Peril by J.A. HennrikusA Christmas Peril by J.A. Hennrikus
Series: Theater Cop Mystery #1
Published by Midnight Ink on September 8, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery, Christmas
Pages: 276
Format: eARC
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When Edwina “Sully” Sullivan’s life imploded, she left behind her job on the police force and her unfaithful husband to start a new life as the general manager of her hometown theater, the Cliffside Theater Company. For five years, she focused on budgets instead of crimes and kept the Cliffside running alongside its mercurial artistic director.

But when her best friend is arrested for killing his father, the rich and powerful Peter Whitehall, no one is looking for another suspect. So, in between keeping A Christmas Carol on budget and Scrooge sober, Sully dusts off her investigative skills to find a killer. Her two lives collide when her ex-husband gets on the suspect list and she’s forced to confront her past in order to save her present.

In A Christmas Peril, Sully has her hands full. This year’s Christmas Carol is turning into a disaster and her best friend is arrested for murder. One of the difficult parts of cozy mysteries is having a legitimate reason for the amateur detective to be investigating. Sully, however, is perfect. Yes, she’s currently a theater manager, but she had years of experience as a cop and it’s her best friend who is the chief suspect. She really has no choice but to get involved, and it certainly helps that the family has asked for her assistance. I liked her. She’s funny, loyal, smart, strong, but she’s also learned some lessons along the way. And she only manages to place herself in major danger once.

The dead man was not overly-loved, even by his family, but he was important in the community. The suspect list could have been long, but the only people who could actually have done it had to be in the house – family, servants and a close business partner. I thought I knew who did it, but then there’s a second murder and it gets complicated.

I liked the theater setting and the secondary characters, theater people and the Whitehall family were, for the most part, well-developed. I can see why Sully likes them, even the ones that are a bit tougher to manage. Sully’s ex-husband shows up and they get along well, but are still cautious with each other.

A Christmas Peril is clearly a seasonal mystery, but really there’s not much Christmassy to it, aside from the production of A Christmas Carol as the backdrop. It’s not overly festive, there aren’t decorations and presents. But it is a great start to a series.

About J.A. Hennrikus

J.A. (Julie) Hennrikus writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series under the name Julianne Holmes. Julie’s Theater Cop series will debuted in the fall of 2017. A CHRISTMAS PERIL is the first in this series about an ex-cop who runs a theater company. Her short stories have been published by Level Best Books. Julie is an arts administrator and arts advocate. She is an avid theater goer and a member of Red Sox nation.


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