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A Christmas Peril (A Theater Cop Mystery) Paperback – September 8, 2017
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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About the Author
J. A. Hennrikus is the author of the Theater Cop Mystery series. As Julianne Holmes, she writes the Agatha-nominated Clock Shop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Hennrikus blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors, is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America. She is also an arts administrator who lives in Massachusetts. Visit her online at www.JHAuthors.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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Edwina “Sully” Sullivan has taken a medical retirement from her job as a Boston cop. After moving back to her hometown, she found herself becoming the general manager for the local theater company. It’s mostly a summer theater company, but each December they put on a production of A Christmas Carol. This year’s production is looking problematic thanks to a star who can’t remember his lines and a cast getting frustrated with his antics. Time is running out since the play is supposed to open this weekend.
However, the big news in town is taking place outside of the theater. Peter Whitehall was murdered – shot in his home. Peter is a distant relative of Sully and the father of her friend Eric, but the reason the entire town is talking is how rich he was. Peter was definitely the most prominent citizen in the small Massachusetts town. Because of Peter’s security system, the police know it was someone who was in the house at the time, but that just leaves family. Reluctantly, Sully finds herself being pulled into the puzzle. Can she figure out who committed the murder while still doing her part to get the play ready for opening night?
I was a bit surprised when I realized that the murder was not directly connected to the theater. Oh, there are some connections, but it’s really the friend and family ties that bring Sully into the case. This wasn’t an issue for very long, however, as I got caught up in the story. Really, the mystery is a modern-day Agatha Christie type puzzle. Instead of weather isolating the suspects, its technology that does it. There are some twists that kept me guessing until we reached the logical solution.
And fans of the theater, like me, have no reason to fear. The problems the production of A Christmas Carol is facing provide a strong sub-plot that is woven through the book. I loved how the two were balanced and the glimpse behind the scenes at the theater. It certainly helps that I love the story and know it well, I watch or listen to several different productions of the classic Christmas tale every year.
Sully is already a strong main character with strengths and flaws that make her relatable. There are some other strong characters here, a few of whom I’m hoping are going to be series regulars instead of just suspects for this book. Some of the theater characters could have been stronger, but they work for this book, and I’m sure we’ll get to know them better as the series goes along.
My biggest issue with the book was the foul language. It mostly falls into the mild category, but it was definitely more excessive than I’m used to in a cozy. It’s worth noting, but I’m sure for most people it’s worth noting only in passing.
It’s hard to believe that Christmas cozies are already coming out, but that’s indeed the case. Whether you devour it now or wait to savor it in December, you’ll definitely want to meet Sully in A Christmas Peril. This new series is off to a strong start.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
Edwina “Sully” Sullivan was once part of the state police of Massachusetts, but she is now medically retired and divorced from her unfaithful husband. She’s moved back to her hometown, Trevorton and taken on the job of General Manager for the local theater. Sully was surprised to find that her skills learned on the police force would serve her well at the theater, but they do.
Sully deliberately chose not to become a PI because she wanted to leave police and investigative work behind. That has worked for five years. However, when the town’s leading citizen is murdered and his son (who is Sully’s friend) is the main focus of the investigation, she has to at least look into it a little to see if she can help.
When she arrives at the police station to see what she can do for her friend, she finds he has a very good lawyer – Sully’s ex-husband. She’s not sure how she feels about that. There is a tingle of excitement at seeing Gus again – but – she doesn’t really want to be around him.
The investigation is filled with twists and turns, multiple murders and multiple perpetrators. One of those perpetrators is a surprise!
Sully is a very relatable character and you can just feel her being pulled by her interest in the case all the while she is trying to stay out of it. She’s also pulled to Gus and it is obvious that the softer feelings are still there for him. He seems to still be drawn to her as well – especially since he didn’t want the divorce – he wanted to work things out. So, it will be interesting to watch and see the romance grow throughout the series. I say that hoping that it will grow because I really like both characters and can see them working together really well.
"I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
Most recent customer reviews
A Christmas Peril is a very solid cozy mystery.Read more
This was an absolutely delightful book! It didn't quite have the pizzazz I look for to push it up to a 5-star rating, it is a solid 4.Read more
A Christmas Peril is book 1 it's always fun to start a series in the beginning.Read more
The First Theater Cop Mystery
Sully Sullivan may have given up her badge, but she retains her police smarts as her worlds...Read more
Former police officer Edwina “Sully” Sullivan tries to leave her old career behind but when her best friend becomes the prime suspect in a murder...Read more