A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer

A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer

I have some books that come out every year with the Christmas decorations. Some I've read multiple times, like A Christmas Carol, and some I haven't gotten around to yet. This year I finally picked up A Rumpole Christmas from the stack and thoroughly enjoyed the stories. I'm familiar with Rumpole of the Bailey and "She Who Must Be Obeyed." I feel like I must have seen some episodes back when it was on PBS Mystery! which we used to watch almost weekly. Barrister Horace Rumpole, defender of the criminal class, loves his work. Fortunately, work finds him even during the Christmas holidays, whether it be spending Christmas at a health farm when a murder occurs, meeting former clients under interesting circumstances, or being booked into the same hotel as a judge. Rumpole character is funny, wry, and insightful, and some of his comments about terrorists and the Church could have been made now. He honestly enjoys defending his...
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The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

The Christmas Pact was a short, sweet romance with a lot of Christmas decorations in the background. On the surface, it's a fun story. The couple meet after occasionally, accidentally receiving each other's work e-mails. Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley - you can see how that might get confusing. Riley is pretty sure Kennedy is a jerk, he insists on actually reading her e-mails and adding his two cents before forwarding them to her. They agree to pose as a couple over the Christmas holiday. It will help them both with family issues. Surprise, surprise, they actually start to have feelings for each other. I sound sarcastic, but the story was full of tender, endearing moments when they connected well. And of course, we get a happy ending. Riley was a good character, funny, insecure, cute. Kennedy, however, I wasn't actually fond of. When he was on his good behavior, he was sweet, amusing, and of course sexy, but his...
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Grievance in Gingerbread Alley by Leighann Dobbs

Grievance in Gingerbread Alley by Leighann Dobbs

Grievance in Gingerbread Alley is the second of the Christmas Village Cozies. They're both quick fun reads and I read this one right after the first. Gus is on vacation in Christmas Village, playing jazz piano at the North Pole Lounge. She knows Christmas Village can't be as perfect and cheery as it seems. While she's out and about she watches as a protester keels over, obviously poisoned, and she can't help investigating. The woman was protesting the treatment of the birds in Christmas Village: the partridge, French hens, geese, swans, turtle doves. There are lots of suspects in her death with the birds' caretakers and the philandering husband and his mistress, at the top of the list. The problem, at least for Gus, is that the local detective in charge was one of her teachers at the police academy. They apparently never got along well, and not Detective Winters is insisting Gus stay out of the way. So Gus, and...
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Cadaver on Candy Cane Lane by Leighann Dobbs

Cadaver on Candy Cane Lane by Leighann Dobbs

Cadaver on Candy Cane Lane is a fun, quirky mystery novella. Christmas Village is Christmas village. It's where elves make toys, a pear tree grows in the middle of winter, swans swim in the lake, and reindeer talk. A lot of the activities are for tourists, tourism is big business for Christmas village, but so is toy-making and shipping. Alfie, the murdered elf, was the Union Rep at the toy factory and a strike was on the horizon. There are a lot of feelings, and motives, on both sides of the issue. Our amateur detective is Ember from Dobbs' Silver Hollow series, which I haven't read. The idea of the mash-up is cute and I didn't feel like I missed anything from not having read the other. Ember is sweet and trying to prove that she is a good detective too. She's in Christmas village helping her aunt Phoebe, the candy lady, get enough stock ready for the holidays, and one...
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The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox

The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox

Small confession: I have the first of the Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries on my Kindle, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Then I saw this "between the books" holiday story and decided it was a perfect way to get a taste of the series. The Ghost of Christmas Past is not actually a mystery, but it works as a stand-alone and let me get to know Verity and some of her crew. As you can tell from the title, The Ghost of Christmas Past is a retelling of the Charles Dickens tale. A few ghosts decide Verity needs to learn a lesson. This is a feel-good story, a bit sentimental in a good way. Verity is sweet and caring and I love her pet skunk. We don't really get to see her solve a mystery, but she does have a problem or two that she solves. She's clearly brave and resourceful, and Frankie, her ghostly sidekick is interesting,...
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An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox

An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox

I picked up An Ale of Two Cities thanks to Kensington's November Mystery launch party on Facebook. I had not heard of the Literary Pub series before, but it sounded like a fun idea. Sadie, our amateur sleuth runs a bar, the Inkwell, that serves food and drink with book pun names and the shelves are full of her book collection. I wish we had a place like that in our town. This is the second in the series, but it worked fine as a stand-alone for me. I skipped to #2 because it's set around Christmas, which was the second draw for me. It's Winter Carnival Time in Shady Creek, Vermont. One of the highlights is the ice sculpture contest and one of Sadie’s employees, Mel, has entered. One of the other contestants is a local man who made it big in Boston and is now a famous chef. He's a jerk and treats everyone in town like...
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