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The Christmas Fair Killer
Tish Tarragon Mysteries – Book III
BY Amy Patricia Meade

Severn House
30 April 2020 / ISBN 9780727889898
Out in US 4 August 2020
Mystery /Contemporary

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Tish Tarragon has a booth selling refreshments at the Hobson Glen Holiday Fair, and like many other people she has been enjoying the performances by the Williamsburg Theatre Group. But there are tensions in the group stemming from the recent inclusion of the beautiful and talented Jenny Inkpen, who is the star of every show. When Tish delivers breakfast to the actors next morning she finds the unpopular Jenny dead in her trailer. Convinced that the police are looking at the wrong suspect she turns sleuth again to discover whodunit.

This is the third in the series and like the first two, there is a lot to like about it. Severn Houses has picked a good example of the cozy mystery genre; this series contains most of the good features of this type of story and none of the bad. We have an amateur sleuth running a café with her loveable team, a small town packed with secrets where everybody knows one another (or thinks they do) and at least one love interest. You won’t find crazy relations, paranormal goings-on, too much about cute pets or an overabundance of romance. Cutting out a lot of this clutter means that instead you get a good story with plenty of detecting and a group of characters you get to know well and like. Tish is a divorcee in her late forties with a gay assistant and it is cheering to see how she cares about her team, helping out an employee who is down on their luck. This is surely what “cozy” really means; the sort of positive life-affirming actions that we all wish were part of our own everyday lives This entry has a more convoluted and teasing plot with a lot of elements, which makes it harder to guess whodunit, and even if you do you won’t guess everything that’s going on. Throw in some tangible descriptions of the Christmas fair and you have a book with a lot going for it. May there be many more in this series.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019