Review by Booklist Review
During a dress rehearsal for the Kindred Players' production of A Christmas Carol, the universally disliked, curmudgeonly Allan Sharpe, who is playing Scrooge, is murdered onstage by the Ghost of Christmas Past. Volunteer stagehand Suzanne Dietz chases the ghost, its identity hidden by the costume's cowl, but he or she escapes. Later, Suzanne agrees to help Amber Payson, the sheriff's chief suspect in Sharpe's murder, clear her name. With the aid of her business partner, Toni of the Cackleberry Club, their breakfast and lunch café, the two interview suspects, find another murder victim, and almost lose their lives when they seemingly get too close to discovering the killer's identity. Details of small-town life during the Christmas season frame the story, along with lots of particulars about running the Cackleberry Club, which comprises a cafe, a book nook, and a knitting and sewing room. Childs' setting is perfect for appealing to some of the favorite pastimes of cozy readers: cooking, knitting, quilting, and reading, all under one roof. The warm hometown atmosphere and sympathetic characters don't hurt, either. Recipes are included.--Sue O'Brien Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At the start of bestseller Childs's enjoyable eighth Cackleberry Club mystery (after 2016's Egg Drop Dead), Scrooge-like lawyer Allan Sharp is playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a dress rehearsal of A Christmas Carol, held at a theater in the Midwestern town of Kindred, when someone in the costume of the ghost of Christmas Past embraces him as he sits at a desk on stage. When Allan remains slumped over the desk, those watching the performance, including Suzanne Dietz, owner of egg-themed diner the Cackleberry Club CafAc, realize something's wrong. In fact, Allan has been stabbed to death. Suzanne chases the ghost backstage, but the culprit escapes. Suzanne later learns that many people had cause to wish Sharp dead, from the play's director to the town's mayor. Amateur sleuth Suzanne can't resist assisting Sheriff Doogie in the hunt for the killer. The plot unfolds along predictable lines, but cozy fans will find plenty to savor, such as recipes from the Cackleberry Club, in this seasonal outing. Agent: Sam Pinkus, Veritas Media. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Hoping to bring back Christmas cheer, the Cackleberry Club takes on yet another murder case.Suzanne, Toni, and Petra all contribute their varied talents to the Cackleberry Club, the Midwestern eatery they own together. At the first dress rehearsal of A Christmas Carol, a Kindred Players production at which Suzanne and Toni are helping backstage, Allan Sharp, the vastly unpopular lawyer who plays Scrooge, is murdered by a ghostly figure before the eyes of the cast and crew. The ghost, chased by Suzanne, threatens her with a knife before vanishing into the snowy night. Despite stern warnings from her fiance, Dr. Sam Hazelet, and Sheriff Roy Doogie, Suzanne can't help getting involved when Amber Payson, who was sexually harassed by Sharp when she worked at his law firm, becomes the No. 1 suspect. Everyone from the mayor to Toni's lowlife soon-to-be-ex husband, Junior, are also suspected, but Doogie seems to have his eyes set on Amber. In spite of their busy schedules, Suzanne and Toni go into sleuthing mode and step things up when someone burns down Junior's trailer and soft-hearted Toni lets him sleep on her couch. The killer, meanwhile, has taken due note of Suzanne's activities; if she doesn't come up with some solid clues quickly, she may be the next to die.Oodles of red herrings and small-town charm just don't move the story along quickly enough to raise it to level of Childs' more interesting entries (Egg Drop Dead, 2016, etc.). Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.