Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Deadly Traditions cozy mystery Christmas anthology

Posted September 22, 2022 by meezcarrie in Christmas, contemporary, cozy mystery, Gayle Leeson, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 17 Comments

DEADLY TRADITIONS: A Cozy Mystery Christmas Anthology
Erin Scoggins, Estelle Richards, Justine Maxwell, Ellie Ballard, Sam Cheever, Gayle Leeson, Sheena Macleod, Dianne Ascroft, Melicity Pope, Mollie Cox Bryan, Wendy H. Jones, and Sage So.

GENRE: Cozy Mystery collection
PUBLISHER: Grace Abraham Publishing
RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2022
PAGES: 474

Have yourself a DEADLY little Christmas.

Celebrate the holidays with mistletoe, mayhem, and murder. Join your favorite authors as they cozy up by the fire with twelve festive short mysteries that feature treasured holiday traditions. Serve up a slice of fatal fruitcake and deck the halls with danger, because the holiday season has never been so much fun.

This original collection is available for a limited time only, so grab your copy today.

A Pickle in a Pear Tree by Erin Scoggins
Mistletoe and Murder by Dianne Ascroft
O Deadly Night by Estelle Richards
Larceny and Gingerbread Lattes by Justine Maxwell
Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas by Gayle Leeson
Killing the Carol by Sam Cheever
Silent Snickerdoodle by Ellie Ballard
Santa Claus is Not Coming to Town by Sage So
Mrs. Claus Saves Christmas by Wendy H. Jones
A Christmas Dinner to Die For by Sheena Macleod
Christmas Card and Feathered by Mollie Cox Bryan
A Little Christmas Villainy by Melicity Pope


I’ve been looking forward to this collection since the moment I learned it would include Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas by one of my fave cozy mystery authors, Gayle Leeson. In fact, even though it’s not the first story in the collection and I’m usually a stickler for reading in order, I read her novella first… and I grinned nearly the whole way through it. I already love Max and the non-ghost characters from Leeson’s Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series, so it was lots of fun to be treated to a Christmas ghost story…. from a ghost. The author infused this novella with wit and warmth, and readers will love how Max’s family bands together in a sticky situation.

The other novellas in this holiday collection of short story cozy mysteries were all by relatively new to me authors. Other than Mollie Cox Bryan, whose Cora Crafts Mystery series I’ve read, this was my introduction to the rest. I’ve seen their books on Amazon and thought about trying them, which is the beauty of a collection such as this – it gives you a taste of each author’s writing style and (in many cases) ongoing series. I am happy to report that I’ve found several authors whose backlists I’ll now be combing through because I read Deadly Traditions. I’m particularly eager to catch up on Justine Maxwell’s Coffee Truck Cozy Mystery series – I really loved this introduction to the setting and the characters, as well as her writing voice. And then I’ll track down all the other authors who have series, too, because I honestly enjoyed each one!

Bottom Line: Even small joys and casual traditions mean more at Christmas, don’t they? And, in the same manner, even small crises seem more magnified during the holidays. In Deadly Traditions, readers are treated to twelve different stories brimming with Christmas traditions gone awry in some form or fashion. From a destroyed gingerbread masterpiece to a murdered farmer and everything in between – including a missing Santa, a missing engagement ring, a retiree held hostage, a murdered elf, and even a couple of poisoned cookie eaters – we also meet a variety of amateur sleuths, including the fabulous Mrs. Claus herself. If you love Christmas, cozy mysteries, and great writing, then you need to get a copy of the Deadly Traditions cozy mystery Christmas anthology by these twelve festive authors!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the authors. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!

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Justine Maxwell writes cozy mysteries with brave heroines, strong family bonds, and a touch of romance. She has degrees in psychology from Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University. She hopes to one day become a reclusive author in a mountain cabin near Flagstaff, AZ. Until then, she’ll be a busy mom of four small children and one (allegedly) hypoallergenic pup, writing in the midst of chaos.

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.


Estelle Richards lives in the beautiful American Southwest and writes cozy mysteries, including the Lisa Chance Cozy Mysteries and the March Street Cozy Mysteries.

USA Today Bestselling Author Erin Scoggins is a long-time Southerner with a fondness for offbeat humor and fresh fried chicken. After fifteen years in marketing with a Fortune 500 company, she traded her MBA for fictional crime scenes and feisty small-town families. She writes fun, flirty mysteries that are celebrations of food, family, and the killer South.


Sage So dreamed of being a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) until she almost failed biology, chemistry and biochemistry at college; and there was no way she would have passed the physical fitness test to become an FBI agent. But she gets to solve crimes (among other things) in her fictional world now! She lives in Minnesota in the US with her human and feline family members who may or may not make an appearance in her stories.

Dianne Ascroft is a Canadian writer living in Britain. Since moving to Britain in 1990 she has lived in Scotland and Northern Ireland. She writes cozy mystery, historical and contemporary fiction, often with an Irish connection. Her non-fiction articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and regional newspapers including the Toronto Star, Ireland’s Own, Senior Times, Celtic Connection and Irish Connections Canada.


There are only a few things Ellie Ballard will go to war for: The corner brownie, the middle lasagne, and Castle. All the rest is open for debate. Ellie hails from a midwest town not so different from Clear Springs, feeds a cat not so different from TC, and would never be caught dead with slice-and-bake cookies.

Melicity Pope is the cozy pen name for Melissa Williams-Pope and the embodiment of one of her many heart-dreams. When not writing and president-ing the UK/EU chapter of Sisters in Crime, she cycles through her variety of passions such as acting, singing and traveling the world fostering adorable furry friends, while using her positive psychology and ministry background to coach other women to experience their own dream-come-true lives and businesses. She’s a whimsical American, married to a down-to-earth Kiwi, currently based in a small Victorian castle-mansion in Scotland.


Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge. She’s the author of several bestselling mystery series, also writing under the pen name Maggie Blackburn. Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman’s World. She has also been short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She’s also penned a historical fiction: MEMORY OF LIGHT: AN AFTERMATH OF GETTYSBURG. She’s the mother of two nearly perfect daughters, each pursuing careers in music.

USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 100+ books.


Sheena Macleod is a published historical fiction author and a prize wining and published short story writer. She lives in a seaside town on the East Coast of Scotland.

International award-winning author Wendy H. Jones grew up in the beautiful Scottish City of Dundee. In a home full of books and with family who read extensively she developed a passion for reading early in life. Having read all the books in the local library by the age of ten, she entered into a spirited discussion with a librarian as to why she should be provided with an adult library card. Showing steely will, and determination, she won her battle and moved on to reading adult crime novels. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Wendy, a committed Christian, enjoys spending time with her family, especially her nieces, both of whom are excited at their aunt being a published author. She still loves to travel and explore exotic locations, as well as spending time exploring the UK.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Deadly Traditions by these 12 great cozy mystery authors?

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17 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Deadly Traditions cozy mystery Christmas anthology

  1. Bea LaRocca

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Deadly Traditions, this sounds like an awesome collection of holiday cozy mysteries and I am looking forward to reading all of the stories

  2. Laura

    Your reviews are great, Carrie! I think I may add almost every book to my TBR after I read your review 😬😂! This one sounds so fun!

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