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October 30, 2019

A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I love cozy mysteries, and I love Christmas stories. When these two genres collide I'm usually a very happy reader. Though I have not read any of the previous books in the Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery series, I could not pass up A Merry Murder. It's not just a cozy mystery, and it's not just a Christmas story. It promised to be an old fashion English Christmas. What could be better?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

October 2019; Berkley; 978-1984805928
ebook, print (304); cozy mystery
I know a lot of series will do a cute little Christmas story that is more novella than novel, but A Merry Murder is a full novel. It didn't feel like the author just decided to write a Christmas story featuring her series's characters. Instead, it felt like another full installment that happened to be set during Christmas.

I'm not sure how many people are familiar with the British television drama The Grand, but this story reminded me a lot of that show. Though A Merry Murder is set a decade or two before the show.

Though I haven't read the rest of the series, I didn't feel lost and there is enough background given for the characters that I knew who was who pretty quickly. There is reference to past mysteries (this is book 22 after all), but more in the vein that Cecily Baxter is no amateur when it comes to solving murders. So don't worry if you haven't read any other books in the series. Though if you like Edwardian England and a bit of upstairs/downstairs drama, then you might want to check out the rest of the books. I know I do.

In A Merry Murder, the Baxters' (owners of the Pennyfoot Hotel) are hoping for an eventful holiday, though the guests may be disappointed if there isn't a catastrophe during the annual pantomime. Their hopes are dashed when head housekeeper Gertie discovers the body of a gentleman in the laundry. What's worse, their recently hired, and very timid, maid is the main suspect. Actually, with Constable Northcutt on the case, she is the only suspect. Cecily knows she has to find the real killer to clear her maid's name and hopefully salvage Christmas.

The focus of the story is tightly on the murder, but there are some side stories. The pantomime which apparently is a catastrophe each year provides a bit of distraction. As well as giving handyman Archie more reason to be in the hotel as he builds the sets. More than one of the maids have their eye on him. Plus there is a bit of a mystery surrounding the new mechanic Henry. While the murder mystery is tied up nice and neatly at the end, there are a number of loose ends that I assume will be picked up in future books in the series.

Whether you are a fan of the series, or you are looking for something more than the typical quick, silly Christmas story, then A Merry Murder should be on your Christmas reading list.

Buy A Merry Murder at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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