The Murder Before Christmas by Michele Pariza Wacek

Charlie Kinglsey lives in Redemption, Wisconsin and creates and sells teas to clients. She is also a baker, but her passion is creating new tea mixtures.

When a pregnant, young married woman comes to her seeking a potion to make her husband love her again, Charlie is a bit perplexed because as the woman whose name is Courtney is clearly pregnant, why on earth would she need her help and second Charlie does not do love potions! But then Courtney tells Charlie she knows her husband is cheating on her and was hoping she could help to get him to love her again.

When Charlie informs her, she cannot Courtney then asks if she knows of any teas which could poison someone. Seeing the surprise on Charlie’s face at the turn of the conversation, Courtney explains she is just joking. She says even though she loves her husband sometimes feels like killing him.

Then, Courtney’s husband Dennis is found dead in their house on Christmas Eve after having a glass of brandy which had been sent via mail by his cousin as a Christmas gift. As Courtney mourns the loss of her husband and father to her unborn child, something she knows all too well about as she was raised by only her mother, she becomes the primary suspect.

Now shunned by her neighbors and Dennis’ co-workers, she pleads with Charlie to help her find the truth as to what happened to her husband. Charlie, who sees that Courtney is deteriorating and is concerned for her and her child agrees to help. Unfortunately for Charlie there are an abundance of suspects who would have benefitted from Dennis’ death, including the woman he was allegedly having an affair with. And Courtney’s omission of facts does not help eliminate her as a suspect.

Charlie has to sift through the lies and hidden facts, as she tries to put the pieces together as to what was happening in Dennis’ life before the murder. And what she discovers is shocking!

With a terrific twisty ending, this cozy mystery is enjoyable, engrossing and satisfying. Perhaps author Michele Pariza Wacek could share her recipe for Candy Cane Concoctions to sip while reading! Yum!

Thank you #MicheleParizaWacek and Love-Based Publishing for sending the copy of #TheMurderBeforeChristmas to me. Her second Charlie Kingsley Mystery, Ice Cold Murder will be out in late January. I can’t wait!

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