What with the holidays and all, I thought a Christmassy review would be nice. Given my favorite genre, crime fiction, I found the following short read about Christmas, murder, and cookies interesting. There are some who find it difficult to get into the holiday festive mood. Crunchy Christmas Murder by Patti Benning tells us that you should at least fake it and publicly display enthusiasm for the holidays. There aren’t a lot of surprises; this is what I would call a “comfort read.” I think I will make a tag that says that.
Lilah is a hard working single woman who has an idea of what she wants to do as far as life choices. She is educated; after university, she worked in her father’s business for a while and ended up disappointing him by quitting. She wanted to work for herself. Lilah wanted the financial independence that comes with owning one’s own business. She decided to open a cookie shop. This was not a rushed decision; she worked for several years at a diner while waiting for the right opportunity to come along. Finally, the natural death of a local businessman left his sandwich shop on the real estate market. Lilah borrowed money from a friend and started her cookie business.
In another part of town, Reid Townsend was working as a manager at a machine shop. Senior management was forcing Reid to lay off workers in the few days before Christmas. One worker, John Lopez, became angry to the point the police had to be called. John was forced to go home early after the public display of anger had been witnessed by so many. A short time later, John was found dead in his pool. Lilah would not have been aware of any of this had it not been for her friend Lydia, John’s wife. Lydia had been having coffee with Lilah just prior to the discovery of John’s body. The two had been talking about the bad economic effects of the impending factory layoffs.
The obvious question is who killed John? The police suspect Reid; they had had to respond to the factory for the altercation prior to John’s death. Lilah hopes it is not Reid, by now she has become more interested in him as a friend after he offered to help her in preparing the cookie shop for a grand opening. Lilah begins to suspect Lydia because 1) the perpetrator is usually someone close to the victim and 2) Lydia had made some chance remarks around Lilah about John’s insurance. Never gossip around Lilah.
This short story is about opening a cookie shop. Secondarily, it is a story about a possible blooming relationship between Lilah and Reid. Incidentally, there has been a murder. To get the story on the murder track, there are some unusual pivoting devices. At one point Lilah is visited by a police officer at the newly opened cookie shop. The officer’s demeanor is cold and rude to the point that Lilah wonders if it is because of her involvement in a murder investigation a year before. This comes as a complete surprise to the reader; there was no preparation for it and it is never mentioned again.
Then this appeared in my Kindle edition, in red capitals no less: “I THINK THERE SHOULD BE A *** OR SOMETHING TO DENOTE PASSAGE OF TIME, SO THE NECT SENTENCE DOESN’T COME OUT OF LEFT FIELD, LIKE IT JUST HIT ME. I THOUGHT SHE WAS WELCOMING HERSELF BEFORE I GOT IT.” (loc 900-901).
This is Book 4 in a series. I am going to read at least one more from the series. I will schedule it in my down time. As I mentioned earlier, it is a “comfort read.”