Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: A DAMSEL FOR SANTA : A McKENNA MYSTERY (Trouble in Paradise #7) by Terry Ambrose

Here's a Christmas cozy novella for you:


Not even the freak hurricane bearing down on Honolulu can dampen Wilson McKenna's holiday spirit. His girlfriend is coming to town, and they'll be celebrating their first Christmas together. Everything changes though when Chance Logan shows up and begs McKenna to help with a big charity event.

Chance wants his best friend to take the role of Santa in the Christmas play he's directing. The previous Santa claims to have malaria, and dress rehearsal is only hours away. McKenna agrees to help, but trouble strikes during rehearsal when the storm hits town. There's a city-wide power outage, the phone lines and traffic are snarled, and when the lights come on, one of the elves is dead.

When McKenna and Chance decide to investigate, the child star insists on being Santa’s helper. Now, McKenna has questions galore and no answers. Is the killer the Shakespeare-quoting Scrooge? The secretive Jack Frost? Or the way-too-friendly elf with more personalities than he can count? Should he give Assistant Elf Investigator Holly the promotion she's demanding? And what should he do about the Santa suit? It's giving him itches in places he can't even mention in public.

This year, Hawaii's best amateur sleuth has a short Christmas wish list. He wants to find a killer before the curtain comes down on this production. And, he'd kill for a sturdy backscratcher.


McKenna reluctantly gives in to playing Santa in the dress rehearsal only to have to deal with a dead elf. With no power and phone lines down, he takes on the job of sleuth with the help of the child star who plays "Holly"  (the damsel) in the play.  Aside from all the quirky characters and tensions, there's something going on with the Santa Suit and McKenna is stuck.

Lots of twists and turns, the holiday spirit, and some humor along the way.  If you're up for a holiday treat that's short and sweet, you'll enjoy this novella.  Although part of a series, this is easily read as a stand alone.


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