Christmas Carols and Crime
By Sally Carpenter
In my cozies, I use song titles for the chapter headings. In “The Notorious Noel Caper,” it was a challenge finding Christmas songs that worked with a murder mystery, but here they are.
“Christmas Time in Tinseltown” with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Los Angeles (nearby) is the setting.
“Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas” with Donny Osmond. The body turns up.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Sandy and a good friend discuss the murder.
“Gettin’ in the Mood for Christmas” with the Brian Setzler Orchestra. Sandy starts his investigation.
“I Just Go Nuts at Christmas” with Yogi Yogesson. But the case is not as simple as it seems.
“Deck the Halls with Sugar Plum Fairies” by James Lee Stanley. A beauty pageant with lovely contestants.
“Cool Yule,” written by Steve Allen.
“Here We Come A-Wassailing.” Sandy and friends share dinner and discuss his investigation. “Wassailing” is going from house to house singing carols, and also enjoying a feast.
“Angels We Have Heard on High.” The pageant contestants again.
“It Was a Night Like This” by Tox Paxton. A night when Sandy and his girlfriend discuss their feelings for each other.
“Christmas is My Time of Year” with The Monkees. Sandy is thrilled that he’s on a private press tour of a new amusement park.
“You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft for the TV special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” A “Mrs. Grinch” tries to seduce Sandy.
“Run, Rudolph, Run” with the Brian Setzler Orchestra again. One of the cars on the Rudolph Romp roller coast almost crashes into Sandy and his son.
“(I Wanna Go) Surfin’ with Santa” with The Hollyberries. Sandy’s at a surfing event with surfers who dressed as Santa.
“Mr. Heatmiser” from the Rankin and Bass animated special, “The Year Without Santa Claus.” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy also covered it. Sandy interrogates a guy who has the steam heat turned up in his office.
“Unwrap You for Christmas” with The Monkees again. The villain wraps Sandy in a shroud of wrapping paper and places him atop fireworks set to go off.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” with The Captain and Tennille. Sandy’s the emcee of the beauty pageant, live on TV.
“Christmas at Ground Zero” by Weird Al Yankovic. Sandy’s attempt to expose the killer falls apart.
“Blue Christmas” with Elvis. Sandy’s a basket case.
“Christmas Dragnet” by Stan Freberg and Daws Butler. But Sandy does some nifty sleuthing and reveals the murderer.
“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon. All the loose ends are tied up.
“Love’s What You’re Getting’ for Christmas” with Bobby Sherman again. A touching scene with Sandy and his girlfriend.
As my holiday present to readers, I’m giving away a free story. Go to sandyfairfaxauthor.com and scroll down to the “Get My Story” button.
Sandy Fairfax is an aging ex teen idol. He shot to fame as the title character in a teen sleuth tv show and cemented his stardom with a pop music career. These glories are decades behind him as he is now a recovering alcoholic, sadly estranged from most of his family, trying to bolster his career with small time roles and guest spots. One such opportunity, Emcee of The Miss North Pole Pagent lands him smack dab into another murder investigation.
The Santa’s Magic Theme park is doing a soft opening before it swings it’s gates wide for the public just in time for the Holiday Season. The week of events includes a bowling tournament, Surfing Santas and a beauty pageant. all of the events are swirling with celebrities and tv cameras, and then dead bodies start showing up. Sandy is asked to investigate discreetly by an old friend based on his previous successes. The problem is that Hollywood is a breeding ground for nail biting, backstabbing, scandals which offer Sandy more suspects for every question he asks.
This is book five in the series, but is the first for me. I loved that today’s guest post was about the music because I adored the chapter titles. This book is filled with a full cast of robust characters. The Hollywood people are so stereotypically shallow I have to wonder how Sandy survived working there for as long as he has. His one-sided rivalry with the star of the Santa’s Magic franchise left me giggling at times and frustrated for him at others. As for Sandy’s family, I adored his sister, his brother not so much. Sandy’s introspection regarding his family made both me sad and hopeful for his future interactions with them.
The mystery is well written and well-paced with more than its share of dead ends and red herrings, but it ended satisfactorily despite the fact that I really hoped the big bad would have been someone else. This definitely wet my whistle enough to think about checking out the rest of the series, all of which are currently available on KU.
I received an advance review copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily
It’s Christmastime in Tinsel Town, and there’s plenty of ho-ho-homicide at the soon-to-open Santa’s Magic theme park, where bodies are dropping like snowflakes. Former pop star Sandy Fairfax has a killer job—he’s the emcee for the televised Miss North Pole beauty contest–er, scholarship pageant. But will the beautiful contestants make his girlfriend jealous? Or will she join him in his sleuthing? The deadly Christmas season begins at a celebrity bowling tournament when a pinsetter plops down a body instead of the pins. Throw in surfing Santas, a seductive executive’s wife, a sleazy tabloid editor, an egotistical movie rival and a gift-wrapped death trap, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Purchase Link – Amazon
Sally Carpenter is a native Hoosier living in Southern California.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school, her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award. “Star Collector” was produced in New York City and served as the inspiration for her Sandy Fairfax series.
Sally also has a Master of Divinity and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures.
Her first book, The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper, was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel. She has published five books in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series and two books the Psychedelic Spy series, Flower Power Fatality and Hippie Haven Homicide.
She penned chapter three of the group mystery Chasing the Codex.
She has short stories in three anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in Last Exit to Murder; and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in Plan B: Omnibus as well as a Sandy Fairfax adventure, “The Puzzling Puppet Show Caper,” in Cozy Cat Shorts.
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