Book Review: Yule Be Dead by Lorraine Bartlett

Yule Be Dead (Victoria Square, #5)

Yule Be Dead by Lorraine Bartlett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bartlett’s Yule Be Dead is a cute mystery centered around a farmer’s-market-type shopping center called “Artisans Alley” in the lovely Victoria Square. The protagonist, Katie Bonner, the boss of Artisans Alley, must deal with cranky vendors, shoplifters, the arrival of her mother-in-law, and on top of all that she finds herself entangled in a murder mystery. To deal with all Katie uses her unfailing wits and courage and the relationships she cultivates and grows.

While Yule Be Dead is labelled as a mystery, I would say that it is more of a slice-of-life drama novel with a mystery as one of the side plots. I do wish the murder mystery was more of an issue in the plot (and perhaps involved more than one murder).
There were a few issues I had with the writing style. Katie as a character has a lot of issues to deal with, and Bartlett does have her solve these issues, only to come back around again to question them. Usually when one has come up with a solution there should be little questioning to do, and I think if Bartlett cut some of that out the plot would feel a bit more concise and less in a loop. It also felt as if Bartlett had Katie find a problem in everything she faced, which is fair, she was having a bit of a time, especially in the face of murder. However, this pattern of writing makes the story lack some normalcy, and, again, it could have been a bit more concise. In addition, characters got angry at each other a lot, which felt quite repetitive.

Overall Yule Be Dead was a fun read for a mind that needs a break from a lot of effort (especially if it is like mine reading academic texts all day). And who wouldn’t want to read a cute mystery that takes place in a quaint little town?

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