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BOOK REVIEW:
MURDER WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS
BY ELAINE VIETS

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Just when you think things can't get any more bizarre with Christmas, along comes Josie Marcus to deliver us into the world of pornographic Christmas ornaments!

Josie Marcus returns in Murder with All the Trimmings in the fourth book of Viets's “mystery shopper” series. As a single parent just trying to make ends meet while dealing with a daughter who is envious of her wealthy classmates' stuff, the Christmas season is hard. It becomes harder still when Nate, Josie's former boyfriend and father of her daughter Amelia, shows up and starts lavishing gifts on Amelia. On top of that, he's threatening to take Amelia back to Canada with him. If Josie's personal life is messy, her work life proves to be no better. She is assigned to “mystery shop” a string of year-around Christmas shops, including the one owned by her current boyfriend's ex which happens to sells pornographic Christmas ornaments. Yes, that's right readers-pornographic Christmas ornaments. Things go from bad to worse as people are poisoned by holiday cake from one of the shops Josie reviewed. Meanwhile, back on the personal side of life, Mike, Josie's current love interest, won't acknowledge the problem behavior of his daughter. That behavior not only drives a wedge between Josie and Mike, but may well be connected to the case.

This book was sort of a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed meeting Amelia's father, Nate, and getting to know more of Nate and Josie's past relationship. Nate's sudden appearance into their lives just before Christmas made for a great plotting. But the whole thought of pornographic Christmas ornaments is just plain disgusting. In fact, everything about the shop where they were sold was sleazy.

I suppose Viets's point was that not everything about the holiday season is always cheerful and nice, and in some cases it's way past being tasteless. If that's the case, she's made her point. All told, I think this is probably the best actual mystery in the series, though maybe not the most fun to read. It certainly put a different spin on the holiday season!

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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