“Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon has pulled out all the stops for her booth at the Hobson Glen Holiday Fair, theming her appetising offerings around the festive performances by the Williamsburg Theatre Group. But when Tish meets the cast, she is surprised by the hostility between members of the allegedly close-knit troupe, centred around their star actress, the beautiful, talented yet mysterious ingenue, Jenny Inkpen.
Determined to spread some Christmas cheer, Tish volunteers to deliver breakfast to the eight actors, but is horrified to discover Jenny dead in her trailer the next morning. As Tish attempts to find out more about the group’s leading lady, she soon uncovers lies, jealousy and a series of shocking secrets. Can Tish expose a cold-blooded killer before the fair is over?” – Amazon
The Christmas Fair Killer by Amy Patricia Meade is the third book in the Tish Tarragon Mystery series, and instead of taking place in and around Tish’s cafe and catering company, Cookin’ the Books, most of this one takes place at a winter festival and it focuses on the Williamsburg Theatre Group. I love when cozies branch out from their usual location since it’s always interesting to read about new places within the cozy’s community.
The Christmas atmosphere adds a wonderful layer to the story between Jules and his recently adopted Bichon Frise wearing matching clothes, to the descriptions of the literary named dishes, and even the weather conditions, where Jules, the local weatherman, swears the festival will not have any snow. Meade also does a wonderful job with making the theater costumes and sets come to life and having the reader feel as if they are actually at the festival.
And Meade shines when it comes to the characters. Tish, Mary Jo, and Jules really do feel like best friends. Their banter and how they support each other is perfect. And for being introduced in The Christmas Fair Killer, the theater troupe characters are really well developed. This sense of community makes a reader want to come back to read more books in the series to find out what is happening in the character’s lives.
As for the mystery it was a bit darker than other cozies I’ve read, but I think the subject matter was handled very well, and sexual assault of children by relatives is something that needs to be discussed and not hidden. I was surprised by the killer and I really loved how Meade used all the duplicity with the plot and characters.
I highly recommend The Christmas Fair Killer, as well as the other books in the Tish Tarragon Mystery series, and I’m looking forward to coming back for future books to see how Tish’s love life with Attorney Schuyler and Sheriff Reade ends up, as well as to enjoy the friendship between Tish and the gang.
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