Murder, Mayhem, and Mistletoe
Terence Faherty, Aileen Schumacher, Wendi Lee, Bill Crider
Worldwide Mystery - November 2001
ISBN: 0373264011 - Paperback

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com
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Because they fit into a busy schedule, anthologies are the best holiday reading materials. They are similar to a holiday meal. You may walk away after one serving (story), but the enjoyment will have you coming back for more. Murder, Mayhem, and Mistletoe is just that kind of anthology. Each author has a unique sense of style in his or her sleuth, making each story completely different and entertaining. It's a holiday buffet of mystery & mayhem.

The Headless Magi by Terence Faherty
Owen Keane gets in the holiday spirit by volunteering for a crisis hotline. His past desire to be a priest and his present skills as a sleuth help him deal with the strange phone calls that have been coming into the local hotlines. Owen connects the dots on the phone calls and a newspaper article. Readers will be entertained by Owen's personal life, a touching Christmas story, and a complex puzzle. Terence Faherty has made me a fan just through this one short story.

Christmas Cache by Aileen Schumacher
Schumacher uses an attention-getting prologue to begin her short story, and once the reader realizes the connection between it and Tory Travers's son, it makes the reading all the more captivating. Cody, Tory Travers's son, is house sitting. He takes his dog with him, and it ends up digging up the neighbor's yard. When Cody goes to apologize and return the dug up contents and he finds his neighbor shot. It's up to Tory to solve the attack, and in true Agatha Christie style, she lays out the scene for the police. Readers can expect the true technical writing style that Schumacher is known for. Expect some quick lessons on solar housing and varying religions throughout the mystery. The Tory Travers series is indeed one of kind.

Stocking Stuffer by Wendi Lee
To make extra holiday cash, Boston P.I. Angela Matelli is hired as a security guard for a department store. Making cash is great, working under Chuck Eddie, a returning character she dislikes, isn't. After some imaginative shoplifting takes place, Angela is hired to figure out how it's being done. Angela ends up in the middle of the shoplifter's life, trying to save her instead of arresting her. It makes for an interesting melodrama. I like Angela, she's a great character to follow, and the writer can be credited for a smooth easy read. The short story tells me this series is worth looking up for more impressive reading.

Empty Manger by Bill Crider
When a Texas town puts a live Christmas manger up, the last thing they expect is to be shot at! But before that happens, Sheriff Dan hunts down the disappearing baby Jesus (a doll) which leads him to a dead body. There is no Christmas cheer when he realizes the long list of suspects are those well known to him and living in his small town. Crider's dry humor is woven throughout the complex mystery, giving the reader an occasional smile. I found myself warming up to the characters right away, giving me the desire to look up the regular series.

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