I’m so happy to welcome back our friend from across the pond Louise Innes. We met when I got to read an advanced copy of the first book in her Daisy Thorne mystery series Death at a Country Manor. She’s back today to talk about the third book, Death at Holly Lodge, which released on September 29th! Be sure not to miss the multi-book and author giveaway at the end of the post!
A Cozy Christmas By Louise Innes
Hello, and thanks for having me on your wonderful blog. For those who don’t know me, I’m an English cozy mystery author. My mysteries are set in a quaint English village in Surrey called Edgemead. It doesn’t really exist, but the village I live in is very similar and its where I got my inspiration from. Here are a few images to get a feel for the setting in the book.
My fact-finding sleuth, Daisy, owns the village hair salon, Ooh La La. She’s smart, intuitive, and chatty, and is the driving force behind finding out whodunnit. At her side is the gruff but handsome Detective McGuinness. He’s not altogether happy about her involvement, but since Daisy completed her criminal profiling course, he’s running out of excuses not to have her around.
Death at Holly Lodge is the third book in the series, but each book has a self-contained mystery and can be read as a standalone. This book begins with Daisy visiting a friend at an old hunting lodge that is under renovation. To their surprise, the builders find a body stuffed up the chimney wearing a Santa suit.
Who killed Santa?
The police are called and the body is taken away. The lodge is sealed off, and so the hunt begins to find out who the man in the Santa costume was, and most importantly, who murdered him.
Daisy puts her profiling course to good use and comes up with a potential description of the killer. McGuinness is sceptical, but Daisy sets out to prove him wrong. What follows is a gripping process of elimination as Daisy and her gang untangle the clues and sift through suspects until they find the real murderer. Of course, it’s not who you expect!
A Very English Christmas
Christmas in England is filled with quaint traditions. I’m sure many are familiar, but others might seem a little odd. We don’t have Thanksgiving in this country, so Christmas is the first time we’re sitting down to a turkey dinner in a year! That’s a long time.
But it all starts the night before, on Christmas eve…The stockings go up, the Christmas lights twinkle on the tree, it’s cold outside and if we’re lucky we get a smattering of snow. Here in Surrey, it doesn’t snow that much, so we wait with bated breath to see if we’re going to wake up to a white Christmas.
Christmas morning wouldn’t be the same without mince pies. This is a big English tradition and if family members arrive and there are not enough mince pies to go around, it can be chaos. To be enjoyed with a cup of tea, of course.
Gifts are handed out, and this is my best part. The smiles, the love, the gratitude – it makes it all worthwhile. Spending time with loved ones is the best tradition of all.
Christmas lunch is a feast, and the rest of the day is spent digesting, along with chatting to relatives and perhaps, if we have the energy, going for a walk to help the turkey go down. That evening, the Queen says her Christmas speech. Most families tune in to this. More often than not, we fall asleep in front of the television, replete after a wonderful day of celebrations.
Then on Boxing Day, we do it all again. Well, most of it. Leftovers are eaten, more family members come over, or we go a visiting, more mince pies are consumed with countless cups of tea and perhaps a glass or two of sherry.
Curl up with a Christmas Cozy
Boxing Day is my favourite time to curl up on the sofa with a Christmas cozy. I have several wonderful ones stored on my Kindle for this year. If you’re looking for something Christmassy to read, why not enter our Twelve Days of Christmas Cozies competition?
The grand prize is a paperback book bundle of 12 awesome Christmas-themed cozy mysteries by twelve amazing authors. The competition runs from Dec 1 to Dec 12, and you can enter here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3d307ab25/?/
Alternatively, you can follow me on Facebook and I’ll let you know when the entries open. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/cozyauthorlouise.
Readers: What’s unusual about how you celebrate Christmas? Are there any quaint or strange traditions that you celebrate in your family? I’d love to hear them, so feel free to post in the comments below.
Here’s a bit about Death at Holly Lodge:
T’was the weeks before Christmas,
and Daisy nabs a new case,
when a missing man is found
stuffed above a fireplace . . .
Ooh La La hair salon owner Daisy Thorne adores the Christmas cheer in her picturesque hometown of Edgemead, England. Excitement is extra high this year, as international pop star, Mimi Levanté , the village’s newest resident, begins renovating historic Holly Lodge. But the charming country home’s makeover is cut short by a shocking discovery—the body of a man, dressed as Santa Claus, jammed inside the house’s chimney!
The secreted Santa is identified as Thom Pierce, a local father who vanished on Christmas Eve two years ago. As the case moves from missing to murder, Daisy and dashing DCI Paul McGuinness begin combing through the clues of Christmases past. But the killer will go to great lengths to keep old crimes under wraps. Now, DCI McGuinness must protect Daisy as she tries to untangle the mystery before a merry murderer embarks on another slay ride.