I have read all of the Coffee House Mysteries to date and this one let me down a bit. Once the story got going it was good, but the slow beginning and the jumpy feel lacked that initial spark for me.
When traveling Santa Alfred Glockner fails to show at the Village Blend for Clare Cosi’s fa-la-la-la-la latte holiday party, Clare takes it upon herself to go out in the freezing snow to find him. Unfortunately, she finds him dead in a nearby alley from what appears to be a random mugging. A couple of things just do not add up and once again, Clare sets out to do her Nancy Drew thing.
As the story falls into place, it is not just Santa that has a couple of secrets this holiday season and with the help of Madam, who just happens to know the right people, plus Clare’s usual cast of characters - not to mention a new vigilante cop - the story slowly unfolds until you hit the end and think “that was it, this long meandering book and boom it’s over”.
As I said, it was not my favorite of the series, the beginning did not seem as well laid out as the previous books and the writing was a bit roundabout. Parts were thrown in, Mike’s ex-wife, that were not necessary. There did not seem to be as much humor as the other books – so over all I would say that this is only “so-so” as compared to her previous offerings.
Do not be misled by the page count in this book. It says 384 pages but in truth the story itself is only 279 pages. The remaining 105 pages are recipes, tips and information concerning holiday gift giving organizations. Not that that is wrong, it just misleads the reader when you know the story is ending, but there is quite a bit of pages to go.