1 1/2 Stars
This should have been a silly little mystery. It was billed as a silly little mystery. It was shelved in the mystery section. It was part of a series of silly little mysteries all involving crossword puzzles and the same characters. It was written by a silly little mystery author. The publisher said it was a silly little mystery (without the “silly little” part, of course). It wasn’t a silly little mystery. It was feel good fiction. Weird, I know. The story is about an ex cop and and his crossword writing wife. They own 2 dogs, who inexplicably begin talking among themselves during the story. Maybe this is part of the series–I don’t know. I haven’t read any other books in this group. Anyhow, the ex-cop joins his old partner and the forensics guy to pick up gifts for needy children. They dress as Santas. Did I mention it’s christmas time? The whole time, the ex-cop worries about what to get his wife for christmas. He hits upon an idea, and decides to work it into a crossword puzzle for her. The dogs begin talking at this point, and worry that their master is going to get their mistress a pair of love birds. They spend the rest of the book trying to dissuade their master from doing so. Then there’s a strange matchmaking session thingy…the local rich lady decides to use the traditional gift exchange to fix up the widowered hardware store owner and a despondent local woman. I guess it works. They don’t really talk about it much. There is a bit of a mystery–three convicts escape and head into town. They tie someone up, there’s a moment of mistaken identity, and then their caught. This bit doesn’t really seem to fit with the story and really occupies only a few paragraphs in total. It was actually like 3 separate stories were thrown haphazardly together into one book, but the author decided not to really develop any of them. Maybe there was a deadline coming up? Eventually christmas arrives and the main characters give each other their gifts, which, of course, are hidden in crosswords that you have to figure out to find out what they’re getting. Thank goodness the author put the answers at the back of the book. I’m not looking forward to reading the rest of this series.