Kerry Hammond is here today, getting into the holiday spirit with a new Christmas mystery by Jane K. Cleland.
Ornaments of Death by Jane K. Cleland is the 10th in the Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series. The hardcover book goes on sale today, December 1st, published by Minotaur Books. Not only do I love the Josie Prescott series, but I enjoy reading Christmas mysteries around the holiday season. There’s nothing like getting into the spirit with a good murder mystery. I jumped at the chance to share my Christmas this year with Josie and her entourage.
Josie, owner of Prescott Antiques, has found a link to a distant relative, Ian Bennington. Ian has traveled all the way from England to New Hampshire to meet her, and Josie convinces him to attend the Prescott Antiques annual holiday party. She can’t help but be extremely thankful to have found family after all these years, and is thrilled that Ian is well liked by all her friends. He even makes a date with Josie’s girlfriend, Lavinia. Mixing a little business with pleasure, Ian asks Josie to appraise a set of watercolor miniatures that he’s given to his daughter, Becca, and thinks are worth a small fortune.
After the party, though, Ian doesn’t show for his date with Lavinia and also misses a lunch date with Josie. He just disappears into thin air. Josie is worried for Ian’s safety and contacts his daughter, who is on the East Coast conducting research on clams in the Atlantic. Becca won’t take Josie’s calls, refusing to discuss Ian or the miniatures, which leads Josie to wonder what’s really behind Ian’s disappearance.
I found this installment in the series to be quite a challenging puzzle. Cleland dishes out the pieces slowly and deliberately, allowing the reader to meet her at the finish line, assuming all clues were interpreted correctly. The solution isn’t so easy as to remove the challenge of solving the mystery, though, and the reader might even find a red herring or two to lead them astray.
There is no shortage of cold, snow, or intrigue in Josie’s New Hampshire for the holiday season. Curl up in front of the fireplace with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate to enjoy this book. Keep in mind, books make great stocking stuffers for the mystery fans on your list. You can’t go wrong with any of the books in this series.
Mystery Playground is on twitter @mysteryplaygrnd or find us on Facebook. Kerry Hammond also writes the Crime & Beyond Book reviews, and you should see her Sherlock and Watson Nutcrackers.
This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review is fair and independent.