Cecily Sinclair Baxter's Christmas becomes a working holiday when the man she hired to play Santa Claus is murdered in this Pennyfoot Hotel mystery.
To ring in the holiday season, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is hosting a party at the Pennyfoot Hotel for the children of Badgers End to meet Father Christmas. Unfortunately, the jolly old man fails to appear. Instead, his body is discovered—clearly a victim of foul play—and his helper has had a fatal fall.
The police believe the two men had a tragic rooftop tangle, but Cecily has her doubts. The murder weapon is still missing, and since no one has left the hotel since the crime, she’s making a list of suspects—and checking it twice...
At the start of Kingsbury's 14th Pennyfoot Hotel mystery, series heroine Cecily Baxter is looking forward to a peaceful Christmas without any of the tragic events that marred the previous holiday season (detailed in 2003's No Clue at the Inn). When a footman breaks his neck falling off the roof, the village drunkard is stabbed and stuffed down the chimney in his Father Christmas suit, and Cecily's husband begins to avoid her questions about why he's spending so much time with a beautiful French singer, she reluctantly turns detective once more, determined to solve the mysteries and somehow still help her guests have a happy Christmas before the local constables can bungle the chase or shut down the hotel. The author draws as much from Fawlty Towers as she does from Agatha Christie, crafting a charming but entirely predictable cozy delicately flavored with period details of pre-WWI rural England.