Description: When journalist Cat Armistead visits the small village of Wintergreen over Christmas, she thinks that staying in the peaceful English countryside will give her a chance to relax. Her illusions are shattered, however, when a local businessman, Hugo Montbray, is found dead in a wooded area near the village. As Cat delves into the mystery she finds that Montbray was a man with many enemies, and that his death might not have been accidental. Her search for the truth uncovers local and family rivalry, broken trust, and even a touch of the supernatural. And, as if that weren’t enough, Cat reluctantly finds herself being drawn to Jake Fernsby, the detective who is investigating Montbray’s death. However, Cat’s interest in the case has not gone unnoticed – and, in investigating it, she might have put herself in grave danger. A cozy crime mystery set around Christmastime, Wintergreen is the perfect read for long winter evenings.
“Wintergreen” by Mari Biella is murder mystery wrapped into a holiday romance. The protagonist, Catrin Armistead comes home to a quaint English village in the country to spend the holidays with her family. A freelance journalist and self-proclaimed workaholic in London spots a crime scene on the edge of town. In a place where crime seems nonexistent, everyone is shaken by the death of a rich, local businessman and while trying to unravel the mystery, Catrin becomes entangled in the town’s superstitious history.
At first glance, ‘Wintergreen” looks like an easy, holiday read but quickly becomes a thriller-slash-ghost story. Catrin is always in the right place at the right time which isn’t so hard to imagine in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Through her interactions with the townspeople, Catrin gets drawn into the mysterious death and wanting to discover whether it was an accident or in fact murder.
Throughout the book, Biella stealthily develops the characters – primarily Catrin and Jake Fernsby, a detective on the case and potential love interest – by drawing on town gossip to accentuate their sporadic interactions. While the evolution of their friendship would have been natural, it seemed forced into progressing a little too quickly to be natural. However, their banter and the town ghost stories keep the plot moving.
Overall, the book was interesting and intriguing. It’s not the most intense psychological thriller, but it’s a great light mystery and perhaps a good companion for holiday travel!
*I received this book through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.