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Homicide for the Holidays (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

So here is the thing with this book – you have to look beyond the cover and the title. This book looks like a themed cozy mystery. Which it isn’t. This is a historical mystery whith very strong Golden Age leanings. Meaning? There isn’t anything cute about it.

It is Christmastime in Chicago, 1938, and Vivian Witchell is missing her father. Most especially this year – her mother has another man in the house for the holidays. It’s been eight years since her father’s sudden death and while Vivian doesn’t begrudge her mother the companionship, she still misses her dad. In a fit of nostalgia, she slips into his old study (which hasn’t been changed since his death) to grab an ornament Vivian made for him when she was little. When she opens the frame – a small silver key falls out. A key the whole family hunted high and low for after her father’s death – because it’s to the drawer in his desk – a drawer which hasn’t been opened in eight years. And what Vivian finds in that drawer will change everything she thought she knew about her father.

If you are going to write a historical mystery which tangentially includes notorious crime figures, this book is how you should do it. The author never loses sight of the fact that readers are reading the book for the mystery – not a history lesson. Every historical fact used is deftly woven into the plot so it means something to the characters and moves the plot forward; they never stop the forward progress of the plot. The author also does a great job in using the radio plays (as Vivian is an up-and-coming radio star) to help build the atmosphere of the era in the book. Plus setting this book at Christmas helps give a fresh angle to describing Chicago in the winter time – we already know it will feature snow, ice and frigid temperatures. Therefore the author can use different descriptions of the city than what we normally read. And by the way, she never makes the Christmas refrences sappy, sickly sweet or fluffy. It is a good counterpoint to the harsh truths Vivian discovers about who her father was.

Seriously this book is great and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading historical mysteries. Now this is a second book in a series and if you read this installment before the first one, The Darkness Knows, there are spoilers (like they tell you who the killer was). I haven’t read that book, yet, but I cannot imagine that the author didn’t do an amazing job. Still, I would recommend reading this book whether you read the first one or not – it is well worth your time!

— Amber


The second book in the acclaimed Viv and Charlie mystery series, Homicide for the Holidays is a riveting holiday mystery set amidst the glitz of Chicago's radio drama scene and the grime of its taverns and speakeasies.

A hidden key that opens a drawer locked for the past eight years, a mysterious envelope filled with cash, and a threatening note... none of this is what rising radio star Vivian Witchell expects to find in her late father's office. But when Vivian stumbles into trouble, she hardly knows how to steer herself back to safety.

With the handsome and maddeningly practical private detective Charlie Haverman at her side, Vivian spends the holiday season uncovering the details of the last weeks of her father's life, following a sinister trail of clues that leads her directly to one of the most notorious mob bosses of all time, Al Capone.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781492628644
ISBN-10: 1492628646
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: October 10th, 2017
Pages: 432
Language: English
Series: VIV and Charlie Mystery