MYSTERY

Slay Bells Ring: A Caprice de Luca Home Staging Mystery

Kensington. Nov. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781496709776. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781496709783. F
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In Smith's seventh series outing (after Shades of Wrath), the holiday season is approaching and Caprice has just finished staging a historic home in Kismit, PA. One of the homeowners, Chris Merriweather, a Vietnam vet, toymaker, and town Santa, hasn't been himself since a recent trip to Washington, DC, and then is shockingly found murdered on Santa Lane. The weapon: a wooden candy cane stake. As Chris's secrets come to light, and Caprice probes for answers, someone steals her sleigh bells with the threat: "Stop asking questions or your sleigh bells will never ring again."
VERDICT This Christmas cozy with Catholic undertones occasionally becomes more preoccupied with the protagonist's chastity than the mystery, making it an optional read.

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