Murder in the holiday spirit
It was Christmas in Lickin Creek, and all through the town something was stirring..The borough council was quarreling about the color of the Christmas lights. A social worker wouldn't let a living baby be part of the town's living crèche. And some ladies were stretching the limits of their leotards in a pageant called the Nutcracker. All in all, former New Yorker Tori Miracle was basking in the quaint glow of her adopted Pennsylvania town, when suddenly the season went sour. A boy was missing. A thirty-year-old mystery resurfaced. And now two people have been murdered. With her boyfriend--the town police chief--out of town, Tori must help his befuddled replacement. And what she finds out, or should be finding out, is making Tori the next target--of someone only in the mood for murder....
Malmont's latest Tori Miracle mystery (after Death, Guns, and Sticky Buns, etc.) takes readers to the backwoods of Lickin Creek, Pa., where Tori, editor of the town's only newspaper, is busy covering the community theater's annual Christmas pageant (a Wiccan-cum-Shakespearean adaptation of The Nutcracker). The assignment is interrupted abruptly when the town's only full-time policeman, Luscious Miller, comes bursting into the church hall with the news that five-year-old Kevin PoffenbergerDlast seen by two older and tight-lipped cousinsDis lost deep in the snow-covered woods. During the search for Kevin, the remains of another child missing for the past 37 years are uncovered. Soon after, two of the pageant's middle-aged sugar plum fairies are murdered, leaving Tori to wonder if Lickin Creek has a serial killer on its hands, or if someone is trying to prevent a long-buried secret from being revealed. As Tori slowly unravels the mystery, she keeps company with some pretty strange characters, including an evil child, a flamboyant TV psychic, an art teacher who trains cats to become artists, goddess-worshiping witches and dozens of other equally chilling and eccentric oddballs. With so much going on, it's easy to get lost in the absurd clutter, but readers who enjoy wading through the clues and chaos Malmont liberally supplies will find that this cozyDalbeit typically offbeat and cornyDread provides a barrel of fun.