Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings
September 29, 2020
Christmas, Cozy Mystery
Summary: It’s the first Christmas in Santaland for April Claus–but it may also be her last unless she can uncover a villain with a killer Christmas wish. . .
Love is full of surprises–though few compare to realizing that you’re marrying the real-life Santa. April Claus dearly loves her new husband, Nick, but adjusting to life in the North Pole is not all sugarplums and candy canes. Especially when a cantankerous elf named Giblet Hollyberry is killed–felled by a black widow spider in his stocking–shortly after publicly arguing with Nick.
Christmastown is hardly a hotbed of crime, aside from mishaps caused by too much eggnog, but April disagrees with Constable Crinkle’s verdict of accidental death. As April sets out to find the culprit, it’ll mean putting the future of Christmas on the line–and hoping her own name isn’t on a lethal naughty list . . .
What I Liked: The idea for this book, and the entire series is VERY clever. A normal woman who finds herself married to Santa Claus, having to solve crimes? Super fun. And for the most part, I liked the entire world Ireland created. Talking snowman and reindeers? Elves having jobs at places like the Candy Cane Factory or the Wrapping Warehouse? All fun and inventive. April, or Mrs. Claus, was a good main character but the story really shines when the Claus family are on the page. Lucia, in particular, was outstanding and I would love to learn more about her in the subsequent books. The mystery itself was interesting and unfolded nicely, with just enough clues throughout to keep me guessing.
What I Didn’t Like: As a reader, this book drops you right into the story, without much background and it was jarring. On top of that, one of the main plot points of this book is that April married Nick after only knowing him for a few months, but we’re not given more than a scene or two of them together, so I had issues believing that they were in love, let alone would marry each other after knowing each other for such a short time. Even the quick look back at when they first met didn’t show enough of them as a couple. Also, I know that the average age of a cozy mystery reader probably skews older but there were some very odd and old references that I doubt most readers under the age of 60 would know. Ethel Merman, the Lawrence Welk Show and Family Affair? I dare you to find anyone born after 1960 to know who these people and things are. Which doesn’t make sense since this book was written in 2020 and April and Nick are supposed to be in their late 30’s. It was very odd and took me out of the story at times.
Who Should Read It: Anyone looking for a super clever and inventive holiday mystery will like this one.
Review Wrap Up: This was a fun Christmas mystery that REALLY brings the Christmas spirit, with reindeers, elves, egg nog, and Santa. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a mystery that doesn’t take itself seriously.