Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I apologize for the late holiday review (yes, I finished this in 2018), but, I’m still watching Hallmark Christmas movies. I love the holidays!
This was my first cozy mystery read. I will warn you right now, I am apparently not a cozy mystery genre fan. I found this book to be too cheesy at times and lacked some substance for me. However, I can look past what makes a cozy mystery a cozy mystery and provide an honest review about the overall writing.
Despite all the cheesiness, I was hooked in to this book. The premise is a troupe of performers stay at Plum Cottage while they perform nightly during the Christmas Festival in Christmas Village. There are a lot of characters introduced in the beginning, to the point where it’s overwhelming, and are quite eccentric. Mrs. Claus helps her friend who owns Plum Cottage and suddenly one of the troupe members is murdered.
What intrigued me was how the murder happened and who did it. I could not forecast how exactly the murder happened nor could I figure out who did it (until much later in the book). A second murder also occurs which is also as equally puzzling as the first; this is why I kept reading.
The premise of the murders was so mind boggling that I ignore the cheesiness of the book just to figure out how they were committed. Mrs. Claus has a lot to do with solving the murders, which is something that is a bit bizarre. And yes, there are references to her husband who is very busy this time of year, along with her pet ferrets, coincidentally named after famous reindeer. I would have preferred a more realistic storyline instead of a happier, light one, but, to each their own.
I will say I was shocked with how both murders were committed. I was not surprised at who did it, the author alludes to who did it as the book progresses. However, those murders! I really could not figure out in my head how they were committed and just wow. The first body is found in the snow with no footprints around it. I will say that how the murder occurred is revealed at the very end and blew my mind. The second murder is crazy in its own right as well. If not for the uniqueness of these murders, I doubt I would have kept reading.
Overall, I would rate this book 3.5 stars (which ultimately rounds up to 4 stars on Goodreads and Amazon). I would recommend this book if you’re into a puzzling murder case around Christmas time and can look past an overly cheesy barrage of characters and storyline. If you know you do not like cozy mysteries, don’t pick this book up. If you are curious, go ahead and try it, just know that I warned you.
Title: Slay Bells: A Christmas Village Mystery
Author: T.C. Wescott
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books
Release Date: November 23, 2018