A Christmas Cozy Review

by Jackie Houchin

Here’s a new cozy mystery, just in time for Christmas. Have you ever been to a “Santa’s Village” complete with a Misses and Mister Claus?  T. C. Wescott’s new book takes you there and makes you want to stay for the festivities, food and fun.

Slay Bells 7

“Slay Bells is a cozy mystery that is indeed “cozy.” Imagine the aromas of cinnamon cookies, tarts, cakes and puddings baking, fireplaces glowing, villagers bundled in furs and mukluks, while powdery snow gently covers the famous hamlet.

Imagine mistletoe (a curious part of the mystery) and holly,  twinkling lanterns (a beautiful ancient tradition there) and carols at the annual Christmas Festival.  This is the setting for T.C. Wescott’s first Christmas Village mystery.

Two ladies feature in this tale. Super sleuth and much beloved is Maribel Claus, wife of the famous mister Claus who is conspicuous by his absence, being busy with his shop workers preparing for the “big night.” Meanwhile Maribel aids the fumbling Sheriff Fell in solving crimes in Christmas Village.

Rose Willoughby is her elderly friend, fellow goody-baker, and sometimes assistant in crime solving (when she can be trusted to keep secrets.)  Rose owns Plum Cottage, a quaint Bed & Breakfast where at present; a traveling troupe of circus performers – magician, juggler, acrobat, fortuneteller, strong man, grumpy manager and assistant – is lodging.

When one of them is murdered in a most peculiar way – with a small silver bell left on his chest – the list of capable suspects is long. Each performer has a special ability that could almost have accomplished the “impossible” act.  But which one? And mostly, how?

Wescott keeps the reader in suspense as first one then another is considered by Maribel and Sheriff Fell. When a second more curious murder occurs (again a bell is left on the body), there are even rumors of a legendary flying monster doing the killing.

While the village struggles to carry on with the festivities, and the performers huddle in fear wondering who will be the next to die, Maribel works to pry out and then trap the killer.

Slay Bells is a delightfully perplexing mystery. It will take a most astute armchair detective to discover HOW the murders are done before the author reveals the very believable solution!

Readers will love the atmosphere and the characters Wescott has created. The humorous superstitions, lovely holiday traditions, and the vague allusions to the famous mister all add to the fun of the story. And so is trying to beat Maribel in finding the “who” and “how.”  Betcha you can’t!

Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher for review


Author: Jackie Houchin

First, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so my views and opinions are filtered through what God's Word says and I believe. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma and now a great grandma. I write articles and reviews, and I dabble in short fiction. I enjoy living near the ocean, doing gardening (for beauty and food) and traveling - in other countries, if possible. My heart is for Christian missions, and I'm compiling a collections of Missionary Kids' stories to publish. (I also like kittens and cats and reading mysteries.)

9 thoughts on “A Christmas Cozy Review”

  1. Sounds like great fun, intriguing, and perfect for this time of the year. Definitely on my TBR list. Thanks for the review, helps when there are so many books I want to read…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a fun read, Madeline, and not too long either. I had in mind WHO might have done the murders, but the HOW is definitely perplexing It’s not a locked room mystery (both murders were outdoors) but it has the same kind of stumping power. No matter how you think they might have been done… it just couldn’t have. A real hoot!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, definitely kids would like this too, especially with the twisty way the murders were committed, and of course, the circus performers. And the fact that Mrs Claus is the sleuth makes it more fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review, Jackie, definitely makes me want to read the book, although I winder if T.C. has to wait till next Christmas for a follow-up? She could, of course, take on the 12 Days of Christmas, with a murder a day — nah, guess that is overkill. This one has a neat title and sounds like the perfect seasonal cozy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gee, I hadn’t thought of that, Jill – wait till next Christmas for the second in the series….. But he (not she, yes, I was surprised too!) has another series he writes (The Running Store mysteries), so maybe one Christmas Village per year wouldn’t be so bad!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds a fun holiday read, Jackie. At this time of year, with all the craziness around, I like cozy reads. Another one for my Kindle. Thanks…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Jackie, thank you so much for sharing your review of my book on your blog. I’m delighted by the comments! I noticed one of your readers asked if all the books will happen at Christmas. No, they will not. I’m excited about the idea of exploring the village at all times of year (to say nothing of holidays!) I believe the next book will take place in the spring and the third will be a Halloween book. That’s subject to change (they haven’t been written yet) but that’s the plan . Thanks again for the support! – T.C.

    Liked by 2 people

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