Mrs. Claus and the Evil Elves

Park Row: Harlequin. (Mrs. Claus Mystery, Bk. 3). Sept. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781496737816. pap. $16.95. M
It’s almost too much for Mrs. April Claus to handle. It’s the week before Christmas. The reindeer are on strike because they fear drones will take away their jobs of delivering packages. Mrs. Claus’s best friend Claire is visiting, and April had hoped to entertain her with reindeer games, concerts, and all the delicious desserts and food in Santaland. Instead, she’s dealing with a librarian elf who is frantic because an inventor is missing, and malfunctioning robots seem to be all over town, attacking ice sculptures, killing snowmen, and even acting as servants at the Claus castle. When another elf is killed and the librarian is arrested, April tries to juggle Christmas-week activities with a criminal investigation. It’s only going to lead to more trouble, including a drone that destroys a tea party and a food fight between proper town matrons. Someone seems to have plans to take all the jobs in Santaland and turn them over to robots, and April might just die trying to uncover the truth.
VERDICT Ireland’s third “Mrs. Claus” title (after Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide) is a fresh take on a Christmas cozy. It’s a delightful mix of humor, technology, and murder in an unconventional mystery.
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