I’m not usually a fan of murder mystery novels. And I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a book snob. I’m certainly not one. You can find The Carrie Diaries series on my bookshelf right now.
But I like reading fluffy fiction about Carrie Bradshaw for the same reason I enjoy heavy classics like Toni Morison’s The Bluest Eye and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: I am a sucker for well-developed and relatable characters. And these are hard to find in most mystery novels.
Nevertheless, over the Christmas holidays I read Billie Thomas’ Murder on the First Day of Christmas and I’m sure glad I did.
Set in Birmingham, Alabama, the novel follows Chloe Carstairs and her mother Amanda, two decorators who find themselves in the middle of a homicide investigation after two of their clients are killed. Chloe and her mom soon become amateur sleuths determined to crack the case and complete hilarity ensues.
You may remember that I interviewed Thomas in December shortly after the book was made available on Kindle. I’m happy to announce that Murder on the First Day of Christmas is now available in paperback.
Whether you like murder mysteries or not, you should give this novel a try largely because of the charismatic main characters.
You will immediately love Chloe Carstairs because she’ll remind you of your best friend, or yourself, or both. Like many of us, she’s a 30-something gal struggling to navigate her personal and professional lives and having many hilarious and humbling encounters along the way.
But it’s Chloe’s relationship with her mom that really got me hooked. Their mother-daughter banter will have you laughing out loud, while the obvious love they have for each other will have you picking up the phone to call your parents just to say “hi.”
Thomas does a great job of unraveling the mystery as well and soon you will have put on your detective hat too, trying to figure out who done it along with Chloe and Amanda.
Of course, I enjoyed all the references to Birmingham and I hope non-natives will read it and realize there’s more to Birmingham than they once believed.
Overall, I just love how cleverly this story is put together. Even the funny little anecdotes told throughout narrative come to serve a purpose in the end, showing you just how talented Thomas really is.
Cross-posted at the See Jane Write blog.