Killer in a Winter Wonderland

Listen to a narrated excerpt of Killer in a Winter Wonderland


Just as we light up those pumpkins, it’s time to start our Christmas TBR stack. I like to stock up before the holidays, so I can celebrate both in real life and in fiction! Today we have Killer in a Winter Wonderland (Funny, I’ve never sung that verse). Christmas is about being with the people you love, but Rosalie Hart will have to celebrate with one less person around the tree.

About the Book

In Killer in a Winter Wonderland, the much-anticipated holiday-themed fourth book in the Rosalie Hart Cozy Mystery Series, Wendy Sand Eckel once again brings the fictional town of Cardigan, Maryland to life and delights with suspense, humor, and mouth-watering menus. Holidays are fickle things — often good, but sometimes not so good. It’s December in the quirky town of Cardigan, and Rosalie Hart has been thrown several curve balls. For one, her ex-husband has booked a semester break vacation to Dubai with their only daughter, Annie, leaving Rosalie alone for Christmas. And following a renovation, Rosalie’s restaurant, the Day Lily Café, is open for business with an expanded dining room and a chef with an inflated ego. To make matters worse, when her head waiter and best friend Glenn Breckinridge is concerned about a neighbor who hadn’t returned home, they learn he had been murdered while riding his bike on River Road. In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, Rosalie and Glenn pair up once again to uncover who killed Bill Rutherford on that raw wintry night. With delectable menus, high stakes sleuthing, and the rich atmospheric scenes only the holiday season can provide, Killer in a Winter Wonderland is a cornucopia of delicious fare, compelling new and returning characters, and a fast-paced tale that will keep one riveted to the last page.


Chapter One
Holidays are fickle things, Christmas most of all.
Christmas can fill us with joy and anticipation of the wonders that are about to unfold. It can tease us with the faintest pang of hope that peace will blanket the earth at last. Twinkling lights pierce the shortest, darkest days of the year and our senses are indulged with nutmeg and mulling spices, peppermint bark and iced cookies. And who can’t feel optimistic in front of a crackling fire?
But Christmas can be tricky. Through all the grandeur, the traditions, the celebrations, the choirs resounding through the rafters, memories of Christmas past nudge the grief we manage to store away during the rest of the year — memories that become bolder, achier, and a little harder to bear.
For me, Rosalie Hart, Thanksgiving was recent history. A glass container of mashed potatoes, which I would most likely reconstitute into fried potato cakes for lunch, was all that remained. The tablecloth had been dropped at the cleaners and the pumpkins fed to the chickens and goats. My Annie had returned to Duke to take her final exams.
All of which meant that my Christmas season was upon me. And I already knew this one was going to be a challenge in many ways.
On Monday morning, I sat at my kitchen table at my home in Cardigan, a small, historic town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, chin in hand, slowly spinning my phone with the tip of my finger.
The click of Dickens’ nails on the wood floors announced Tyler Wells would not be far behind. Despite his age, Dickens hadn’t lost his Labrador sense that every day was a new adventure with endless possibilities, at least for a minute or two. I gave his ears a good scratch and he slumped onto his bed.
Tyler, the man who leased my farmlands, and the man I was very much in love with, stood in the doorway.
“Morning,” he said, as the scent of fresh cool air breezed into the room. His crooked smile stirred up a series of flips through my stomach. He stopped and took me in. “You okay?”
“First of all, good morning to you.” I stood and wrapped my arms around his neck. It was an effort as I was at least a head shorter, but it was my favorite place to be, my cheek on his chest, the scent of sandalwood soap, my fingers threading through his sandy-blond hair.
He stepped back. “Let me guess. This melancholy I’m detecting has to do with Annie’s departure.”
“You got it.” I tucked my unruly dark hair behind an ear. “And I just learned Annie is going to Dubai with her father for Christmas. No, correction—for her entire winter break.”
Tyler’s lips curled into a wry smile. “Dubai? Could he come up with a more un-Christmas like destination?”
“I hadn’t thought about that, but yes, a legitimate question. It’s puzzling to say the least.”
“Command performance?”
I shrugged. “She seemed to be a little excited but who can tell with a text.”
“This guy knows no bounds. Did he even run this by you?”
“Radio silence.”
Tyler headed over to Mr. Miele. “You going to be okay with this new development?”
I followed him to the coffee maker. “You mean having a Christmas without Annie? It’s unimaginable. Even if we aren’t together Christmas Day, I at least expect to fill her stocking.”
He stirred several spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee and faced me. “Isn’t Oliver supposed to come down from New York?”
“My brother said that a couple of months ago. I sure hope he does but we are a family — Oliver, Annie, and me. It only works if all three of us are here.”
“I’m submitting a request to be adopted into this family.”
“Adoption accepted.” I laughed. “You know I want to be with you every minute I can.”
“Well, I’m sorry, Rosalie. Ed should have worked you into Annie’s Christmas.”
“It’s all going to be very strange. I mean, why buy presents for under the tree if there’s no one to open them? And for that matter, why put up a tree at all?”
He draped his arm around my shoulder. “Should be an interesting holiday.”

Find Killer in a Winter Wonderland in November 2023

Check out Wendy’s other books on Amazon

About the Author

Wendy Sand Eckel is the award-winning author of the Rosalie Hart Mystery Series. Holiday-themed Killer in a Winter Wonderland, the fourth in the series, will be released in November, 2023.
Wendy studied criminology in undergrad and earned a Master’s in Social Work. Before becoming a writer she worked as a psychotherapist, helping families and adolescents.
Her mystery series has been awarded ‘Best Cozy’ by Suspense magazine and Mystery at Windswept Farm, the third book in the series, made the humorous novel bestseller list on Amazon. A trained life coach, Wendy writes the advice column for the Maryland Writers’ Association newsletter and enjoys mentoring aspiring authors.
She lives in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, a unique and quirky part of the country, which is also the setting for her series. In addition to her husband, she lives with two male orange tabbies, Frodo and Sam, who her daughter rescued from a soybean field.
Her favorite writing moment is when a minor character takes center stage and completely changes the story, which she says happened twice while writing Killer in a Winter Wonderland. (Her fourth novel due out at the end of November, 2023) She loves to cook and is happiest when her kitchen is filled with friends and family and the table is brimming with savory food and wine.

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