|Title:||Mistletoe and Murder|
|Author:||S. L. Smith|
|Published:||July 26, 2017, Sightline Press|
|No. of Pages:||262|
|Cover Price:||$14.95 Paperback, $3.99 Kindle|
Some holiday mysteries tend to be overly sentimental and banal, but S.L. Smith captures the interest of readers in the first chapter of the fourth installment of the Pete Culnane Mystery series, Mistletoe and Murder, and keeps it up throughout the entire book. Collette Hammond doesn’t expect to die on the night of her brother’s wedding reception which is also an elaborate New Year’s Party. She has planned carefully, and expects everything to go smoothly. However, when she collapses and is rushed to the hospital, only to die shortly afterward, it appears that she shot up an overdose of heroin. Everyone who knows her says she has been clean for over a year, so detectives, Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney suspect murder. The problem is that they can’t really find anyone with a viable motive to kill her.
Pete and Martin are excellent characters, and have been well-developed by Smith. They are believable in that they act like real people, bantering comfortably and humorously in spite of personal problems that they are trying to overcome. They are both likeable, and somewhat clever, breaking down the mystery and interviewing everyone connected to the victim in a way that seems logical.
One thing that stands out about this book, is that Smith is a good storyteller; the book is organized and doesn’t leave issues hanging. The setting is in Minnesota during the winter, and readers will probably wonder why anyone would live there. Having had some experience there during winters past, it really seems that anyone who would choose Minnesota is a bit crazy, and to set an entire series there is surprising. Nevertheless, the author obviously knows the area, and the scenarios are true to form. Readers will freeze to death just reading the book. There are ups and downs, and readers will find the book difficult to put down.
There is no graphic violence, language, or sexual innuendo, so this series is a good choice for mystery lovers of all ages. Readers who are looking for a new series will find this is an excellent one to start.
Special thanks to PJ Nunn of BreakThrough Promotions for supplying a review copy of this book.