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Christmas is just around the corner, and the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are thrilled when Sheila wins the first place prize in a scrapbooking design contest: a ten-day scrapbook-themed cruise in the Caribbean. Vera and Paige decide to tag along, which should pose the perfect opportunity to learn some new techniques, mingle with fellow croppers, and get in some rest and relaxation before the chaos of Christmas. But when Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, and investigators determine she was poisoned, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster as Sheila becomes the number one suspect – or was she really the intended victim? Just as the croppers begin un-wrapping the truth, a storm strands them at sea, and they’ll find it’s harder than ever to survive the holidays with a killer on deck…
A Crafty Christmas by Mollie Cox Bryan is A Cumberland Creek Mystery book, though it is the first I’ve read in this series. After just a couple of pages, my first thought was “How have I not read this series?!” Seriously, it is awesome! I love holiday themed books. As a scrabooker and card maker, this book really appealed to me and I loved reading and experiencing scrapbooking fun with the characters. The setting of the cruise ship was wonderful. It was the perfect place for a murder to occur and have everyone on edge since they are all stuck on a boat with the dead body and a murderer. A Crafty Christmas by Mollie Cox Bryan is a thoroughly enjoying holiday scrapbooking cozy mystery that I highly recommend. I will absolutely be reading the other books in this fun series.
Five Reasons CRAFTY CHRISTMAS is my Favorite of all My Books
By Mollie Cox Bryan
You know how it is. One shouldn’t really play favorites—or at least admit that you have them. But I confess. A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS is my favorite book in the Cumberland Creek series. So far. Okay, so I’ve probably said that about each one of the books at one time or another. Admittedly. But I can honestly say at this time, in this moment, this book is my favorite.
Here’s my top five reasons:
1. Sheila’s story. In my first three books, the point of view shifts between Vera, Annie, and Beatrice. In this book, it goes between Beatrice, Annie, and Sheila. Never fear—Vera is still a prominent player in the story, but we don’t get her point of view. Sheila is a woman in her 40s. She’s always put her family first—ahead of her own dreams. In this story, Sheila comes into her own.
2. Randy, Paige’s long-lost son, joins them on the cruise and we get to know him better. He was a joy to write—as was the relationship between Paige and Randy.
3. The fantasy element. I’ve never been on a cruise. So, I researched a great deal, of course, and much is grounded in hardcore realities of cruising. But I allowed my imagination to run wild in some of the cruise scrapbook cropping scenes. It was so much fun to fantasize. If I were having a Christmas crop and budget was not a concern, just what would I do? What would I serve? What kinds of giveaways would there be? (Hint: there’s a lot of chocolate, sparklies, and servers dressed in elf suits.)
4. The holiday theme. This kind of relates back to Sheila’s story, but we get a glimpse into an important shifting perspective with some of the Cumberland Creek characters as they gather to celebrate.
5. My surprise ending. This has nothing to do with the murder mystery. But if you’re a fan of the series, you will delight in the epilogue. And that is all I’m saying. Grin.
I really love these characters, whether they are scrapbooking, cruising, or eating a slice of pie from Pamela’s Pie Palace. If you’ve not met them yet, I hope you do—and I hope you like them as much as I do.
About the Author
Mollie Cox Bryan writes the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, published by Kensington. The first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012; the next one Scrapped, was published in January 2013. Death of an Irish Diva is the third in the series. Plans for the series include two more novels and two novellas—the first one Scrappy Summer will be available in summer 2014. She writes, gardens, runs, and scrapbooks in Waynesboro, Va. with her husband and two daughters.
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