The cookies are baked. The tree is trimmed. The shopping? Well, it’s almost done, and Fiona’s parents have finally returned home for a holiday visit—along with some unexpected unruly friends. Yep, Fiona’s perfectly planned Christmas is coming together, but how could’ve she planned for her favorite uncle’s murder?
Who could possibly kill a sweet old man who’s played Santa at the local mall every year without fail? Fiona’s boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry, is determined to find out—before Christmas day arrives. There’s only one problem: Nancy Quinn. Fiona’s mom is just as determined as the detective to catch the murderer, and she isn’t shy about getting the job done—even if it includes breaking a few pesky laws!
Will Fiona and her mother find the killer first or will the killer find them?
A MERRY MURDER: C.S .McDonald
Santa Claus means a lot to children at this time of the year. All kids want to sit on his lap, promise they have been good the whole and hope he delivers tons of presents for them under their special holiday tree. Fiona Quinn is a kindergarten teacher and her students were debating about whether they believe in Santa. Carly’s father promised to take her to see him but she doubted that he would ever come through with his promise. Fiona told her she would hope to get Santa to come and visit her class but that was way before what happened to her own special Santa. A family dinner reunion where her parents came with their five new editions to their home: Five adorable Yorkies plus Harriet, Fiona’s special dog came for what was supposed to be a special lunch but what happens will alert readers that you never know when the unexpected and tragic will cast a black snow cloud over a happy day.
While the family talked about different topics Fiona’s brother decided to tell everyone about something she did wrong in the past right in front of her Detective boyfriend Nathan. Luckily he understood the poor judgment of a seven year old and defended her when her brother Chad told the story. Added in Nancy her mother was upset and distraught when her dog, Keith like Keith Richards was missing and someone close to her long ago also named Keith returns the dog and puts her husband in a snit. Things simmer down and Uncle Wilbur who is 90 tells them about a robbery in the house next to his where his friend Paul’s Santa Uniform was stolen. This sets off a chain reaction when Grandma Evelyn’s Christmas star blinks on and off and when the old superstition says that if something blinks three times it means someone is going to die.
Coming home from a difficult day in school Fiona sees the coroner’s medical vehicle and the police outside of her uncle’s house. Someone shot and killed Uncle Wilbur but who and why? Why would anyone want to destroy the holidays and kill Santa?
Fiona and her mother learn something about the crime scene and the reasons why the uniforms were stolen. Fiona decides to go dumpster diving along with her mother in the middle of the night and what she finds she hopes will help Nathan solve the case. But, since this is Christmas the author throws in a special Santa surprise for Fiona’s students.
Every time Nathan forges ahead with the investigation and wants to interview the owner of the cleaning stores that cleaned the costumes right before Christmas, the owner of the costume store and his workers he finds himself dealing with dead ends that won’t budge. Showing little or no respect for the law and claiming that Nathan could and would never solve the case just wait and see what Fiona found in the dumpster and how it all fits in.
Nancy remembers an important fact linked to her past but what does this have to do with the present? On line at the jewelry counter of a story Fiona and Nancy spot someone that might be another link to who is involved with the costumes, who might have written the notes and what do the numbers mean? Texting Nathan in the middle of the night and wondering what she was up to you won’t believe where Nancy winds up and what happens next to her and Fiona. Caught in the act of trying to solve the case and become amateur detectives, Fiona and Nancy play a dangerous game while Garrett sits home wondering what’s next. Old boyfriends, family ties and several loony characters with Pink and Purple Hair you won’t believe the ending and who killed poor Wilbur and why. So, what if they have to break the law and so what if they could create a break in the case but it might fall short if they are not careful. Nathan might care about Fiona but will he stick by her after all of the antics with her mother? What about Nancy and her old boyfriend that owns the cleaners that is dealing with the costumes? You won’t believe who steals the show and of course we hope gets the credit for breaking and solving the case.
The ending is right out of an Abbot and Costello movie with Who’s One First, What’s n Second, and I don’t Know on third. As the thieves find themselves stuck between a rock and a serious cocaine place the ending will surprise readers but the final solution well you have to read it for yourself as Nancy and Fiona come face to face with a killer, thieves and one crafty Santa who fooled them all. Some miracles happen when you least expect them to as Grandma Evelyn’s star faded away but will it give Fiona and Nathan a special Merry Christmas by lighting up the tree once more. A cute story filled with humor, fun and definitely some surprises as author C.S. McDonald penned a mystery for all readers for this holiday season. So, is Santa Claus real or not? After reading this story you decide for yourself. Happy Holidays.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine