Reviewed By: Caryn St. Clair
Ringing In Murder
Amazon US PB Amazon US TPB Amazon Canada PB Amazon Canada TPB
Class/Genre: Mystery Historical Cozy Woman Main Character Holiday Christmas
Series: Holiday Pennyfoot Hotel Mysteries # 4
Berkley Prime Crime, Paperback, 247 pages, $14.00
Kingsbury has again given readers an early Christmas present with Ringing in Murder, the fourth Pennyfoot Country Club mystery. Not only does owner Cecily Baxter have a full house for the holidays, she's planning her friend Madeline's wedding as well. And if that is not enough, among the guests this year are two important opposing members of Parliament, Sir Walter Hetherton from the House of Lords, and MP Roland Crossley of the House of Commons.
Kingsbury has set this series in Edwardian England, a period with customs very fitting of holiday stories. She uses the various English traditions of the time as the center of the mysteries. The Christmas cracker is at the center of this book. Cecily has ordered special crackers for Christmas dinner, but as the staff is setting up the dining room, they notice that two of the crackers are missing. This is especially concerning because in one of the ordered crackers was a prized brooch. But before Cecily can really deal with the missing crackers, there is an explosion in one of the guest rooms that kills one of the honored guests and his wife. Once again, Cecily, not trusting the local constable to uncover the truth, undertakes the investigation herself.
A cynical reader might wonder why anyone would check into the Pennyfoot around the holidays given the club's holiday curse. And one might wonder if Cecily really doesn't have enough on her hands what with an hotel full of guests and a wedding to plan without taking over the constable's job as well. But most readers are really just looking to visit “old friends” with Kingsbury's books and on that score Ringing in Murder is perfect.
Caryn St. Clair
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Caryn St. Clair