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It's the holiday season in Notchey Creek, and Harley Henrickson is busy mixing yuletide cocktails at her store, Smoky Mountain Spirits. There is snow on the ground, holiday music in the air, and wreathes on every lamppost. Everything seems perfect for the town’s biggest event of the year, the Small Town Christmas Festival. Even Harley’s pet pig, Matilda, is feeling festive, wearing the Elf on the Shelf costume Aunt Wilma bought for her. But not all is merry and bright in this little mountain town. Harley senses something eerie in the air, and it all points to Notchey Creek's oldest and most beautiful home—Briarcliffe.
No sooner has rock star Beau Arson settled into his ancestral mansion of Briarcliffe, than a self-righteous ghost hunter arrives in town, telling macabre tales about Beau’s new home. According to legend, a young woman by the name of Margaret Reed hung herself in the woods behind Briarcliffe on Christmas Day, over a century ago. To make matters worse, Beau has been experiencing ghostly encounters at night, seeking to drive him from his family’s home.
When Harley finds the body of a mysterious woman in the woods near Briarcliffe, and then a wealthy antiques dealer is murdered, she decides to investigate. Can Harley intervene before a century of lies, greed, and passion destroy Beau Arson’s new life—the past he’s just only come to know?
In the meantime, other issues are causing problems for Harley. Aunt Wilma and Opha Mae Shaw are designing a Christmas dress of epic proportions for Harley (and one for Matilda, of course). Uncle Tater and Floyd have been devising top-secret plans in The Shed that might have to do with the upcoming Christmas Parade. And Harley’s best friend, Tina Rizchek, is at her wit’s end when her colorful grandmother and pet parrot visit from Pittsburgh for the holidays.
*Includes drink recipes!
A Note From the Publisher
This title is currently on Amazon. Wide distribution to all stores--with ebook, hardcover, paperback, and audiobook editions -- begins February 20, 2020.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Andrews (The Mist Rises Over Notchey Creek, 2018) spins her holiday yarn with a pleasing mix of cheer and dread: "Beneath the hand lay a mound of body, like a snowman fallen on its side, and Harley brushed the snow from the torso, revealing a woman's black dress. She worked her way up to the head region, where threads of dark hair swirled in a frozen pattern on the snow." The novel has a classic feel, and of all the day jobs that an amateur detective might have, whiskey distiller is certainly a fun one (and fitting with the Smoky Mountains landscape).
The book is a perfect choice for reading by the fire after the Christmas guests have gone home, though it may keep readers up late into the night.
A deftly constructed and thoroughly enjoyable small-town murder mystery with a Christmas twist.
From Booklife by Publisher's Weekly:
Andrews's delightful second Harley Henrickson cozy mystery (after The Mist Rises over Notchey Creek) is packed with thoroughly believable red herrings that will keep even the cleverest readers guessing throughout ... From the first page, Andrews demonstrates a gift for setting vivid scenes, opening with Beau in his bed reading Great Expectations ... Colorful supporting characters--particularly Harley's famous pig, Matilda; muumuu-wearing Opha Mae Shaw and her pink Ford Pinto; Great-Aunt Wilma with her day-of-the-week wigs; and Great-Uncle Tater and his unfortunately flammable gingerbread shed--add hilarious touches readers will love. Andrews's wry observations ("A pharmaceutical commercial advertised its latest drug, two of the side effects being uncontrollable laughter and projectile diarrhea") also add considerable levity. This expertly characterized story will appeal to cozy mystery fans of all ages, and those of drinking age can indulge in the delicious-sounding cocktail recipes that conclude the book.
This funny and well-plotted cozy mystery, which boasts sharp wit and a clever heroine, will delight readers of all ages.