Welcome Back Louise Innes

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

www.authorlouiseinnes.com

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.

45 Thoughts

  1. Louise, welcome to the Wickeds!

    I have visited Surrey, England a few times since I have good friends who lived there, but it’s been a while.
    You are a new cozy mystery author to me. I like reading mysteries with amateur sleuths. Holly sounds like a fun protagonist that I want to read. And I will have to remember to sign up for the Rafflecopter giveaway in December.

    I live in Canada, and it looks like we have similar Christmas and Boxing Day traditions. Maybe because of the time difference between North America and the UK, we watch the Queen’s message on Christmas morning, not the night before. Our family had a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and all the traditional side dishes and desserts.

    Boxing Day is still a major shopping day for many Canadians. I have lined up before dawn to be able to enter a store at 6 am on December 26 for a great deal e.g. 50% discount to buy a much-needed winter parka, or electronics that I did not get as a Christmas gift. The popularity of America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday in late November has lessened the buying frenzy, and of course, we did not line up Boxing Day 2020 due to COVID lockdowns.

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    1. Thank you, Grace. Oh, wow. So you also watch the Queen’s message. That’s cool. Yes, sign up to our rafflecopter competition and you might win the grand prize!

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    2. Hi Grace. Wow, so you also get the Queens speech, that’s great. Yes, you should enter the rafflecopter. You might win all 12 books!

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  2. Congratulations on the new book Louise!

    Growing up Christmas was of course a big deal in the house. What kid doesn’t look forward to a day of new toys and such?

    Christmas Eve saw our extended family gathering at my grandparents house (then my aunts when it became too much for my grandmother). There’d be the meal and kids running around on a holiday high of sugar and anticipation of opening the gifts that were around the big tree.

    Christmas was a little lower key but we had a visit from a friend of the family to look forward to as kids. She would come over in the afternoon and we’d have another gift to look forward to after all the stuff we’d get from “Santa” in the morning.

    These days, the family gathering doesn’t happen anymore and Christmas really isn’t that big of a deal anymore. Gifts are still exchanged but on a much more limited basis.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jay. Yes, we always celebrate so much more when we’re younger. It’s still my favourite time of year. Take care.

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  3. Louise, congratulations! And thank you for including my (Maddie’s) book in your giveaway. After I was divorced, my sons and I started making sushi on Christmas Eve, which is a bit unusual. But it was festive,and we love cooking together. Neither will be home this year for Christmas, alas, but we’ll still go to our good friends and I’ll still make all the cookie recipes from my mom, who got them from both my grandmothers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Edith, you’re so welcome! Sushi on Christmas eve is a new one, but why not? 🙂 It’s the togetherness that counts. Sorry you’ll be without your boys, but I hope you have a great one anyway. Best wishes x

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  4. (This comment is from Grace Koshida – we had a snafu and hers disappeared!)
    Louise, welcome to the Wickeds!

    I have visited Surrey, England a few times since I have good friends who lived there, but it’s been a while.
    You are a new cozy mystery author to me. I like reading mysteries with amateur sleuths. Holly sounds like a fun protagonist that I want to read. And I will have to remember to sign up for the Rafflecopter giveaway in December.

    I live in Canada, and it looks like we have similar Christmas and Boxing Day traditions. Maybe because of the time difference between North America and the UK, we watch the Queen’s message on Christmas morning, not the night before. Our family had a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and all the traditional side dishes and desserts.

    Boxing Day is still a major shopping day for many Canadians. I have lined up before dawn to be able to enter a store at 6 am on December 26 for a great deal e.g. 50% discount to buy a much-needed winter parka, or electronics that I did not get as a Christmas gift. The popularity of America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday in late November has lessened the buying frenzy, and of course, we did not line up Boxing Day 2020 due to COVID lockdowns.

    Like

  5. I grabbed a copy of Death at a Country Mansion and looking forward to reading Louise’s first book. Congratulations on your newest release! Also, thank you for sharing the inspiration for the setting.

    Weeks after our wedding forty years ago, we celebrated our first Christmas. The turkey was excellent but about the size of a Cornish hen. Opening up the small bird, we had one spoon of dressing between the two of us. Christmas always brings back that fond memory!

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      1. I’m just starting chapter 8, and enjoying how you’ve set up the suspects! Forty years goes fast when you’re having fun!

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  6. Congratulations on your latest release! You are a new author to me, and I will begin by reading your first in this series – it sounds wonderful.
    I’ve always wanted to visit England, the home of my father’s lineage, so immersing myself in a cozy English village setting will be fun for me.
    Our Christmas holidays are the highlight of our yearly celebrations. We host a Christmas Eve family gathering with home cooked family specialties of middle eastern and traditional foods. Our tree is decorated with home made and significant family memorabilia from 50 plus years, including original glass ornaments from my parents, through to paper and beaded crafts by my six grands. My grands open their matching pjs and pose for a family photo shoot. They insist, even as a few are turning the page to their teen years. Our home is filled with family and love. We desperately missed it last year, although we gathered outside in the frigid New England air,are hopeful to resume a closer to normal gathering this year. Merry Christmas to you and yours and thank you for writing your stories. 🎄

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    1. Hi Sharon, thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the series. 🙂
      Homemade decorations are the best, so special. I’m so glad things are returning to normal again. Have a lovey Christmas.

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  7. Congratulations on, not only a new release, on the continuation of a wonderful series!
    I grew up a US Army brat, and Christmas tradition depended on where my dad was stationed. When he was away from family and couldn’t be home, we spent Christmas with my grandparents in Germany. On Christmas eve day the tree was trimmed and then the door to that room was closed. That evening after dinner, we would wait until we heard a ringing bell, then we would run into the room and there would be our Christmas presents! Christmas day was spent visiting aunts and uncles where we would also receive a present in addition to a bag of homemade Christmas cookies.

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  8. I have read all the “Daisy” books and just finished Death at Holly Lodge…great cozy read! Thank you for writing about Daisy and her beauty shop crew and good friends.

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  9. Good morning Louise! I’m always excited to find new to me authors. I’m now following you on Facebook. “Death at a Country Manor” sounds like a wonderful read – as does the whole series. Anxious to get more acquainted with Daisy and Detective McGuinness.

    Not sure if it’s all that unusual, but I often get second looks when I talk about our Christmas Day. Through the years, we had the traditional Christmas feast, relatives and friends stopping by, gift opening and the rest of the “normal” events. However, now it’s just the two of us. At our age, if I find something hubby might enjoy, I want to give it to him then – not hide away for one particular day. Same with food. If craving turkey in July, we have turkey in July instead of thinking we have to wait for a certain day or holiday of the year. That being said, it’s not to say we don’t celebrate the holiday. Although I don’t have the energy or ability to put up the seven plus trees we once did, I still enjoy having our home festive – inside and out. Christmas Day everyone else has matured and families grown to where they have other places to be. So a quiet day is nicely enjoyed with Christmas movies, reading that anticipated book and weather permitting, trying to capture our daily critter visitors with our cameras (something we both love doing). Our Christmas Day dinner can be anything from the normal feast to stacked high cold cut sandwiches. We have had fire-grilled steaks, tacos, chicken and egg noodles and even finger food if the previous few days have been busy and on the run. I must say that dessert is usually lavish and more than one to pick from. Guess that’s something I can’t see us changing. One of our favorite dessert traditions is my Mom’s Three Day Coconut Cake. Yes, you have to make it three days ahead before eating it and yes it’s to die for. 🙂

    To me, any thing you do (whether a tradition carried on for years or one you just start this year), as long as it’s pleasing to you, puts a smile on your face and you share it with a loved one(s), then that’s a perfect Christmas Day!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Hi Kay, thanks for the follow 🙂 Seven trees, good heavens! That does take energy. Your mom’s three day coconut cake sounds amazing! I think I might need that recipe!

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  10. Congratulations, Laura!

    I think it was here where I mentioned my childhood “opening the gifts at midnight” tradition, brought on by a nurse mother who worked 3-11 and an accidental wake-up on my part.

    My husband’s thing on Christmas was “one gift at a time.” The gifts are all piled under the tree and each one is passed out and opened – no pell-mell ripping of paper. That way each person gets to feel special and proper attention is paid.

    While eating cookies, of course. There has to be cookies!

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  11. Christmas Eve, we were allowed to open one gift. The next morning, stockings first, then we opened gifts one at a time. Then outside to play in the snow while mum cooked a huge late lunch. Fun memories!

    I read the description of your book in an English accent lol! Really sounds like a good read!

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  12. Congrats on the new release, Louise! I love your riff on Twas The Night Before Christmas.
    In my family, every Christmas Eve we watch Muppet Christmas Carol. The holiday is simply not complete without it. Cheers!

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    1. Hi J.C. Thanks, but I can’t take the praise for that. It was the blurb elves at my publisher! 🙂 Loved the Muppets.

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  13. Welcome back and congratulations on the new book! Our Christmas Eve consists of having pizza (the tradition started when I was young and a snowstorm trapped us at home), going out to look at Christmas lights, and then watching White Christmas.

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    1. Thanks Sherry, for having me! It’s fascinating how traditions start… and then carry on over the years, being passed down. Merry Christmas!

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  14. Welcome back to the blog, Louise! I just made my mincemeat a couple of weeks ago, from a recipe taught to me by an English neighbor some 45 years ago. Of course, we use it first for a mince pie at Thanksgiving, but there will be mince tartlets for Christmas as well.

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! Ah, mince pies! Yes. Our mince pies are sweet, are yours? They’re more fruity than mincey, if that makes sense.

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  15. Congratulations on your new book—it sounds wonderful! It never feels much like Christmas here in Southern Arizona, because it’s usually sunny and at least 70F. Reading your book sounds like a great way for me to get into the Christmas spirit.

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  16. Congratulations on the new release – just up my street and I feel the siren call of Amazon.

    I’m a polyglot, French, German, Italian, and we managed to honor all traditions when I was a child. The one tradition that stuck through adulthood – exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve.

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    1. Thanks, Kait! Wow, that’s a lot of traditions to honor! So interesting. Yes, that is a very continental tradition, isn’t it.

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  17. Congrats on the new book. It’s great!

    Not sure I can think of any traditions in my family that are too strange. But I enjoyed finding out about the ones in your book.

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  18. Forty-eight years ago, my mother sent our daughter a felt pink pig ornament. She was 3 at the time. She enjoyed hanging the ornament on the tree herself. That continues to this day. However, things change in 48 years. She converted to Judaism some years ago. So now our Jewish daughter hangs a pink pig on a Christmas tree. Tradition!

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  19. Love the book cover so much! I’m enjoying reading cozy Christmas mysterious this year. Growing up, we did pizza and popcorn one year on Christmas Eve for being snowed in. Fun memory!

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  20. My husband’s family is Polish. I cook Kielbasa on Christmas Eve. It was always a tradition in his family. I also read the Christmas Story from Luke 2 out loud. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

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  21. When there was more than just me in my trailer, the Christmas stockings always included at least one canned something, commemorating my first bridal Christmas when the budget was so tight the stockings ONLY had canned goods.

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