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Slay Bells

(Christmas Village Mystery #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  69 reviews
‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!

Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring—

Tonight, in Christmas Village, a kill
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published November 23rd 2018 by Better Mousetrap Books
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A mystery = I am interested

A murder mystery = I am invested

A murder mystery with clues = I am itching to play the sleuth

A murder mystery with clues and a revealing "this is what that happened" = now you are talking my language.

And T. C. Wescott did indeed speak my language.

This was my first book by this author, and it gave an aura of a cute old time mystery. If you have read books for as long as I have, you will enjoy this book and appreciate those snippets of timelessness in this book.

A cut
Dana-Adriana B.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
It is a great mystery book set in Christmas Village, where the Sheriff with the help of Mrs. Claus will have to solve a mystery. You can only guess but it is not who you think. Nice cozy mystery.
Thank you Netgalley for this delightful story.
Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-work
This was a book that made me gasp, giggle and groan, T C Wescott has drawn some nice strong characters and it was fun to get involved with their lives! I would love to stay at Plum Cottage (err but not when there is a murderer also staying there), the food sounds delicious and you are obviously made very welcome by Rose.

With all the traditions in Christmas Village there is plenty to think about and plenty to do and the fact that we have Maribel Claus whose husband is seriously busy and will be u
Grace Normand
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was such an enjoyable read! It was lovely getting to know the village of Christmas; it reminded me of what you might see on a Hallmark movie. The plot was great and kept me guessing. I loved that it was a quick, easy read. There was also some humor, which I always love in books. The perfect cozy read for Christmas time!
Dora  (Swift Coffee Book Blog)
Full review (available from 22nd Dec, 2018):

My actual rating is 4.5!

This book was sweet, cozy, well-written, and had an interesting story. Christmas Village is a quirky place, with funny, interesting residents just enough crazy to be adorable. As Wescott's previous mystery, it had all the attributes a classic crime story has, and beyond that it transferred a wonderful holiday atmosphere that I felt so needed in my life!

Just as before, I loved the author's
Rekha Rao
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the second T.C. Wescott book that I read and I absolutely loved it. If there is a list of perfect books for Christmas, then I am pretty sure that Slay Bells is also on the list.

I love T.C Wescott's books. A cozy crime novel with oodles of suspense, Slay Bells is one of the best books that I have read so far! If I had to describe this book in three words, I would say Fascinating, Brilliant and Spectacular.

Not just the Elders or Doctor Wilcox or Sheriff Fell or Rose, even I was curious to
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love a good Christmas story at this time of year. This is the start of a new series, A Christmas Village Mystery Book. I loved the town of Christmas Village where there is snow and flowers blooming at the same time. The main character, Maribel Claus, is an interesting older woman who is an integral part of the goings on in Christmas Village. And Plum Cottage, Rose's bed and breakfast, sounded lovely and the food sounded delicious. The mysteries kept the reader guessing, and this was a fast, ea ...more
Aileen  (Ailz) Grist
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An exciting story in Christmas Village. The entertainers for the Christmas Fair are staying at Plum Cottage. Mrs Maribel Claus - not having a lot to do at home as it's her husband's busy time of year - is helping out at Rose - the owner of the cottage - has sprained her ankle; when the owner of the troupe turns up dead.

Will the Sheriff - with the help of Maribel - find the murderer befor Christmas is ruined?

A good fun book and interesting read.
Nina Silva
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miss Marple meet the happy hamlet of Christmas Village where a murder will mar the tranquillity and joy with which the townsfolk carry out their daily activities.
Okay so this isn’t a Miss Marple story but it sure gives off the same charming vibe, right down to the cute sketches of key scenes!
I found the mystery satisfactorily done. It wasn’t too hard to figure out the culprit but the motive and means kept me guessing.
The characters are delicious. Miss Marple... I mean Mrs. Claus is too cute fo
Laura Thomas
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery

There are several ingredients I like in cozy mysteries.

The first is a small town setting. Christmas Village reminded me of Whoville come to life. It’s time for the annual Christmas Festival and the whole town jumps in to make it another magical experience. But the town has their own Grinch in the guise of a killer.

The second is a diverse cast of characters. You sure get those in Slay Bells. Welcome to Plum Cottage. The picturesque Inn is filled to capacity with a very unusual cast of character’s
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy, holiday, mystery
I started out thinking this book was set sometime in the past, with Rose Willoughby hanging mistletoe in the parlor of her lodging house, with a traveling troupe of performers - her lodgers - watching. There was also more formal speech and no mention of a geographical location - at least none I'm familiar with. But as I continued reading, small mentions of modern day began to creep in - jeans, lawyers, texting - and it made me feel a bit disoriented. As I got to know the characters and the plot ...more
Fatima Ahmed
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I usually don’t read any thriller/mystery books, but I decided to try this one because of the Christmas theme and the beautiful cover, and then when I read the description, I thought it would turn out to be an interesting read. And it was.

Pairing the Christmas theme with Wescott’s beautiful writing style made this installment wonderful! I admired the writing style greatly while I was reading it.

As for the characterization, I absolutely loved it! All the characters are built up very well, and th
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys.
The air was alive with pine and with holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!
Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Dec 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
(A Christmas Village Mystery: #1)
Written by T.C. Wescott
2018; Books Go Social (273 pages)
Genre: series, holiday, christmas, small town, cozy mystery, mystery

(Review Not on Blog)

RATING: 1 STAR (DNF @ 40%)

It took me DAYS/HOURS to get to 40%. I kept reading the first two chapters over again as I had no clue what was going on as nothing happens. Then someone is dead and I am still confused with all the chatter and characters. I had to put it down before I said "humbug" out loud.

***I recei
Rachel Casey
A fun and festive read, Slay Bells is a cosy murder-mystery guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

It’s Christmas Village’s most wonderful time of year when all the inhabitants are preparing for the annual, week-long Christmas Festival.

But all is not right at Plum Cottage, as a troupe of entertainers in town for the festival are shocked at the death of their manager, Mr Stipes.

But this wasn’t just any death. Mr Stipes was murdered and left atop Plum hill, with no footprints going up o
Mary Lou Hoffman
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
SLAY BELLS is the first book in the Christmas Village Mystery series. It is yet to be seen if they will need to be read in the order of release, though this one stands on its own with no cliffhanger.

The story is a wonderful cozy mystery with a Christmas theme. Christmas Village is a peculiar little town that embraces everything to do with the Yule season and will use any excuse for a fair or town celebration.

My favorite character is Rose’s best friend Maribel Claus. Her husband is very busy and
Ruth Hill
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

First of all, this is a cozy mystery. No profanity, sex, or graphic violence. Additionally, this is also the first in a series of books, and I was pleased to see a good foundation established with the characters.

I adore Christmas and mysteries, and there could be nothing better than the combination of these. I was thoroughly enchanted with the characters in th
J.J. Rusz
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
T.C. Wescott’s “Slay Bells” was my first foray into the cozy mystery genre. It’s set in an intimate small-town environment (Christmas Village), holds violence and sex to a minimum, and celebrates amateur sleuthing. No problems with any of that.

But I found the story slow to develop and its characters more eccentric than interesting, like a Hallmark movie directed by Fellini. The writing is generally sound and the murder plot intricate—almost to a fault. At the conclusion, you may find yourself t
Sue Em
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Who wouldn't enjoy taking a break in all their holiday preparations and reading a clever golden age style mystery set in a Christmas Village with a main protagonist named Maribel Claus who husband is away and busy through Christmas Eve. Maribel's friend, Rose, takes in lodgers but needs help caring for them after spraining her ankle. This Christmas, the village has hired a troupe of circus performers and they are staying with Rose when sadly a murder takes place, a seemingly impossible one. Take ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story was almost too cute for words. Mrs. Clause is a dazzling detective and just days away from the Mister's big day. Helping her friend Rose to determine which of her B&B guest carnie workers is a murderer. The story has an old world feel the characters are using cell phones to text. The plot was good and I did not guess who the killer was but I was able to noodle out how the first victim ended up on the undisturbed, snow covered hill. The story painted a picture me of a village that ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Slay Bells: A Christmas Village Mystery by T. C. Wescott and I give it 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this cheeky cozy mystery. I loved how little details of Christmas were weaved into everything, I loved the main character, Mrs. Claus, and the setting was so dreamy. I enjoyed the creativity and although I suspected who was the murderer, I didn’t know until it was revealed. I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a cozy Christmas mystery. I look forward to following Mari ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slay Bells: A Christmas Village Mystery is murder mystery like no other. Although it follow that the theme of a mystery murder, it has surprising twist that led you wanting to know more. The characters are thoughtful and engaging within in this thriller. It’s magic captivates the audience and keeps them turning the page. I’d recommend this to anyone seeking and adventure or loving a good murder mystery.

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Marie (UK)
This follows the Cosy mystery genre to a T. The characters all live in a village dedicated to Christmas with one if its seven leaders being Mrs Claus whose husband is noticeably absent in the run up to christmas. It is terribly twee but at least the investigation does include some real thinking and collaboration, although Mrs Claus is, as usual in this genre, better than the paid detectives. I enjoyed it, didn't need to suspend disbelief too much and would read others in the series
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely cozy that brings you to an enchanted town. I loved this book, the style of writing, the cast of characters, and the plot.
It's enjoyable, heartwarming and entertaining.
I hope that this is the beginning of a new series because I would like to read more books set in this town and with this cast of characters.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very cute book!

Though i did not read it during the Christmas period, i could feel that festive vibe throughout :)

A very cozy Christmas story, which you should definitely try reading anytime in the month of December! :)

Also, very nice cover!! ;)
Teresa Kander
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first novel in a new series, and I already can't wait to read more. Maribel Claus is a fun character, as are the other residents of Christmas Village. They are all a bit quirky, and some even have beliefs that are WAY out there.

This book is very well written, and the story keeps you guessing as to what will happen next and who is committing murder.
Christina Mages
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another 5 star read. Awesome story line, great characters. Loved every minute of reading this book. 5 stars
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads-free
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna Fox
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it. Set in Christmas Village just before Christmas, we have a group of entertainers there to preform. Mrs. Claus investigates since she is a village elder as well as a friend to the property owner where the body was found. The mystery kept me entertained and guessing. I look forward to more in this series.

I thank the publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Jessica Smith
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
You can find this review and all of my others over at

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, BooksGoSocial, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A cosy murder mystery set around Christmas which makes it even more cosy.

Christmas Village is everything that it sounds like. And as it gets nearer to Christmas, the town becomes a beehive of activity. People flock to the village because somehow, everything Christmassy is just bet
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