After recently reading and reviewing, Crowned and Moldering, I couldn't wait to dive right into this story. I was taken aback when I heard Mac was off on a promotional trip and had not even picked up the phone to contact Shannon for over 40 days. What the heck happened between stories? Wait I am getting ahead of myself.
It is the holiday season in Lighthouse Cove and Shannon has taken the lead on a huge charity project. An old Victorian mansion is being transformed into housing for the homeless. Contractors and volunteers join together to get the project completed by Christmas Eve. A group of Santa's helpers complete with the black boots, beards and red suits even show up to help. The president of the bank managing the funding seems to always be underfoot and soon after the project starts he and Shannon's father, Jack get into a bit of a fight. When the president is found dead Jack finds himself in the hot-seat as there were plenty of witnesses to their argument. Shannon is on the case to clear her dad of the crime and unwrap the true killer before it is time to jingle those bells.
So you see Shannon has plenty on her plate but she can't stop thinking about Mac and why he hasn't called or texted. I thought their relationship was starting to move forward so this kind of distracted me a little bit from the mystery at first. I don't want to spoil anything so I will leave this topic alone for this story.
Setting the romance aside, there were several new characters introduced. Mr. Potter, the bank president, until he met his untimely demise. He was a character that was very easy to dislike. Several volunteers including one who didn't really seem to fit in and who kept disappearing. Several "Santas", who truly helped on the project. All of our favorites from previous stories return too, well with the exception of Mac who finally arrived near the end of the story. Man, I just can't seem to let that drop.
I do love the setting, another grand Victorian with all the grandeur waiting to be restored and a few secrets that houses like it always seem to have. I would love to have one of my own. We were close to owning one early in the 80's. I wish we would have made the major purchase but it needed more work that be were ready to take on at the time.
Ms. Carlisle gave us another challenging mystery to solve with plenty of red herrings, twists and turns. I figured it out right along with Shannon.
I did love this story with that little exception I mentioned earlier. Yes, I really missed Mac, darn it, I did I won't deduct a star for my distraction, but I hope the next installment starts out a little better on the romantic front. This is another captivating cozy from Kate Carlisle, all kidding aside, I recommend it and the whole series very highly.