New Year Nuisance

By Tonya Kappes; reviewed by Jeannette Hartman

Nothing takes the sparkle off a New Year’s Eve ball like murder.

But that’s just what Violet Rhinehammer and her friend Maybelline (Mae) West discover when they go to the Holiday Junction village welcome center to see the mini-replica of the village itself.

Among the tiny ceramic buildings, they discover the body of Hillary Stevens propped up against a tall, Rapunzel-style castle with her hair knotted around it.

Hillary is a problem child for Holiday Junction. Her family owns the local tea shop, Cup of Cheer. But over time, Hillary has become more irrational about change in the village.

She hates Holiday Junction’s efforts to attract tourists to its exuberant holiday celebrations. She hates the contest that elected a black and white French bulldog named Paisley mayor. She hates that the miniature village includes buildings that don’t actually exist in Holiday Junction. She fights renovations in the town.

Fortunately for Holiday Junction and its New Year’s Eve program, Violet and Mae are experienced sleuths. Violet is the editor-in-chief, photographer, reporter and web mistress for the local newspaper, the Junction Journal. Mae is taking a short break before planning her wedding to the most eligible bachelor in Normal, KY.

There’s also romance in the air for Violet. The handsome Darren Strickland, son of the local police chief and owner of a nameless bar that Violet calls the jiggle joint, is more than willing to help investigate. He grew up in Holiday Junction and knows everyone and their tangled relationships.

There are plenty of suspects here.The Kenner family owns Ceramic Celebrations where most people make the miniatures for the mini-village competition. Troy Kenner was Hillary’s high school boyfriend.

Hillary often had run-ins with Berta Bristol, who worked at the welcome center, because she would rearrange the mini-village or destroy things she didn’t think belonged. Gail Steinner, an elementary school teacher, created the Rapunzel’s Castle that Hillary hated. Gail’s students loved the story. If she could win the prize of a year’s worth of groceries, she planned to divide it among students who weren’t getting enough to eat.

Whether you discover the killer before Violet, Darren and Mae do, you can be assured that all will be resolved before the New Year’s Eve Sparkle Ball begins.

This cozy mystery is overflowing with cute, from its coastal setting to its Main Street trolley, from its family-owned businesses to its eccentric citizens. Not to mention that Violet’s friend is named Mae West.

I’m no fan of cozy mysteries; they are too light for my taste. I prefer more complex characters and plots. But sometimes when life gets busy and chaotic, a simple puzzle story can be entertaining.

This book is the fourth in the Holiday Cozy Mystery series. It was preceded by:

  • FOUR LEAF FELONY
  • MOTHER’S DAY MURDER, and
  • A HALLOWEEN HOMICIDE.

It was succeeded by:

  • CHOCOLATE BUNNY BETRAYAL
  • FOURTH OF JULY FORGERY
  • THANKSGIVING TREACHERY
  • SANTA CLAUS SURPRISE
  • APRIL FOOL’S ALIBI

For other holiday season book suggestions, check out “Christmas Tales of Murder and Mayhem.”

The Author: Tonya Kappes

Tonya Kappes has written more than 180 southern cozy mysteries. She says her goal is to help readers escape their lives with a good southern mystery and plenty of southern hospitality to make them laugh.

In addition to the Holiday Cozy Mystery series, she has also written these mystery series:

  • Camper & Criminals
  • Killer Coffee cozy mysteries
  • The Kenni Lowry mysteries,
  • Magical Cures
  • Spies and Spells
  • Mail Carrier cozy mysteries
  • Divorced Diva cozy mysteries,
  • Laurel London mysteries
  • Ghostly Southern mysteries
  • The Olivia Davis mysteries
  • Southern Cake Baker cozy mysteries.

She also is the author of romantic comedies, stand-alone novels and collections of short-stories and themed stories.

She wasn’t a fan of reading until her mid-30s. She joined a book club for the wine, chocolate and opportunity to get out of the house while raising four active boys.

Her book club friends told her she should write a book the same day her husband said the same thing. The next day she bought a notebook and started writing while waiting for two of her boys to finish football practice.

She lives with her husband in northern Kentucky. With four grown sons, she writes full-time in her camper.

#tonyakappes  #jeannettehartman. #newyearnuisance

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