Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Date of publication: October 17th, 2023
Genre: Christmas, Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Fiction
Series: Christmas Tree Farm Mystery
Twelve Slays of Christmas—Book 1
Slashing Through the Snow—Book 3
Tis the season to solve a murder—and innkeeper Holly White knows she’ll have to make her list and check it twice if she wants to catch the killer in the fourth Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.
For inn keeper Holly White, Christmas time in Mistletoe, Maine, is the ultimate holiday gift. Business at the Reindeer Games Inn is booming, her wedding to Sheriff Evan Gray is nearly here, and the annual parade is about to begin. The town is lucky to have another gift this year with the state’s ballet company staying for several performances of The Nutcracker. But disaster strikes when Tiffany, the lead ballerina, shows up dead on a float during the parade, the Rat King’s mask nearby. Holly will have to spruce up her sleuthing skills if she wants to catch the killer before Christmas—and her wedding day.
Immediately, Holly discovers that Tiffany had more than a few secrets. She finds out that the star of the show had a super fan that no one knows anything about. And the show’s understudy slips some other intriguing information Holly’s way: not only was Tiffany secretly seeing someone romantically, but there seems to be more than one rat in this company. When Holly discovers a secret passage leading to Tiffany’s dressing room, with footprints leading out; she wonders if this is evidence of a secret lover—or a stalking killer.
With an impending snowstorm and the ballet company on the way out of town, Holly must act quickly if she wants to find the person responsible for this terrible murder. Will she be able to save Christmas—or will her investigation turn cold like the weather?
“Hold that pose, Mrs. White,” my best friend, Caroline, called.Stalking Around the Christmas Tree by Jacqueline Frost
Christmas in Mistletoe, Maine, is always special; this year is no exception. With an upcoming wedding to plan, charities to donate to, and a booming business to run, Holly doesn’t have a minute to breathe. Things get even more hectic when the prima ballerina, Tiffany, collapses during the town’s annual Christmas parade and is later pronounced dead from arsenic poisoning. Holly immediately starts investigating and finds several clues pointing to a superfan, the choreographer, the Rat King, and the understudy. Will Holly uncover who killed Tiffany?
Stalking Around the Christmas Tree is the 4th book in the Christmas Tree Farm series. You can read this as a standalone book. But, and I always say this, I do recommend reading books 1-3 first. That way, you better understand the characters and their backstories.
Stalking Around the Christmas Tree was a fun read for me. I wasn’t expecting it to be, if I am going to be honest. I am not a fan of picking up books mid-series. In my experience, I usually end up missing something when I do that. But this is a rare case of that not happening. The plot was fast-paced, the characters were well-fleshed out, and the mystery was twisty.
Stalking Around the Christmas Tree’s main storyline centers around Holly and her investigation into Tiffany’s death. The author didn’t veer from this storyline too much and kept it focused on its objective: To find Tiffany’s killer and the motive. The storyline was well-written, and it kept me glued to the book.
There were several secondary storylines in Stalking Around the Christmas Tree. The two main secondary storylines were Holly’s wedding and Libby’s stalker. The author kept both secondary storylines separate from the main storyline and the author did something that surprised me. She kept the storylines separate throughout the book. Did they crisscross? Absolutely but in no way did either storyline join the main one, and I loved it.
The storyline with Tiffany’s murder and Holly’s investigation was twisty. The author did a great job of keeping how the killer was under wraps until the end of the book. I was surprised at who it was and why that person did it. Oh, and how they did it too.
The storyline with Holly’s wedding was sweet. Since this has been a storyline that continued from the last book, I am sure that readers of the series were thrilled with how it ended. I know I was!!
The storyline with Libby and her stalker was sad. Again, this was a storyline the author carried over from the previous book (maybe books?). Once Holly confronted Libby with what was happening, I figured out who the stalker was. It did break my heart a little bit to read the ending scenes (where the stalker is caught) because of why this person did it.
The end of Stalking Around the Christmas Tree was terrific. I loved how the storylines ended. I hope there is another book in the series.
I recommend Stalking Around the Christmas Tree to anyone over 16. There is mild violence, mild language, and fade to black sexual situations.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley, and Jacqueline Frost for allowing me to read and review Stalking Around the Christmas Tree. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
If you enjoyed reading this review of Stalking Around the Christmas Tree, then you will enjoy reading these books:
Other books by Jacqueline Frost: