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