Hello all, and a happy holiday and new year to all who celebrated! I don’t have a great excuse for missing so much time between posts – between the post-wedding nonsense, my 30th birthday, job insanity, and the looming holidays, the idea of sitting and writing felt stressful, too much. However, I finally realized that sitting down and doing is the only way to get writing (is this my new year’s resolution? Guess so…) So, we are back in business! Without further ado, here is one of my ARC books that came out this fall (thank you, Netgalley and Berkley!), but which embodied the Christmas spirit: An Eggnog to Die for, by Amy Pershing:
From the Publisher:
Christmas is coming to Cape Cod, but when Sam Barnes finds a very dead Santa in a very hip restaurant, it’s up to her to sift out suspects who have been naughty vs. nice….
Professional foodie Samantha Barnes has a simple Christmas list: a quiet holiday at home with her dog and a certain handsome harbor master; no embarrassing viral videos; and no finding dead bodies. Unfortunately she’s got family visiting, she’s spending a lot of time in front of the camera, and she’s just stumbled over the lifeless body of the town’s Santa Claus.
Plus, Sam’s plans for Christmas Eve are getting complicated. There’s the great eggnog debate among her very opinionated guests. There’s the “all edible” Christmas tree to decorate. And there’s her Feast of the Five Fishes prepare. Nonetheless, Sam finds herself once again in the role of sleuth. She needs to find out who slayed this Santa—but can she pull off a perfect feast and nab a killer?
What I Enjoyed:
- New England Christmas. Amy Pershing brings to life all of the fun that is a small town Christmas celebration, and all of the good, bad, and ugly of specifically New England during the holidays. She has Santa and his elves coming in by boat off the cape, the foggy roads and sand/snow mixture, and the feast of fishes with fresh New England seafood. An Eggnog to Die For was such a fun Christmas read, and really god me in the mood for the holidays. Also, how can you beat great seafood?
- The Unlikeable Murder Victim. One of my all-time favorite murder mystery themes is when the murder victim is so unpopular that virtually everyone is a suspect. Sam is on the case of the murdered Santa, but she definitely has her hands full when the entire village has reason to want this guy dead. He was a blackmailer, a virtue signaler, a member of the village board allowing businesses to run, and an all around bully. He is the best murder victim, presenting an actual challenge with solving the murder.
What Didn’t Work as Well:
- Samantha. When I reviewed book one, A Side of Murder, back in 2020, I didn’t specifically mention my dislike of Sam’s character – but it is pervasive. Sam is hyper critical of everything around her. She is a bit pretentious when it comes to her cooking (chefs often are, but on paper, it is worse), she is nosy with her parents and wants to control their lives, and she is critical of her friends. While on the one hand, I like how *real* Pershing’s characters are, on the other hand, Sam could be a little more likeable.
- The Red Herrings. On the flip side of the same coin, Eggnog also suffers from a certain overabundance of red herrings, especially in the middle of the book. I found myself wanting to skim at some points when Sam was brainstorming in what could clearly be seen as the wrong direction. The killer was a genuine surprise, but at some point in the book, every single character is essentially a suspect.
An Eggnog to Die for is a fun and light cozy, set in one of my favorite places during one of my favorite times of year. A true Christmas cozy (complete with dead Santa!) and anyone who likes Christmas mysteries will easily be entrenched in the holiday spirit. While there are some nits I have about the series, I have still recommended it multiple times. 3.5 waves for a brisk walk to the beach!