Homicide for the Holidays

Written by Cheryl Honigford
Review by Cindy Vallar

Near Christmas 1938, Vivian Witchell discovers a long-missing key to her deceased father’s desk. She finds money and a seven-year-old warning—not to talk—inside the locked drawer. Who threatened her father and why? The questions stir her curiosity, but the threat brings back memories of the murder she helped solve two months earlier at the Chicago radio station where she works. When the money vanishes, she knows someone else knows what she’s found. Then she uncovers a second key, but to what? Private detective Charlie Haverman could help, but she hasn’t seen him since they solved the other mystery.

Viv longs to renew their acquaintance, but he refuses to play second fiddle to Graham Yarborough, her co-star in The Darkness Knows. She doesn’t love Graham, but the radio station insists that the public think they are an item. Refusal would mean losing her job. Once she tracks down Charlie, he agrees to help her purely as a business proposition. The more they learn, the more she realizes her father wasn’t the man she thought he was. The closer she comes to the truth, the more determined someone else is to keep her in the dark.

Suspects abound in this second Viv and Charlie Mystery: a partner who drinks too much, a secretary with a green thumb, an assistant state’s attorney, a secretive German companion, and a loyal housekeeper. The red herrings and diverse subplots will keep readers guessing, but the historical tie-in to her father’s death is tenuous. The romance is less satisfying and the repartee between Viv and Charlie is disappointingly absent in this sequel to The Darkness Knows; in fact, Charlie doesn’t show up until chapter ten, and he’s more of a supporting character than one might expect. Still, fans of Viv and Charlie will welcome their return.