Great mystery but missing usual comedic family subplots.
In How the Finch Stole Christmas, it’s Christmastime in Caerphilly. Michael’s college has decided to bring in a has-been actor named Malcolm Haver to increase tourist attendance for its annual play, A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately, Haver has a drinking problem, which means slurred speech and missed rehearsals. Meg convinces her family and friends to not sell Haver any alcohol. So where is he acquiring it? The answer leads to an illegal animal smuggling ring, elder abuse and murder.
There are red herrings aplenty in this excellent mystery plot. The solution is clever. However, the usual family interplay is missing. Michael, the twins and cousin Rose Noire seem to be only bit characters in this novel. Meg’s mother was only used to provide obscure family members for other forgettable roles. The plot of How the Finch Stole Christmas is good enough to be a 5 star entry in the series but the lack of the usually hilarious family banter drops it down to 4 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Minotaur Books, and netgalley for an advanced review copy. This book will be published on October 24, 2017.