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November 1, 2022

Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

A mysterious man shows up at the Book Chalet during the mystery book club meeting (where they are having a seance no less). He's looking for someone but when she doesn't appear he leaves. However he leave behind his satchel with a pretty valuable book in it. Later when the Christie sisters, who run the bookstore, see him getting on the gondola they try to catch up to him. However, once they reach the bottom of the mountain the man is dead with a knife in his back. Who could have killed him since he was alone in the gondola? Also, where did Ms. Ridge, their ever-efficient bookseller, go? Don't worry, the Christie's are on the case!

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

Book cover of cozy mystery Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire
November 2022; Bantam; 978-0593496343
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); cozy mystery 

I love the snowy setting of the small Colorado mountain town. It is perfect for winter reading - I live in the south so I prefer my snow in pictures and books! The book is set around a bookstore that is owned by the Christie family - so far they haven't found a genetic connection to their favorite author but that doesn't keep them from hoping.

First books in a series, Dead and Gondola is the first book in the Christie Bookshop series, can be hit or miss for me. I have to say this one was a hit. Books that are a miss for me usually spend too much time introducing the characters and town. But Claire perfectly balanced out the need to set the stage for the series and keep the story moving. I think having a local resident go missing was a great way to let the reader naturally meet the townspeople and look around the town.

The main character Ellie is likable, but there was something about her that felt like it could be annoying if overdone. Even though she is well-traveled, she felt very young to me. Maybe it is because her older sister Meg pretty much handles the business side of the bookstore. I couldn't tell what Ellie did at the store other than run the register, even though they are supposed to be running the store together. 

I liked the mysteries - both the death of the mysterious visitor and of the missing Ms. Ridge. While the police are on the scene there isn't much interaction with them. I'm not sure how Chief Sunnie and her deputy are going to be portrayed in this series. Are they just background characters, though we seem to get a lot of info about them? Are they and the Christies going to buttheads on future cases as the Christies are told to stay out of the investigation? Or are they going to be mildly incompetent for easy laughs? Or will they work together for the mutual best interest of the town? I'm hoping for this last scenario and it could work well since Sunnie is new to the town.

Overall this is an excellent mystery to read this winter as you snuggle under cozy blankets with a hot drink. I'm looking forward to more books in this series.

Buy Dead and Gondola 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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