cover image A Catered Christmas

A Catered Christmas

Tim Hemlin. Fawcett Books, $5.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-345-42001-5

Poet and chef Neil Marshall, depressed following the recent deaths of his father and two friends, is not in a festive mood and is certainly not prepared for uninvited visitors during the holidays. Neil finds himself in the soup when his 6' 7"" Santa look-alike grandfather shows up in Houston with something heavy on his mind. Things get worse when they find Neil's landlord's house trashed, his Doberman knifed and an outline of Santa's head ""skewered by the lustrous blade."" When the wife of Grandpa's mining partner turns up dead in Colorado, the police are anxious to grill Grandpa, so Neil hides him. Hemlin (If Wishes Were Horses...) turns up the heat as the Christmas holidays draw nearer. This time out, however, the thrill of the mystery takes a backseat to Hemlin's descriptions of Grandpa and Marshall, and to the holiday festivities he serves up throughout. (Dec.)