3 of 5 stars for Carolyn L. Dean‘s Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder, the third novella in her “Ravenwood Cove” cozy mystery series. I downloaded this book on Kindle a few weeks ago when it was on-sale, as I had enjoyed the previous two novellas and wanted to continue reading the series. While it was a fun story and introduced a few good new characters, it wasn’t as good as the first two.
Amanda Graham continues to remodel the inn she inherited from her uncle, opening up to lots of new guests as the town prepares for the Christmas holiday festivals. As she’s driving to meet her contractor in a nearby town, a huge mudslide occurs and envelopes the car in front of her on the road. When she runs out to save the victim, she realizes it’s James’ brother, Ethan. Just as she saves him from the collapse, and they are running away, she sees another body. But this one has been dead for months, and no one knows who it is! As James, Ravenwood Cove’s detective, matches the body to someone who ran away months prior, Amanda learns the victim was shot and had been hiding a necklace. Using her usual sleuth-like skills, she finds the necklace and helps the police solve the case. But this time, she’s just a little too late and ends up cornered by the culprit and almost killed herself.
While the mystery had some fun aspects to it, there were very few red herrings and hardly any real suspects. We learned little about the victim and weren’t sure who he was connected to. I stuck with the story and enjoyed the ending, but it was very rushed. Overall, it had good parts, but I felt like it was missing something.
Amanda’s friendships in the town are growing, and she’s becoming more of a solid root with a few core characters. She has a ways to go, but I feel like it will happen. I look forward to books 4 and 5 to see if they take an upward turn.