Stalking Around the Christmas Tree
Book Four in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery Series
by Jacqueline Frost
Tis the season to solve a murder—and innkeeper Holly White knows she’ll have to make her list and check it twice if she wants to catch the killer in the 4th Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.
For inn keeper Holly White, Christmas time in Mistletoe, Maine, is the ultimate holiday gift. Business at the Reindeer Games Inn is booming, her wedding to Sheriff Evan Gray is nearly here, and the annual parade is about to begin. The town is lucky to have another gift this year with the state’s ballet company staying for several performances of The Nutcracker. But disaster strikes when Tiffany, the lead ballerina, shows up dead on a float during the parade, the Rat King’s mask nearby. Holly will have to spruce up her sleuthing skills if she wants to catch the killer before Christmas—and her wedding day.
Immediately, Holly discovers that Tiffany had more than a few secrets. She finds out that the star of the show had a super fan that no one knows anything about. And the show’s understudy slips some other intriguing information Holly’s way: not only was Tiffany secretly seeing someone romantically, but there seems to be more than one rat in this company. When Holly discovers a secret passage leading to Tiffany’s dressing room, with footprints leading out; she wonders if this is evidence of a secret lover—or a stalking killer.
With an impending snowstorm and the ballet company on the way out of town, Holly must act quickly if she wants to find the person responsible for this terrible murder. Will she be able to save Christmas—or will her investigation turn cold like the weather?
My thoughts on Stalking Around the Christmas Tree
I’ll say it up front-this is one of my favorite series, even though the murders occur around Christmas. Reindeer Games is a Christmas tree farm Holly White’s family owns and they put their all into the business. There’s the café, Hearth, which Holly’s mom keeps stocked with all sorts of Christmas-y goodies. It’s a life-sized gingerbread house and popular with the locals and the visitors. The farm also has games-reindeer games-in the twelve days leading up to Christmas. Some are indoors, some are outdoors, but all are fun. There is also an inn on the property. Holly is the inn keeper and in this week before Christmas the inn is hosting a ballet troupe from Maine’s capitol. The ballet troupe going to perform The Nutcracker for several nights before returning to the capitol for a final performance on Christmas Eve. It’s all set for a perfect Christmas. But of course, this is Mistletoe and for the last three years a murder has occurred close to Christmas and this year is no exception.
What I like about Stalking Around the Christmas Tree
The setting. Mistletoe, Maine, and especially Reindeer Games Tree Farm, are places I’d want to visit. Frost does an excellent job immersing the reader into the fictional town and tree farm.
The characters. Over the series characters have broadened Holly’s circle of trusted friends. She has a solid relationship with her parents. She’s found a keeper in the sheriff. Her circle of friends includes old and new friends, and those friendships also cross generations.
The mystery in Stalking Around the Christmas Tree
There’s mystery upon mystery in this book. The super fan with the large online following and influence, that no one has ever seen. The dead ballerina-why would anyone kill her? The sheriff’s sister, Libby, has become withdrawn and no one knows why. All were well-written, with plenty of red herrings to throw a reader off. Solving one mystery doesn’t necessarily make solving the mystery of the killer’s identity or motive any easier.
Some of the tropes present in Stalking Around the Christmas Tree
Happily ever after
Stalking Around the Christmas Tree is a tightly written cozy mystery that will keep
you guessing up until the reveal. Recommended.
Thanks to #NetGalley and #CrookedLaneBooks for giving me a copy of #StalkingAroundTheChristmasTree in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.