Thursday, October 21, 2021

Book Review: 'Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

'Twas the Knife Before Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery, #2)'Twas the Knife Before Christmas (Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #2). Jacqueline Frost. Crooked Lane Books (2018). 309 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "'Less than two weeks until Christmas - can you believe it?' I asked my friends Cookie and Caroline before sinking my teeth into another bite of creamy vanilla cupcake therapy."

Summary:  Holly White is looking forward to her second Christmas back home in Mistletoe, Maine.  Christmas is a big deal in Mistletoe and especially at her parents' Christmas Tree Farm.  The Farm hosts all kinds of fun events leading up to the big day.  To get the Christmas season underway, the town hosts a Tree Lighting Ceremony at the downtown square.  Holly and her friends are attending and all is going well until a man is found dead near the big tree.  To make matters worse, the dead man was her best friend Caroline's date last night.  She was the last one to see him alive and is the prime suspect.  Holly knows her friend didn't commit the murder, but will she be able to convince Sheriff Gray before it is too late?

My thoughts:  If you are looking for a book to get you in the Christmas spirit, this one will certainly help.  Just look at that cover!  The Christmas Tree Farm, Reindeer Games, is all about Christmas.  From the fun activities - the blind sled challenge, Reindeer Bingo and the Christmas Ball, to the delicious baked treats and the charming decor, you can hardly turn a page without being reminded of the season.  

There is a lot to like about the characters as well.  Holly has returned home after a messy breakup with her fiancee.  She lives in the guest house of her parents' tree farm and has a close relationship with them.  She has a large heart and tries to see the best in most people.  I love the relationship her parents have with one another as well.  Holly dreams of someday having a relationship like theirs.  Her best friend Caroline, friend of the family Cookie, and new friend Ray all add to the fun of the book.  Holly is confused about her relationship with Sheriff Gray.  But she gets some answers in the course of the story.  There are some fun, new characters introduced as well and I hope we will see more of them in future books.

The mystery interesting and the suspects believable.  There were several people who had motive. I would be sure it was one person and then a few pages later sure it wasn't that person.  This made for a fun and suspenseful read.  The way the criminal was caught was exciting and a little magical.  All of the stories wrap up in the end which makes for a satisfying read.  

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Christmas Tree Farm Series.