Rudie’s Collection Book 3
Can Rudie’s graveyard wedding go off without a hitch while there’s a Christmas thief on the loose in Holiday Haven?
Hard-working witch, Rudie Hollybrook, is facing a snowstorm of duties, from planning her cemetery wedding and directing the family funeral home, to chairing the local volunteer group.
All while the mysterious Christmas Thief is burglarizing local businesses.
So the last thing she needs, is to stumble upon a dead body, days before her Yuletide wedding to the love of her life. And when the murdered man’s ghost charges her with a last message for his wife, Rudie adds another task to her never-ending to-do list: catch the murderous thief before they ruin Christmas for the whole town.
But the pressures mount with wedding demands from cranky distant relatives, a last-minute funeral to plan, and an increasingly bold thief, who’s now targeting a run-down orphanage.
Can Rudie pull off the wedding of her dreams and save Christmas for quaint Holiday Haven? Or will the thief steal not only the holiday joy, but also another life?
Someone’s stealing from all the businesses in Holiday Haven. Then the night of the Santa’s Little Helper’s Christmas party that things change. First Hayley’s home is burglarized, and then the strange request for the charity’s donation check be delivered after the event, regardless of the time. It’s when Rudie’s delivering that check to the orphanage, that things go up a notch. Now there’s the mystery of the stolen items and a murder to solve. On top of that Rudie’s wedding to Asher is just a few days away.
This is one of my favorite scenes.
As several uniformed officers crouched around the body and collected evidence, the rest of us turned our eyes to Headmaster Tannon and the orphanage’s cook, who’d been introduced as Martha Mince. She had yet to speak.
The headmaster looked to be in his seventies and was giving me major Scrooge vibes in his striped nightshirt and long sleeping cap with a tassel at the end.
He scowled at me. “No doubt Ms. Blitzen would’ve been quieter than this gaggle.”
“What did you say?” Great-aunt Vivian shouted from behind us, as if on cue.
She sat beside Donna and Heather on one of the long benches that lined the twin dining tables.
Sheriff Buzz cleared his throat, ignoring her. “So you entered the orphanage and…?”
“And it was dark, except for the lights of the Christmas tree, so it was difficult to see at first, but—” Len’s throat bobbed, and Vix rubbed his arm. “—we discovered that man’s body.”
A fire now crackled in the fireplace, lending the drafty space a little warmth, and all the lamps had been turned on, but the place wasn’t much more welcoming in the light.
Vix gave a wan grin. “And then I screamed my head off.”
The headmaster shot daggers at her. “Which woke up the entire orphanage.”
Vix shifted her weight. “Sorry. I may deal with cadavers on the daily, but that’s when I’m expecting it.” She shuddered. “It’s not often I stumble upon murder victims.”
Buzz flashed his eyes and nodded, as if to say he could relate.
The cook scowled at Vix. “Thank Santa we scooted the children back to their beds before they were traumatized for life!”
Vix leaned close and muttered, “She does speak.”
Tannon and Mince shot us looks that took me right back to getting caught whispering in school. Vix and I both muttered, “Sorry.”
The sheriff thankfully turned his attention from us to Headmaster Tannon. “Was anything stolen?”
Tannon nodded, the little tassel at the end of his nightcap jingling. “Yes! Why, there were piles of presents around the tree. Look at it now. Bare!” He shook his head and dropped his gaze to his slippers and the scratched wood floor below them. “Who would do such a deplorable thing? Stealing from orphans?” He tsked. “That terrible Christmas Thief has sunk to new lows.”
My fiancé lifted a finger. “Buzz, do you think this is the work of the Christmas Thief?”
The sheriff shrugged his stooped shoulders. Bags hung under the older man’s eyes, and he looked as exhausted and wrung out as I felt. He must’ve been pulling extra shifts with this rash of thefts. “Hard to say. Murder certainly doesn’t fit the thief’s MO.”
Johnson, Erin. Winter Witches of Holiday Haven Boxset Books 1-3: Rudie’s Collection (Winter Witches of Holiday Haven: Rudie’s Collection) Kindle Locations (3928-3946). Kindle Edition.
As the clues to this mystery unfold, we get to see more kindness from Hayley, the chaos before a wedding, and plenty of surprises. This is the perfect end yet beginning for Rudie and Asher.
5 Contented Purrs for Erin!
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A native of Arizona, Erin loves her new home in the Pacific Northwest! She writes paranormal cozy novels– stories that are mysterious, magical, and will hopefully make you laugh.
When not writing, she’s hiking, napping with her dogs, and losing at trivia night.
Erin’s had a ton of different jobs, from blackjack dealer to PA on a horror movie to Pilates instructor but has finally embraced her true calling as a writer. Thanks so much for your interest and for supporting her!