I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel
Published by Vision Writer Publications on January 1st 1970
Genres: Christian, Clean & Wholesome, Fiction, Historical, Holidays, Mystery
When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.
“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”
Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.
As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin and the company are dragged to perdition.
When this book came up for review with CelebrateLit was really looking forward a cozy Christmas mystery. A little drama with Mr. Rudin’s situation and a lot of suspense with the other mystery happening at the factory. I knew it would be a quick read and light on the depth of detail simply due to the short number of pages to the book. A Cozy Christmas Mystery Novella if you will. I got some of that but if I am going to be honest, I didn’t get near what I wanted or expected. I left the book feeling disappointed. Not because I knew ‘whodunit’ so early on, I can’t begin to hold that against books. You’d have to be a notable master of suspense to keep me guessing to the end. It does happen but it’s so rare that well… Yeah.
The book had a feel as though Clue met up with Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys. They usually kept me dragging along for a minute but I cut my teeth for mystery with them and Sweet Valley Twins. I got that vibe with a mix of Doyle’s wannabe Sherlock Holmes in this book. The attention to the finest detail, the withholding of any clues from the reader (and sidekick) and the arrogance of the detective. The Holmes mirroring just didn’t work for me unfortunately. That finesse that Doyle had is hard to recreate. With just a touch of change in the subject matter I’d come nearer to recommended this as a young adult read.
The bottom line is that what I need to fall in love with a story and the characters was lacking. I didn’t get a feel for the characters, who they were, why they did what they did, and how they thought and felt. They weren’t developed enough for me to care two wits about them. Why did Jasper talk to his Counsel of Mirrors? I think there could have been a pretty awesome backstory or even side story there. I didn’t really get a feel for his personality either. He frequently came off as a arrogant twit with delusions of grandeur greater than himself. Why? What made him that way? What was truly the driving force behind Mr. Rudin making his deal with God? Some of that was there but it just didn’t fill in the gaps. There were way too many gaps for the characters to tell a story that would hold water for me and make me want to engage with it. I will say that the audience for this book is out there. I do feel unfortunate that it does not include me. I wanted desperately to love it but I can only say that it was OK and I liked parts of it.