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In Kingsbury's charming third holiday-themed Pennyfoot Hotel mystery (after 2006's Slay Bells), hotel proprietor Cecily Sinclair Baxter is supervising the final details of the decorations in the ballroom while her husband and the stable master head into the woods to gather holly. All too quickly, the horse-and-carriage return driverless, bearing only the corpse of a stranger. Frantic and dissatisfied with the Badger's End constabulary, Cecily takes it upon herself to find the missing men and identify a murderer. The Edwardian England setting is emphasized by the romances and adventures of numerous stereotypical characters, from Colonel Fortescue with his brandy-soaked tales of exploits in the Boer War to the downstairs crew of stout housekeeper, high-strung French cook and several gossipy maids. Bright, engaging Cecily doggedly seeks the truth in this fast-paced cozy that will provide warm holiday entertainment for Kingsbury's many fans. (Nov.)
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Kate Kingsbury is a full-time writer and the author of the Pennyfoot Hotel mystery series.