The Twelve Books of Christmas by Kate Carlisle

3 stars because there are cats.  This was a fairly good cozy mystery.  Brooklyn and Derek (book restorer and security expert) take off for Scotland to attend the whirlwind marriage of their friends.  The subplot is twelve missing books from the castle library; all with a Christmas connection.  Once everyone is at the castle, murder rears its head.  Brooklyn investigates because in an earlier book she solved some other murder in this castle, or something.  To be honest, it was all too convoluted and I couldn’t figure out who was who or why people showed up then disappeared and nobody seemed to be on top of all this criminal activity until the very end of the book.

There are tons of characters to keep track of, accents to decipher, and more money & delicious food than readers usually encounter in a cozy.  But, these are uber-rich people and, yes, the rich are different in how they solve a cozy mystery.  They stick their noses in and stumble over bodies just as you would expect but they do it with ‘style’, wearing designer clothes and sipping champagne.  I found Brooklyn annoying and her parents were worse.  

Mom is a witch but the Wiccan kind so no fun ghosts or cool magic; lots of spells were muttered and sage burned so there was that.  Dad is an old hippie who has a super successful winery and grows thousands of acres of grapes, as old hippies usually do!  The Scotland friends are the Laird of the Castle and the beautiful woman/weapons expert that he has fallen madly in love with.  There is a strange subplot involving the townspeople that was the crux of the whole mystery but was poorly plotted and hard to follow.  

The missing books could have been interesting but didn’t really go anywhere and then suddenly wrapped up. I was confused over the way the characters interacted with each other.  There were so many of them I never got enough of a back story to understand why they were all crazy and did stupid things.  I didn’t enjoy this very much and this is the first of the series I have read;  apparently the other 16 volumes are very similar so I probably won’t read any more of them.  I was given a copy and this is my honest opinion-if you are a series fan, you will love it; if you aren’t then skip it. 

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