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16 December 2015

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany

The beginning of a new cozy mystery series set in a town that celebrates Christmas all year AND that town is in my dear New York State?!? Yeah, I was in love with this book before I even hit the "Buy Now" button on Amazon.

Vicki Delany's Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen takes place in the fictional town of Rudolph, New York on the southern shores of Lake Ontario. Not familiar with New York geography? Here's some help:

(original map found here)

Oh how I wish it WAS a real place because see that little heart in the center(ish) of the state? Yeah ... that's home. It would take a couple of hours TOPS to go and indulge in the yums from Victoria's Bake Shoppe and pick up some locally crafted gifts at Mrs Claus's Treasures. Of course, with how much I love all things Christmasy we'd probably end up having a day trip turn into an overnight and we'd hole up at The Yuletide Inn  (if they had vacancies, of course) after some dinner at the Touch of Holly Restaurant (and some dessert from North Pole Ice Cream). Alas, all I can do is read about it all.

Now, Rudolph didn't start out being all festive. The town was named after its founder whose last name was Rudolph and he was thought to be a hero of sorts during the War of 1812. When it was discovered that he was, in fact, a spy .... well .... the focus switched to the reindeer that shares the name and ever since it's been Fa La La and Ho Ho Ho and Jingle All The Way. On the day of the big Christmas parade there was even an English reporter from an international travel magazine in town chatting folks up and taking pictures for a story highlighting Rudolph as "America's Christmas Town." 

Oh, yeah. That's where the book opens. At the beginning of the parade. See? I knew I was supposed to be rambling about a book and not just obsessing over someplace I can never go. (Watch. Next someone will tell me that Hogwarts doesn't exist, either. Bah.)

Merry Wilkinson is our main character and the owner of Mrs. Claus's Treasures. She has a rambunctious Saint Bernard puppy named Matterhorn (Mattie, for short), her best friend owns the Bake Shoppe, and her nemesis since youth is now a local police officer. At the parade after-party Vicky treated everyone in town to amazing gingerbread including one specially made to look like Charles Dickens for the magazine guy that Merry got to serve since she was dressed as Mrs. Claus. After the party, Merry takes her pup for a much-needed walk in the park and Mattie finds said magazine guy laying in the snow. 


Of course.

The murder weapon? A poisoned gingerbread cookie.

The two people who had the most recent contact with the last cookie he was known to have eaten (and, therefore, the main suspects from the get-go)? 

Merry and Vicky.

Of course.

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without murder and mayhem, would it?

Have I mentioned yet that I love this book? Oh. Yeah. I think I have. 

Even though Rudolph only exists on the pages it feels real. You know these people. You love some. You dislike some. You want to hit some over the head with a candy cane. You want this nasty murder business solved and out of the way for Vicky and Merry and the entire town because, really, murder in "America's Christmas Town" would not be good for tourism. You know, for the town that no one can really get to anyway.


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