Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There Goes Santa Claus by Nancy Mehl

Ivy Towers heard the "prancing and pawing of each little hoof" on her rooftop, just before Santa fell to his death.   Now she needs to discover Santa's true identity and why he was on her roof.

I took this book home from the library over Christmas weekend for several reasons.  One, it was one of the few remaining Christmas-themed books we purchased this year that I haven't read.  Two, the cover is adorable.  And three, with the kids home and all that entails, I didn't want to attempt any deep reading.  All very superficial reasons to pick up what I thought would be a standard cozy mystery.  But it was far above the standard.

The draw of a cozy is the community, but authors often sacrifice plot and movement to create that relaxed, hometown feel.  Nancy Mehl manages to keep the small town ambiance and quirky characters, without losing momentum.  My second praise of Mrs. Mehl's work is that she trusts her readers enough to put the clues out there - well disguised - and let the reader solve along with the heroine - or not.  There were no aimless re-caps of information and possible solutions that are so common in this type of book.  Mere pages before the bad guy was revealed, I began to have my own suspicions.  What a satisfying ending, to discover that I had been able to piece part of the solution together, but not too soon.

This is a Heartsong Presents Mystery, which means the characters express their Christian viewpoint.  That is never an issue to me, but in this story set at Christmas, it adds a second storyline of forgiveness and second chances.  There are three previous entries in the Ivy Towers series, none of which I've read, but it didn't make a bit of difference to my enjoyment of this book.

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