Hey Guys! I’m here with A Wee Christmas Homicide by Kaitlyn Dunnett. It’s the 3rd in the Liss MacCrimmon scottish themed mystery series!
While I truly enjoy this series, I do think there could be a lot of improvement in the books. My main concern with Liss is that she is aware of the damsel in distress trope that many romance and mystery books have, yet she falls into that trap of being a damsel in distress every mystery. It would be funny if she were aware of the trope as she was doing something dangerous, but it’s always just randomly in the story she goes: oh I won’t be stupid like those women who only wait for men to save them. And then she goes and does something stupid and is saved by a man……
Another thing that made me angry for the second book in the series and this one is that Liss has decided that she cannot be satisfied with dating only one man. She insists upon dating Gordon Tandy and Dan at the same time. How both men are able to keep on with her while knowing that she is two timing them is amazing. What also is supremely odd is that she doesn’t go on dates with either of them in both books. While a date could be a boring exposition scene, I feel like it’s necessary in this case. I want to know why she feels both of them could be her match, especially when Gordon is like 40 something and she’s only 29. Luckily for those who hate Gordon he leaves at the end of this book on a convenient 6 month training trip that finally lets Liss know that she doesn’t actually care for him. Which we as readers knew, because she only started dating him after Dan got jealous of her hanging out with another man! WTF! She clearly is not romantically mature.
So the mystery itself starts out with a toy bear being shot through the heart. No one knows how or why. Liss must find out the who, and make sure it doesn’t ruin her Christmas Pageant. Then two nights later Thorne is shot through the heart. Is it a coincidence? Was it premeditated with the bear? No one knows, but now stupid Gordon is on scene and here to steal away Dan’s confidence and Liss’ heart. Oh and her aunt Margaret comes back from spending a whole year in Arizona with her parents. Margaret refuses to let Liss call her “Aunt Mag” anymore, and starts getting on her case about the store. We soon learn that she wants to sell her shares to Liss and go work in the hotel as an event planner. Totally random, and kind of annoying that she was telling Liss how to run the store and then drop the bomb that she’s leaving it in Liss’ hands. Also Margaret is now dating Sherri Willett’s old grouchy father….did anyone see that coming? Not me!
Liss is convinced that Ernie is the one behind the murder because he offered Liss an extra shipment of bears after she ran out, and she told him she suspected they were either fake or smuggled across the border from Canada. She tries to tell Gordon, but he won’t listen. His pride is too much to listen to someone who has solved two previous murders. He instead goes with the ex wife did it. Even though the tiny teddies are missing from the store, so yeah it couldn’t have had anything to do with the bears…right. Liss decides to conduct her own investigation and asks the annoying woman from earlier in the week, who we learn is a toy collector, where she was. In the midst of this conversation we learn she is the one who shot the bear through its heart, because Thorne priced it too high. So I guess if she couldn’t have it no one else could. She then scrabbles for her gun to attempt to shoot Liss and her aunt so that they don’t turn her in for vandalism…I think murder would be a much worse charge crazy lady! And even though she attempted to kill them the woman is let go from the police station! What?
Ernie is still missing, leading Liss to think he’s the prime suspect. So she decides to break into his house. And then is almost caught by who she thinks might be the murderer. They take a map that has a circled area on it, she goes to the shady property manager in town to ask who’s property it is. Jason says it used to belong to the Thornes. Dun dun dun. Maybe it was the ex wife after all? She is the smuggler! Wait, what? Liss also talks to the mysterious dude who is staying in Dan’s father’s hotel. He says he was only there to get teddies to sell to other people. Another red herring, but Dan doesn’t like Liss snooping and tells her to take care of herself. Liss also briefly questions Marcia about Ernie. Never picking up on the fact that Marcia was friends with the Thornes, so perhaps she knew about their property too?
In the end the mystery is solved by an outing on a snowmobile, Gordon getting shot in the head sort of, and the murderer running into a tree on their snowmobile and breaking their neck. No real investigation work was done yet again. However I give it props for doing more questioning of suspects than before. And for Liss to make a little bit of connections here and there. Yet I wish she would be able to solve the cases without accidentally stumbling upon the murderer.
Things that bothered me:
-Liss discounts Marcia from the beginning, even though she says everyone is a suspect.
-Aunt Margaret is a royal bitch to Liss when she gets home, even though they are bffs.
-Sherri tells Liss everything about the investigation even under direct orders not to.
-Dan takes a sideline in this thing.
-Gordon seems to be winning, only to be magically taken out by a convenient training course.
-There are three red herring characters, but only 1 of them does anything interesting enough to suspect them.
Now for the big spoiler:
Marcia is the killer..say what? Yeah. She apparently killed Thorne after he found out she was using his old property to smuggle teddy bears across. She was using Ernie to broker a deal to Liss and Thorne, but Thorne figured out that Marcia got them from Canada, somehow. Then wanted to blackmail her into giving him money. Although he never found out she was actually smuggling people too. She helped people who were Canadians with green cards, that got stuck in Canada while their families were in America. Go figure..
I’d give this a 3/5 or a 7.5/10. There was less troubles in this one, but still enough to make me go, wtf at the end when the culprit was revealed.