Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Slay Bells: A Vintage Mystery

Slay Bells is a newly released vintage murder mystery novella from the previously unpublished literary inheritance left by Eunice Mays Boyd. Released 7th Dec 2021, it's 95 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This is a well written holiday cozy mystery featuring a closed group of high school friends and their mentor and teacher. They plan to have a reunion after 10 years to see how they're all getting along in life. It turns out that despite their early promise, they're divorced, neurotic, angry, or even in prison. One by one they begin to die violently after a malevolent visit from Santa Claus. 

It is a product of the time it was written, although there are some pithy observations about the unfair nature of business opportunities for women at the time and general attitudes about gender roles and rigid class differences between the "haves" and the "have nots" which will resonate with modern readers. 

The manuscript has not been edited for modern audiences, so much of the dialogue seems somewhat stilted and retro. It fits very well with the story, but readers should remember that it's a vintage work approaching 70ish years of age. 

The denouement and resolution were unexpected but not unsatisfying. 

Three and a half stars. This is a previously unknown-to-me author and several other books from her oeuvre are slated to be released in new editions or are already extant. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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