Slashing Through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost Slashing through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost
Series: Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #3
Published by Crooked Lane Books on October 12, 2021
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
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three-half-stars

Maine innkeeper Holly White returns to sleuth another seasonal slaying in the third Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.

Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business, and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. Even better, Mistletoe, Maine's sheriff, Evan Gray, has deputized his little sister Libby to help Holly wrap presents for Mistletoe's toy drive. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in: Karen, a vicious B&B critic, who could make or break the new inn. And the short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Karen's dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.

The suspect list is longer than Santa's naughty list, and local resident Cookie is on it, since her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a metal nutcracker that she gave to Holly. So is Libby, who recently moved to town from Boston in less-than-savory circumstances. But cranky Karen was an oh-holy-nightmare to lots of the townsfolk, such as Evan's reporter friend Ray; Christopher, the inn's former contractor; and confectioner Bonnie, whose Gum Drop Shop was a direct target of Karen's scathing prose.

To figure out the killer's identity and clear Cookie's name, Holly and her friends brainstorm at The Hearth, the farm's café, while her mother keeps them fueled with Christmas goodies fresh from the oven. But if they can't put the culprit on ice, Holly may never see another Christmas.

Slashing Through the Snow is the third book of the cozy A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series. Each book works as a standalone, but some of the characters and relationships evolve through the series.

In the first book of the series, Holly had returned back home to her parents’ Christmas Tree farm in Mistletoe, Maine. Now, the farm’s bed and breakfast that she will be managing is open. Unfortunately, one of the first few guests, a rather nasty critic, is found dead just off the front porch. And one of Holly’s friends, Cookie, a sweet if kooky older woman, is the most obvious suspect.

Holly decided she has to investigate so she can provide her sheriff boyfriend with another suspect. The mystery itself was good, with several potential suspects, and enough clues and red herrings to keep you guessing. Holly stirs up a bit of trouble with her questioning and gets rather serious threats and finds herself in two more near deadly situations. Honestly, even though I know it will all turn out alright, this series has a bit more tension when it comes to the main character than most. The poor girl is really going to develop a dread of Christmastime. Well, maybe not, because there was a very sweet moment near the end with Evan that probably evens things out for her.

I do love Christmas mysteries, and this was a fun one. I’d love to go stay at the B&B, eat at Holly’s mom’s cafe, participate in the reindeer games, and go shopping in town. And maybe help Holly solve a case, although maybe not get in a car with her.

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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