Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Very Merry Murder by Mary Angela (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

by Mary Angela


GENRE:   cozy mystery



It’s December in Copper Bluff, and from hillside to hallowed hall, everyone is merry—or will be as soon as semester break arrives. Students are studying, professors are grading, and Emmeline Prather is anticipating the university-sponsored holiday concert. Friend and colleague Lenny Jenkins will be accompanying the visiting quartet, Jazz Underground, and Em can’t think of a better way to kick-start the holiday season. 

But before she can say “Jingle Bell Rock,” trouble arrives at Candlelight Inn, the bed and breakfast where the quartet is staying.  One of the band members dies unexpectedly, and suspicion falls on Em, whose altercation with the man ends with him on the floor. He never recovers, and now she’s worried her reputation might not either.

When Emmeline starts to see parallels between an Agatha Christie novel she’s teaching and the victim, Lenny claims she’s read one too many mysteries. But as the clues unravel, so does the murderer’s patience. Em is close to finding the truth, but will the truth—or the murderer—push her over the edge?  It will take a Christmas miracle to solve this case, but if there’s one thing in surplus this time of year, it’s faith.

Book Three of the Professor Prather Mystery Series



“To be fair,” I said, grabbing a piece of Mrs. Gunderson’s peanut brittle, “the kiss was reciprocal. Pen seemed to be enjoying Miles’s attention quite a bit.” I offered the candy to Lenny and took another piece.

“Did he know her, or was he just that good looking?” He took a bite.

I munched quietly. I wasn’t sure I wanted to answer the question.

“Really?” he said.

“Miles had good looks, a sexy voice, and stage presence.” I shrugged. “I can see why girls flocked to him. But Pen? You’re right. We need to find out if they knew each other, or if that was their first encounter.”

“Oh no,” he said, reaching for another piece of candy. “I didn’t say we needed to find out anything about anyone.”

“Come on, Lenny. You’ve got a reason for going out to the inn. You could say one of your friends left something behind. Something musical.”

He shook his head. “Musicians are pretty maniacal about their stuff. They don’t just leave things behind. Besides, how do you know Pen will be there?”

“I don’t. But Alyssa said they’ve been busy this December with Christmas travelers. Pen is probably working.” I put a K-Cup in my Keurig. “Even if she isn’t, we could still ask Alyssa. She might be able to tell us a little about her.”

Lenny stared into the living room. “I think we have a more immediate problem.”

“What could be more immediate than my impending DNA sample?” I said.

The tree chose that moment to topple over.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. For more information about Mary or the series, go to her website.

Twitter: @maryangelabooks


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here


My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

A Very Merry Murder by Mary Angela is an entertaining cozy mystery that is part of the ‘Professor Prather Mystery’ series. The intrepid English professor, Emmeline Prather, gets more than she bargains for when she tries to support a seasonal concert performed by her friend and colleague Lenny and quartet of musical academics. Despite the festive season, it is not only end-of-term challenges that Em has to overcome when she becomes a key figure in an unexplained death.

I love books that allow me to armchair travel and this story gave me a glimpse of a college town in South Dakota and evoked the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays seen through the prism of academia. I’m afraid I didn’t make much of a connection to the characters, although I love the juxtaposition of the names of Em and her cat Dickinson, and I would like to see Em’s relationship with Lenny flourish. The mystery was entertaining, with several nice red herrings, and I enjoyed the seasonal flavoring (even though I’m not quite ready to face the holiday madness, lol). The story does stand alone but I suspect one would enjoy it better if the first two books in the series are read, so that the main characters have a bit more depth. Those in search of a quick cozy mystery that will engender a desire for tinsel, hot cocoa, or sleigh rides will undoubtedly enjoy the adventures of Professor Prather.

A copy of this title was provided to me for review


  1. Thanks so much for featuring my book on your blog. I appreciate it! Mary Angela

  2. Great excerpt, I'm definitely intrigued!

  3. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

  4. Thanks so much for bringing to our attention another great book out there to read. I appreciate hearing about them since I have so many readers in my family.

  5. I've never read a cozy mystery but I do like mysteries in general.