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Book Review: The Mystery of Ruby’s Mistletoe – Delightful Historical Cozy Mystery

The Mystery of Ruby’s Mistletoe

By Rose Donovan

Spending the holidays with the aunt that disowned her after her father’s death was definitely not on Fina’s list of things to do. But when the constable showed up at Oxford looking for her best friend Ruby, the girls need to get away from the college before one or both of them spend the holidays in jail even though neither of them has committed a crime.

Fina used to love her Aunt Millicent, known to most as Lady Shillington. But after Fina’s brother was wrongfully hanged for the murder of Fina’s father. Lady Shillington cut all ties with Fina and her mum after the trial, so it came as a surprise that she would invite Fina for the holidays.

Because Fina knows her brother was innocent, she and Ruby decide to find the real killer when visiting the village for the holiday. Unbeknownst to them, Lady Shillington has invited all of the people involved with the untimely deaths to celebrate the holidays at her home.

Fina, Ruby and their friend Pixley are locked in a snowbound mansion with the person or persons that are undoubtedly the murderer or murderers. Will someone else die before Christmas dinner is served? Fina and her friends must find the killer but who can they trust to help trap the guilty person or persons?

This historical cozy mystery set in the 1930s it is full of red herrings, twists and turns. Like all cozies, the murder is not graphic and the gumshoes are college students not police inspectors. But do not discount the detailed hunt for the killer using the only tools available to solve crime in the early 1900s, which pretty much amounts to good old brain power.

Reading Ms. Donovan’s book is reminiscent to one of my favorite authors, Dame Agatha Christie. Setting up the suspects in a snowbound house, asking them to meet in the drawing room and the cleverly satisfying conclusion was extremely satisfying. I can picture Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot nodding at Ms. Donovan saying “Well done!”

This is the sixth book in the Ruby Dove Mystery Series. It is the first one I have read. It works fine as a standalone novel, but there were some references to previous cases that escaped me. That is okay, because the reader in me will seek out the five previous books so that I can be privy to the inside jokes between Ruby and Fina as well as learn about their previous cases that were referenced in The Mystery of Ruby’s Mistletoe.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received an Advanced Review Copy (or ARC) on Reedsy Discovery in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Home Farm Wensleydales – Customer Service Extraordinaire!

I ordered some yarn last week after reading about the farm in a blog post for Woolvember.  The pictures of the countryside and sheep made me want to hop on a plane and visit Cotswolds, England to see it for myself. Per the card I received with my order, the Home Farm has been in existence for over 500 years and is now fully operational spanning 150 acres of “ancient ridge and furrow. I am aching to see it!

Isn’t possible, I decided to order some of their wool. The sheep are Wenselydale and Bluefaced Leicesters, and the pictures on their website are adorable in a sheepy way.  Check it out: http://www.homefarmwensleydales.com/

I purchased two different kinds of yarn. Even though the pure Winsleydale isn’t soft, and recommended for felting or “lacework or aran type coarse jumpers” I felt I wanted to work with some of the pure yarn that was the natural color of the sheep. I absolutely love the color and can picture the sheep that were walking around the countryside wearing this before they were shorn.

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It is not soft, but I love it anyway. I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, but whatever it is, I won’t decide until after the holidays.

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I also purchased a blend of Wensledale and Bluefaced Leicester that has been spun and dyed a beautiful spring green color. I am picturing a spring shawl. It is very soft and feels absolutely lovely. I haven’t decided what I’m actually making, but it will be fun to search for the perfect pattern.

Other than being extremely satisfied with the wool I received, the purchase was easy and delivery was fast. As a matter of fact, it only took 8 days to receive this order. It took over  a month to get an order from a warehouse less than 25 miles from home and this came all the way from England! I cannot explain it.

When I opened the package, the two types of yarn were carefully wrapped in separate tissue paper packages. There was a post card with information on the farm and the sheep, and a delightful, handwritten card thanking me for my purchase and telling me about the yarn. Now THAT is customer service and why I love purchasing yarn and other goods from the farms and people who are tending the sheep or growing the food whenever possible. If possible, I hope you do too.

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