Series: Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery #7
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on October 31, 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Christmas
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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.