Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina KashianMistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder by Tina Kashian
Series: Kebab Kitchen Mystery #5
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on September 29, 2020
Source: Gift
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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Not even her impending nuptials can keep Lucy Berberian, manager of her family-owned Kebab Kitchen, from the Jersey Shore's annual Polar Bear Plunge. But her dive into the icy ocean is especially chilling when she finds a fellow swimmer doing the dead man's float--for real . . .

Who would kill a man in cold blood during Ocean Crest, New Jersey's most popular winter event? When Lucy learns the victim is Deacon Spooner, the reception hall owner who turned up his nose--and his price--at her wedding plans, she can't help wondering who wouldn't kill the pompous caterer . . .

Perhaps the culprit is the wedding cake baker whose career Deacon nearly destroyed? Or the angry bride whose reception he ruined? With her maid of honor, Katie, busily planning Lucy's wedding without her, Lucy will have to get to the bottom of this cold-hearted business in time for Kebab Kitchen's mouthwatering Christmas celebration--and before her hometown's holiday spirit washes out to sea . . .

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder is the fifth in the series, but the first I’ve read. I never felt lost. The author did a good job of introducing the characters and giving me enough background to let me feel like I knew them well. At the same time, I might have cared more about the relationship between Lucy and her boyfriend, Azad, which took up a lot of the book.

The mystery itself was well-done. The victim was not a nice person and there were plenty of suspects in town. Lucy had a reasonable reason to be investigating – one of her friends is the prime suspect. The clues were placed well, along with a few red herrings. The story started off well, but the middle was a bit too slow and plodding. I did have a guess who the killer was, so that might have been a bit too obvious since I’m rarely right.

I think this is the last of my Christmas reads for the year. I do already have a couple on my list for next Christmas, though, including Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler, which my mom gave me.

About Tina Kashian

Tina Kashian spent her childhood summers at the New Jersey shore, building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager.

After college, Tina worked as an NJ Deputy Attorney General, a patent attorney, and a mechanical engineer. Her love of reading fiction for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters.

Tina is also an Amazon best-selling historical romance author and writes under the pseudonym Tina Gabrielle.

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