Review of Swamp Santa by Jana DeLeon #15BooksForChristmas #ChristmasReadingChallenge

It’s Christmas in Sinful and Fortune is set to participate in all the local hoopla. A Christmas gala, caroling, and a sleigh ride are on the agenda. Murder is not. But when someone bumps off Santa, Fortune is aware a killer is lurking among the holiday cheer. But with no client and no reason to interfere with a police investigation, it looks as if Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie will have to sit this one out.

Big and Little Hebert might be criminals, but they prefer no competition in their territory, especially someone brazen enough to kill a man at the Christmas gala. When they hire Fortune to investigate the man’s death, she gets her Christmas wish and Swamp Team 3 sets out to solve their final case of the year. 

Available on Amazon.

I suspect it’s dangerous business playing Santa in a cozy mystery in December. This is the second one I’ve read where the guy in red ends up dead!

However, this St. Nick isn’t too jolly. In fact, he’s an imposter who, for nefarious reasons, decommissioned the guy who traditionally plays Santa and took his place. Let’s just say that when his true identity is revealed, no one is too sad to bid him adieu.

His demise does bring a major spark of curiosity to Fortune and her associate detectives, and soon they find themselves on the case to find out why this shady character was in Sinful and who wanted him dead.

The mystery is well-plotted. Once some major parts of the story are revealed you can get a good picture of what the real motive is going to be. That said, there are several key suspects and you’d be hard-pressed to figure out just which one is guilty. You might also find it hard to want any of them to be guilty too! Clues are revealed at a good pace and distracting red herrings are thrown in as well to keep the reading sleuth well-occupied. Nice and twisty!

As it’s the festive season, our favourite characters are busy planning for the big day and hope to have the mystery resolved by then. Ida Belle is trying to fend off the wedding planners and Fortune and Carter still work at figuring out their personal relationship and professional situations. I must say, poor Carter really gets the short end of that stick. Again not enough character development with Fortune and Gertie. And Celia’s underpants can be retired from the running joke category.

That said, I still do really enjoy spending some reading time in Sinful and catching up with the zany residents. I give Swamp Santa 4/5 merry espresso shots.

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