Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Merry Wilkinson a Protagonist Profile from A Year-Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delany

Silent Night, Deadly Night (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery, #4)
by: Vicki Delany
Series: A Year-Round Christmas Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: August 29, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series.

It's the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus's Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother's college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry's shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father's role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

Name: Merry Wilkinson

Age: Mid-30s

Physical Description: Shorter than I would like, chubbier than I would like, hair that curls more than I like.

Occupation: Owner and manager of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, a decor and gift shop in Rudolph New York.

Town of residence: Rudolph, New York

Pets and names: Matterhorn, the Saint Bernard

Best friend/partner in crime-solving: My best friend is Vicky Casey from Victoria’s Bake Shoppe, but I solve crimes (reluctantly) on my own.

3 likes in no particular order: Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve, Alan Anderson

3 dislikes in no particular order: people who don’t like Christmas, a rainy Christmas, people who kill other people (and leave the bodies for me to find)

Drink of choice: Daytime: latte; Evening: A nice crisp glass of white wine.

Favorite food: Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings.

Favorite dessert: Traditional mince tarts from Victoria’s Bake Shoppe. Or maybe gingerbread cookies from the bakery, or maybe their bread pudding, or maybe…

Favorite color: Ice blue

Favorite way to spend an evening: Dinner with Alan and then a walk in the woods with the dogs.

Hobbies: Who has time for hobbies?

Best memory to date: So very many. I’ve been blessed, but I guess my favourite memories are always Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners around the big table at Mom and Dad’s.

If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently? Very little, but I would like to have been warned away from getting involved with Max Folger. The rat.

What’s something you’ve said you would never do, but in fact have done? Get involved in solving murders

Words to live by: Merry Christmas!

The street was busy with cars and pedestrians. People were wrapped up against the cold, but I hadn’t bothered to put on my coat as I wasn’t going far. Most of the shops had added Thanksgiving motifs to their usual Christmas displays. Santas with pilgrim hats on their heads, elves playing with turkeys, a cornucopia spilling small gifts wrapped in green and red paper. Cranberry Coffee Bar featured pumpkin-spiced everything, along with their usual eggnog-spiced everything.

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Don’t tell anyone in Rudolph, but I love Thanksgiving even more than Christmas. My mom and dad always make an enormous turkey with all the fixings—walnut and sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, a squash casserole, two types of pie. It’s my chance to take one last long deep breath before plunging headfirst into the madness of the holiday season.

I love Christmas, too—my dad is Santa Claus, after all—but now that I own the store, when Christmas Day itself arrives I’m totally exhausted. That’s a day to sit back, feet up, mug of hot chocolate in hand, open a few gifts at my parents’ house, and then have a hearty brunch and go to bed early before opening the shop the next morning for the after-Christmas sales.

I was determined that this year, unlike last, I wouldn’t find myself inviting twelve people around for Christmas dinner. I don’t even own twelve plates much less a table big enough to put them on.

I ran into Victoria’s Bake Shoppe rubbing my hands together and was instantly hit by a welcome blast of heat full of the scent of freshly baked bread, warm pastry, spicy cinnamon, and piping hot soup. The room was full and a lineup waited patiently at the counter. Each of the red and white checked tablecloths had a miniature pumpkin in the center. A plush turkey sat on the high shelf, next to the trophy from last year’s Santa Claus parade. That reminded me: I still had a lot to do to put together the Mrs. Claus’s Treasures’ float for this year, and not much time in which to do it. I shoved the unwelcome thought aside.

The big table in the center of the room was piled high with small shopping bags and surrounded by larger ones, while my mother and her friends lined up at the counter. I slipped behind Mom. “I’m here.”

“Good,” she said. “Why don’t you take a seat and I’ll place your order.”

“Thanks. I’ll have the butternut squash soup and a half turkey sandwich on rye.” I turned to the group behind Mom. “Everything is good here, made from scratch every day, but the squash soup might be the best you’ve ever had.”

“Thanks for the tip,” Constance said. “This place is so charming.”

“The whole town is charming,” Genevieve said.

“Do they use peanuts here?” Karla asked. “I’m highly allergic to peanuts.”

“No peanuts are allowed in the kitchen,” Marjorie said from behind the counter. “Ever. One of my nephews is also allergic, and he works here part-time, so that’s a principle Vicky sticks to. Although I can’t say the same for anything we sell that comes prepackaged.” She nodded to the rows of locally produced jams, pickles, and preserves on the shelf. “Tree nuts, however, like walnuts or pecans, are often used in Vicky’s baking.”

“Tree nuts aren’t a problem for me,” Karla said.

“Are they different?” Ruth asked.

“Totally different,” Constance said. “Peanuts aren’t actually a nut, they’re a legume.” She looked at Karla. “My son is dangerously allergic to peanuts, so I know how difficult it can be sorting out what you can eat and what you can’t.”

“I’ll save room for the dessert special then,” Karla said.

I glanced at the blackboard on the wall. Thanksgiving stuffing bread pudding with caramel sauce. Just looking at the words, I felt three pounds settle on my hips.

Genevieve eyed Karla. “A little preholiday treat, dear? I bet you’re going to be having a delicious Thanksgiving feast at home in Montana.”

Karla’s smile didn’t drop, but it turned very stiff. “I live in Minnesota, not Montana, as you well know, dear, and the dessert sounds lovely. I believe in enjoying the pleasures of good food.”

Genevieve, as tall and lean as a racehorse, ran her eyes down Karla’s short, chubby frame. “So I see.”

Karla’s smile cracked and her shoulders tightened.

Purchase Silent Night, Deadly Night from:

The A Year-Round Christmas Series:

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen ~ Review
We Wish You a Murderous Christmas ~ Review
Hark the Herald Angels Slay ~ Review

🎄 You can read my 4.5 Star review of Silent Night, Deadly Night here.  🎄

Places to find Vicki Delany:


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