After breaking up with hunky movie star Nick Doyle, Grammy Award-winning singer Emma Wild returns to her hometown for Christmas to get away from it all. In Hartfield, a small town in Ontario, Canada, she gets caught up in a murder case after a fan’s drink is poisoned at the Chocoholic Cafe, owned by Emma’s sister Mirabelle.
Who is the killer and was the drink originally intended for Emma?
To add to the chaos, Sterling Matthews is the detective on the case. He’d shattered her heart nine years ago and inspired all her hit singles, but now they must work together to find the murderer before the murderer finds Emma.
This book is first of four holiday/winter-themed short cozy stories by Harper Lin. The story is a quick read and it was what I needed at a time when I didn’t have a lot of time to read. Elements of the story line progressed similarly to Lifetime holiday movies and I could easily see this being adapted into one.
Emma Watson is a famous singer who is returning home for the first time in years after breaking up with her Hollywood star of a boyfriend, Nick Doyle. Of course, it’s not the breakup that is weighing heavily on Emma’s shoulders. Instead, it’s the memories and presence of her high school sweetheart that leaves Emma’s nerves in a twist. Emma spends much of the book reliving anxiety moments from high school and trying (unsuccessfully) to hide her emotions for Sterling. I didn’t mind the romance aspect of the story and to be honest, it’s what reminded me of those Lifetime movies the most. But the romantic cliffhanger at the end of the book did leave me a bit perplexed.
Considering this book has less than 20k words, I was surprised by how thoroughly developed Emma becomes in such a short story. She’s a realistic and relatable character who’s clearly trying to work through things. However, she’s constantly in awe of her own celebrity, while still trying to be coy about it. This is extremely apparent as she begins investigating the poisoning of a fan and each suspect’s love or hatred for her music is a key point. Considering that this is meant to be a cozy mystery, I wish there has been more development with her quaint Canadian hometown and townspeople. If there had been more development, I may have been more receptive to how quickly Emma solves the mystery and how obvious the perpetrator was.