Joyce and Jim Lavene
Berkley Prime Crime, Sep 4 2012, $7.99
On furlough from the University of South Carolina and expecting her position to be cut due to budget shortcomings, associate professor Jessie Morton worries that she can no longer afford her current residence as her apartment has been converted into a condo and prays her car held together by aging bubble gum works.
The Renaissance Faire Village in Myrtle Beach hosts a fantastic Christmas frolic that the proprietors hope bring in many new customers. Jesse has worked summers there and is currently doing the six-week gig as an apprentice elf to toymaker Father Chris Christmas over the holidays. Her lover, the Village bailiff Chase Manhattan is ecstatic Jesse is working the holidays at the Renaissance Faire. However, someone shoots Chris and hits Jesse on the head. The police arrest the victim’s wife Christine while Chase and Jesse watch over her eight children until she makes bail. Jesse believes Christine is innocent so she starts investigating which almost deadly.
The latest Renaissance Faire Mystery (see Harrowing Hats, Deadly Daggers and Ghastly Glass) is an engaging whodunit made fresh by changing the season as the heroine provides a tour of the Renaissance Faire Village during Christmas (instead of the summer). This exciting amateur sleuth (with Jesse’s success rate on solving homicides while risking her life on cases the cops fumble; she should turn pro to pay her bills) is filled with quirky characters as team Lavene provide another engaging murder investigation.