Mini-Reviews: Sleighed at Castle Rock and Rosolio Red #15BooksForChristmas #ChristmasReadingChallenge

I’ve got a few Christmas Cozy Mysteries saved on my Kindle, and started on them this month. These Cozies are more short story than novella but still pack a festive mystery punch.

Sleighed at Castle Rock by Anne Marie Stoddard

No matter what season, the holidays can be murder! Bronwyn Sinclair, assistant to Castle Rock manager, Amelia Grace, is feeling Grinchy—but who can blame her? With Ame out of town, Bronwyn is taking over her duties running the concert venue’s Christmas in July music festival and Battle of the Bands competition. It’s hard enough to get into the holiday spirit in the sweltering summer heat, but things take a turn for the deadly when someone slips mistletoe in one of the judge’s drinks. Can Bron scratch the would-be killer off her naughty list before the whole festival is ruined?

Christmas in July can certainly be a festive affair, if only attempted murderers wouldn’t get in the way. At just 45 pages, this is more short story than even novella. What it lacks in length it makes up for in bubbly personalities and quirky Christmas decor… and costuming! Browyn is young, cute and fun. She’s fully committed to her friends at work and to figuring out who tried to kill grinchy guest judge, Graham Sullivan. Admittedly, the mystery could be better plotted as the culprit’s identity and motive kind of come out of nowhere. However, it does make sense and fits in with the story’s theme. Additionally the big reveal is both funny and atmospheric… souped up sleigh ride anyone?

3/5 stars

Rosolio Red by Traci Andrighetti

With Christmas around the corner, Franki Amato’s got visions of her sugarplum, Bradley Hartmann, dancing in her head. Now that she finally has some time off from her PI job, she’s cooking him up a special holiday treat, and it’s not figgy pudding. Her Yuletide plans are dashed, however, when her meddlesome Sicilian grandma goes missing and she has to hurry home to Houston to investigate. All the evidence points to foul play, but then there’s a bizarre break in the case—one that makes her wonder whether her notorious nonna has been naughty or nice.

This was a quick fun read, clocking in at around 65 pages. However, it was 65 pages of spunk and flair. Even though I haven’t yet started the Franki Amato series, I loved how this short story provides a great introduction to the character and gives a real sense of ‘attitude’. Franki has got to find her missing grandma in time to enjoy her Christmas festivities. There are some clues for us readers to follow. As we follow those clues we meet several characters along the way. I suspect most of them are series regulars and several are quite quirky. As the hunt for Franki’s Nonna intensifies, we get more glimpses into the Sicilian matriarch. She’s got some secrets hiding. Another element I enjoyed was the bits of Italian culture sprinkled in from words to attitudes to Christmas traditions. I liked this taste of the series and will get started on the first full book soon.

4/5 stars

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