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Decked with Folly
A Special Pennyfoot Holiday Mystery, No. 5

by Kate Kingsbury


Room with a Clue was the start of it all, for both me and this popular series. The first in series was also how I discovered cozy mysteries. Taking one look at the cover back then, I thought this could be fun. And here we are, twelve Pennyfoot mysteries and five special Pennyfoot Special Christmas mysteries later. Obviously Berkley and cozy mystery fans know a good thing when they read it.

Visitors and staff are ready to celebrate Christmas at the Pennyfoot in Badgers End. Cecily and Baxter, friends Phoebe and Madeline, Dr Prestwick, employees Clive, Samuel, Dan, Mrs Chubb, Michel, Gertie (with twins), Pansy, and Mabel are working hard to make it another memorable celebration. Cecily is holding her breath, hoping the curse passes them by this holiday. Hopefully, this will be the year without a dead body or a visit from P.C. Northcott or Inspector Cranshaw. The good inspector dislikes Cecily and would love to shut the club down.

Phoebe’s Christmas pantomime is the highlight of celebration, but Madeline’s vision has Cecily thinking maybe not... Unfortunately there is a thief among them and a former Pennyfoot employee takes a fatal fall into the duck pond. Unsure if it’s accidental or not, Cecily talks the local constable into holding off the investigation until after Christmas. She in turn investigates on her own with the help of the staff and despite Baxter’s occasional disapproving comment or look.

Kingsbury offers plenty of characters, historical detail, dialogue, clues and false leads. Expect to fall head first into this charming, entertaining holiday whodunit. For me, picking up a PennyFoot Holiday mystery is like going home for Christmas and meeting up old friends. I look forward to next year’s mystery Stalking in a Winter Wonderland.

The Book

Berkley Trade
November 3, 2009
0425230015 / 978-0425230015
Historical Mystery / England, after the turn of the 20th century
More at
NOTE: Holiday: Christmas

The Reviewer

Brenda Weeaks
Reviewed 2009
© 2009