Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier
Published by Kensington on September 25, 2018
Series: Lucy Stone #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
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As if baking holiday cookies, knitting a sweater for her husband's gift, and making her daughter's angel costume for the church pageant weren't enough things for Lucy Stone's busy Christmas schedule, she's also working nights at the famous mail-order company Country Cousins. But when she discovers Sam Miller, its very wealthy founder, dead in his car from an apparent suicide, the sleuth in her knows something just doesn't smell right.
Taking time out from her hectic holiday life to find out what really happened, her investigation leads to a backlog of secrets as long as Santa's Christmas Eve route. Lucy is convinced that someone murdered Sam Miller. But who and why? With each harrowing twist she uncovers in this bizarre case, another shocking revelation is exposed. Now, as Christmas draws near and Lucy gets dangerously closer to the truth, she's about to receive a present from Santa she didn't ask for--a killer who won't be satisfied until everyone on his shopping list is dead, including Lucy herself . . .
Mistletoe Murder is the first book in Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series. This is my first time reading anything by this author and overall, I enjoyed the book. First published in 1991, it’s certainly a product of its time, though, which is something to consider.
Lucy is a fun heroine because she’s so different from a lot of the other heroines I read in cozy mysteries. Lucy is married with kids and she has a no-nonsense approach to life. She also has a bit of an off-color sense of humor, which is refreshing to read.
When Lucy isn’t busy being a mom, she works nights as an operator at Country Cousins, a successful mail-order catalog company. Lucy is horrified one night when she discovers the dead body of Sam, the founder of Country Cousins. Initially it appears to be a suicide, but those close to Sam know that can’t be right.
As Lucy prepares to get her family ready for another Christmas, she investigates Sam’s murder. There are comedic moments, like when Lucy follows the trail of a possible hit man…only to unwittingly contact a few male escorts instead. Then there are horrifying moments, which include the deaths of not just one pet, but two. (As a dog lover, I was especially bothered by the dog’s demise. It just seemed so unnecessary.)
The book was published in 1991 and it shows. For one thing, I’m pretty sure mail-order catalogs aren’t much of a thing anymore, so much as online ordering has taken its place. I did smile whenever VCRs and other outdated technology was mentioned, simply for the nostalgia. However, there are some problematic moments, especially in the language used; for example, the word “retarded” is used to describe someone with a disability, and I was surprised that this hasn’t been revised for recent editions. There’s also a moment between Lucy and someone at work that’s sadly relevant in today’s #MeToo culture. It’s basically brushed over in the story, but today would be a huge issue.
Overall, I did enjoy the story and plan on continuing the series. I’m interested to see how the storytelling (and Lucy herself) evolves over time and it’ll be fun to see Lucy’s kids grow up throughout the books. I recommend this cozy, which the caveat that it’s definitely a product of the time in which it was written, so just be aware of that.
Rating: 3.5 stars