It's Christmas time at country club Pennyfoot. There's a Christmas Eve wedding, caroling in the library, and an annual production put on by owner Cecily's friend. Needless it say it's a busy and slightly chaotic time of year for this hotel! When the body of a guest washes up on shore, Cecily knows this will just add to the craziness. The man was stabbed and the name he checked in under wasn't his real name. The detective is more interested in leaving for holidays than investigating, which leaves Cecily to investigate herself. When a young girl appears on her grounds with no memory of who she is, Cecily puts her to work and wonders if there's any connection to the other crime.
Getting more history from this hotel, we learn that its past could be part of its present predicament. There are tunnels and illicit card rooms that have since been bricked up and boarded off. Could the criminals be using these tunnels to move goods or hide?
I don't usually read cozy mysteries because I like the gritty part of mysteries. I want detectives and blood, the rough streets and sketchy characters. There's none of that here. Everything moves a bit slower and everyone is a bit more careful. The detective only shows up for a few pages and the regular folks are left on their own to figure out whodunnit. Even though this isn't my usual fare, it was still fairly enjoyable right up until close to the end, where the description of the crime and criminal were packed in the end as a character recounted it rather than it actually happening. I felt a bit cheated by that.
First Line: "'Really, Frederick!'"