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by Lori Avocato et al
Avon, October 2006
336 pages
ISBN: 0061136956

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Looking for the perfect book for the holiday season? Then SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL might just do the trick. It's a collection of six stories with romance and crime at its heart.

Lori Avocato starts the ball rolling with her story All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth. An insurance investigator is persuaded to look into a case of a possible medical insurance fraud involving a dentist but she soon finds herself distracted a lot more by her delectable investigative assistant Jagger.

In The Lords Of Misrule by Dana Cameron, we are entertained by a story set in the 1700s. This atmospheric tale features an intelligent young woman who must hide her enjoyment of reading from her family as she investigates the disappearance of some gems stolen from her father and falls in love at the same time.

The third story from this selection is by Mary Daheim and is entitled The Ghost Of Christmas Passed. This story will most certainly appeal to the fans of her bed-and-breakfast series. When Judith Flynn and her mother are joined by the rest of the family at the Hillside Manor for the Christmas festivities, they find themselves dealing with an age-old family secret concerning her missing Uncle Bart.

Someone must certainly have it in for professional organiser Cecilia Lattimer. In Cait London’s Partners In Crime, Cecilia finds that her life is a mess. She has a car that will not start, a house that has been burgled and three men involved in her life for their own reasons. But who is the charming stranger that saves her from a fate worse than death in an alleyway and then will not let her out of his sight?

The last two stories in the collection are Holly Go Lightly by Suzanne Macpherson and A Very Vampy Christmas by Kerrelyn Sparks. Macpherson’s story is that of a spirit who is trying to right a wrong and persuade her fiancée that she has a surprise in store for him as long as she can convince him to go and see her best friend.

Kerrelyn Sparks’s story is the only one to involve the otherworld. Vampires like humans have their own television network and in this case, it is called the Digital Vampire Network. As A Vampire Turns is one of the shows that is produced by the network and when vampire actress Maggie O’Brien realises that the leading man is suffering from loss of memory she is determined to find out who he was before he was 'turned'.

There is nothing spectacular about this collection. These are amusing stories that get right to the heart of the Christmas season and cover the gamut of historical romance, mystery, suspense, ghostly spirits, as well as vampires. They're fun short stories that are easy to read and will delight anyone looking for stories that cover the festive period.

Reviewed by Ayo Onatade, November 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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