Lily is spending Christmas with her in-laws which is how she ends up at a Christmas ball with the Alders, the Hartleys, and Matthew Spencer who she’s started a romance with. However, it’s not all holiday cheer as there is dangerous gossip swirling around Jack’s younger sister, Amelia. When the guests of the ball are inexpertly snowed in and the body of the young man who the rumors have connected to Amelia is murdered, Lily only has until the weather clears up to figure out who really murdered the man and save her friend’s sister from trouble.
This one was a lot of fun in many ways. It was neat to see how Lily interacts with her in-laws, especially since we’ve been told throughout the series that they’ve been very supportive of her, but as the reader we haven’t got to meet them until now. Lily’s brother-in-law is the magistrate, so the investigation fall under his perview, and she quickly gets him to agree to let her help, in part because he’s out of his depth with a murder investigation. It’s also clear that word of Lily’s exploits has begun to spread as the party’s host lets Lily see the body initially because she’s heard that Lily has a knack of these things.
No Ofelia this time around, but Amelia makes a great addition to the crew. While it takes her a little while to share what she knows with Jack and Lily, she quickly was all in on the investigation and quite helpful. It was also a delight to see Jack with his family, though especially his sister as it’s clear their close and they definitely act like siblings. I hope we see more of them in future books. Jack is both helpful and unhelpful in this one, but I give him a pass since it’s his family involved and it makes sense that he wouldn’t exactly be at his best. The mystery was good and had quite a few red herrings in it, and I didn’t figure out the murderer until just before the characters did.
There is one other thing that I really appreciated about the book. Minor spoilers ahead: Lily is proposed to by Matthew Spencer and by the end of the book, Lily does turn him down because while she does care for him, she’s not in love with him nor he with her, and that’s not enough for her to give up her independence. I was so glad that’s how things went down. Again, there’s nothing particularly wrong with Mr. Spencer, but there’s nothing special about him either. There’s also the fact that while doesn’t try to stop Lily investigating and does even help at times, he’s not completely comfortable with what she’s doing, and I could see it being a point of contention for the two of them in the future.
Overall, this was a great outing, and I’m really glad that I didn’t give up on the series after the last book was disappointing. Now I just wish there were more in the series. Four out of five stars.
CBR15 Bingo: Guide – A number of people turn to Lily to guide them through the whole situation.