Murder Fir Christmas
Joyce and Jim Lavene
Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night.
Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind.
Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey.
Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late.
Christmas Recipes included! (Goodreads)
This the first book in the new Christmas Tree Valley Mystery series and it is a great start.
The characters are well developed and well rounded. I enjoyed reading about Bonnie, her mom, Rose, Matthew and Bonnie’s coworkers. Bonnie has a lot on her plate to deal with but she appears to be up to the challenge. And of course I enjoyed reading about all the different animals that Bonnie encounters. I also really enjoyed reading about the characters from the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade series. Reading about them reminded me how much I miss that series.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The descriptions are vivid and throughout much of the book I felt like I was right there watching all the action going on around me. The setting has a small town feel and it is a place I would like to visit. The mystery is carried on well throughout the book and there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.
I also enjoyed the mystical aspect of this book. Bonnie seems to possess some special abilities for working with animals that make her very good at her job. I cannot wait to see if these abilities develop any further in future books.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. I am looking forward to reading more about Christmas Tree Valley.