*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
Christmas falls on Peridale, but that does not mean café-owner and part-time sleuth, Julia South, can sit back and enjoy the festivities. When the opening night of the annual Christmas play ends with Julia’s elderly gran, Dot, fatally shooting a man in front of the whole village, Julia’s world is turned upside down. Did Dot plan to murder the man she has a secret past with or was she framed?
While juggling the slow process of adopting her foster daughter, her heavily pregnant sister’s looming delivery date, and her Detective Inspector boyfriend seemingly keeping secrets, Julia must wade through the tangled history of the Peridale Amateur Dramatics Society if she wants to free Dot from prison before Christmas Day. With the walls of Julia’s personal life closing in around her, and the cast and crew of the play not being all they seem, can she figure out the truth in time, or is it one case too many? The only thing guaranteed is that it promises to be a holiday season to remember…
After nine books I’ve read and reviewed I really can say I am a big fan of Agatha Frost and her charming character from Peridale.
Although the books are claimed as to be read as stand alone – which I agree with – I really recommend to read them when you’ve already know the other books in the series otherwise you have a few difficulties to catch everything.
The events of the earlier books are mentioned and it’s combined with the crime case in this book, this time it’s Dot, Julia’s grandmother, who is under investigation, accused of being the murderer of a co-star in a stage play.
With the well-known zeal, Julia South is ready to defend her grandmother and prove she is innocent. Secrets are revealed and not only Julia sees a new side of the older lady.
The way how the book shows another layers of the characters is what I loved most about the series and with every new book we get more and more background information, as well as we see the characters creating their own new history and fond memories.
Of course even the romantic parts between Barker and Julia, which are rare, are overshadowed by the crazy events in the book, and it goes without saying that’s a thing you equally love but be a tiny bit annoyed by it. 🙂 It’s really not easy for Barker to have such a witty, ambitious partner.
As much as I enjoyed the whole crime case and the new information about Dot, I couldn’t help myself and was a bit disappointed in the way Barker was displayed. He seemed more a side-kick than a reliable Inspector and I really hope he isn’t overshadowed by Julia in the next books.
The end was not totally unexpected but of course the sweet moments couldn’t last long or were, how should it be different – disrupted by other – not necessary unpleasant – events. I’m really looking forward to read the next book in this series, and because I am so fond of the character I can’t give other than 5 out of 5 stars. 🙂