Nantucket Red Tickets: A Henry Kennis Christmas Mystery

Steven Axelrod. Poisoned Pen, $26.95 (334p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0715-0

Scrooge lives in Axelrod’s enjoyable fourth mystery featuring Nantucket police chief Henry Kennis (after 2016’s Nantucket Grand). In 1997, Jackson Blum, an ambitious Nantucket entrepreneur, gun in hand, is about to bury his dead business partner, Ted Coddington. But did Blum kill him? Twenty years later, as Christmas approaches, Henry is staring down at a just-unearthed skeleton as forensics pursues its secrets. But Henry has other things to worry about, including the apparent rigging of the upcoming Red Tickets holiday raffle, growing opioid dealing, his son’s being accused of cheating on a poetry exam, and his daughter’s popularity crisis. Blum is now a mean, heartless fellow, cruel to struggling employees and family, and a classic Christmas bah-humbugger. The truth behind Coddington’s death, when it emerges, leads to a wildly sentimental finale. Nantucket’s many charms fill the pages, though readers who’ve never visited the island might lament the lack of descriptions of the lovely streets and beaches and historic buildings that Axelrod names. (Nov.)