cover image Murder on Mistletoe Lane: A Stella Kendrick Mystery

Murder on Mistletoe Lane: A Stella Kendrick Mystery

Clara McKenna. Kensington, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3820-2

McKenna’s charming fifth historical cozy featuring Stella Kendrick (after 2022’s Murder at the Majestic Hotel) picks up just after the Kentucky-born heiress has married British aristocrat Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst and moved with him to the lavish Morrington Hall in Hampshire, England. It’s late December 1905, and the young newlyweds are preparing for their first Christmas together. Their chambermaids have decorated Morrington with freshly cut boughs of pine and holly to prepare for the arrival of the imperious Lady Isabella Kentfield and her family, who will be staying with the Lyndhursts for the holidays. When an important member of the household staff is found dead near the estate before the Kentfields arrive, Stella and Lyndy set out to investigate. Another death soon follows, and Stella begins to connect the body count to strange goings-on at Morrington: items vanishing from her bedroom, anonymous love letters appearing out of nowhere, suspicious behavior by the staff. Friction in the servants’ quarters and some icy sniping between Stella and Isabella provides an entertaining backdrop. This easygoing Christmas mystery hits the spot. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune. (Nov.)