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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

How the Finch Stole Christmas (Meg Langslow mystery, #22)

How the Finch Stole Christmas! - Donna Andrews

I'm an unrepentant fan of this series, but I got about half way through this book and sort of resigned myself to a good read, but not a great read.  Admittedly, to my way of thinking Duck the Halls is a pretty hard book to beat in terms of holiday spirit and humour, as well as a solid mystery.  

 

The mystery in this one is, it pains me to admit, weak.  The lady doth protest too much, sort of, and it made the culprit feel obvious.  But I suspect that if you got Andrews drunk, she might admit that the mystery wasn't the point of this story.  The series has always been about the characters, and to a lesser degree, about animals, but How the Finch Stole Christmas is almost all about the animals.  The front flap leads a reader to think it's about the town's holiday play of A Christmas Carol and the shenanigans of the lead actor, but from the beginning the story really revolves around

 

an exotic animal smuggling ring, and a puppy mill that Meg stumbles across while tailing her lead actor, trying to figure out where he was getting his booze.

(show spoiler)

 

This is where the finches in the title come into play, and at least one of them plays a much larger role towards the end of the book. 

 

So the book was good, but not great.  Until the very end.  And Andrews' managed to get me in the feels.  I'm not sure how, because the scene isn't one I'd normally be moved by, so credit has to go to her writing, I think.  No matter the reason, I found myself a little misty eyed as I finished, and once again feeling like she'd given me exactly what I was looking for: a Christmas mystery full of Christmas spirit.

 

By the way, this book works PERFECTLY for the Bodhi day square: Book themes for Bodhi Day:  Read a book which involves animal rescue.  (Buddhism calls for a vegetarian lifestyle.)  I, however, am counting it towards Book themes for Saint Lucia's Day: Read a book where ice and snow are an important feature.  -- A snow storm and impending deep freeze causes all sorts of havoc with rescues, murder victims, and suspects and is the primary complication in the plotting of the mystery.