Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings by Liz Ireland

It's the first Christmas in Santaland for April Claus--but it may also be her last unless she can uncover a villain with a killer Christmas wish. . .

Love is full of surprises--though few compare to realizing that you're marrying the real-life Santa. April Claus dearly loves her new husband, Nick, but adjusting to life in the North Pole is not all sugarplums and candy canes. Especially when a cantankerous elf named Giblet Hollyberry is killed--felled by a black widow spider in his stocking--shortly after publicly arguing with Nick.

Christmastown is hardly a hotbed of crime, aside from mishaps caused by too much eggnog, but April disagrees with Constable Crinkle's verdict of accidental death. As April sets out to find the culprit, it'll mean putting the future of Christmas on the line--and hoping her own name isn't on a lethal naughty list . . .

I requested this book from Netgalley because the plot sounded interesting, but also because I saw a lot of cozy mystery lovers say how excited they were to check it out.

To be honest, I was more than a little unsure when I started reading. I wasn't sure how I felt about murders occurring at the North Pole. It seems like such a lovely and innocent place. To taint it with murder just seemed wrong!

But, I was wrong. This book completely entranced me.

First of all, the world building is really cool. I enjoyed how April's new in laws (The Claus family) all live together in a giant castle. I never really thought about Santa having a Mom or siblings or extended family before. Santaland is an entire town with neighborhoods and factories and elf communities. I also enjoyed reading about all of the different activities that April got to take charge of as Mrs. Claus.

I've never really seen that kind of development in a Christmas story before and I really enjoyed it.

And the mystery? It definitely kept me guessing. My thoughts and opinions of the different characters changed very quickly throughout the story. Just as I thought one person was the murderer, new evidence was uncovered and my thoughts completely changed.

My only criticisms are that I don't like talking animals. I just don't. I don't even like Narnia! So it kind of irked me that the reindeer talked and were like, real people.  Same with snowmen. I was able to get past it but it made me feel kind of weird.

Also, there are a LOT of characters in this story and some of the elves have funny names, so I wish I had kept notes of the different characters as I read. You feel silly when you confuse Jingles the steward with Juniper the elf. Haha.

If you like cozy mysteries as well as Christmastime, I definitely recommend this book. It's fun and as I mentioned before, I was a big fan of the Santaland atmosphere that Liz Ireland created. I read this book near the end of November and it kept me entertained while also getting me in the Christmas spirit.