When two former high school antagonists are thrown together in a mysterious setting the week before Christmas, you have the ingredients for romantic suspense, if they’re both attractive members of the opposite sex. Author Anne K. Albert skillfully weaves a story of surprise and deceit when Frankie Salerno, a former classmate shows up on Muriel Reeve’s doorstep years later and is still calling her Brian. Because of her intelligence, he originally called her “brain,” but a teacher intercepted a note he sent to Muriel when he misspelled her nickname.
Now a dyslexic private investigator, he enlists her help in finding a missing former classmate. And the classmate is not someone Muriel likes so she requires some persuasion. However, when she learns who hired Frankie to investigate, someone she does consider a friend, Muriel decides to aid in the investigation, which nearly gets her killed.
Muriel’s Aunt Val, a quirky character who is constantly baking cookies for the twelve days of Christmas, enters the plot with her crotch-sniffing dog, Big Boy. When Aunt Val is sideswiped while driving Muriel’s car and winds up in the hospital, they wonder if Muriel is the intended victim.
Muriel realizes that she’s still attracted to Frankie from their high school days but keeps him at arm’s length as he tries to charm her. The plot is filled with intrigue and humor as the pair continues their search for the missing woman. The book is well-paced and the characters well defined. I recommend Albert’s novel to anyone who loves a good mystery laced with a little romance and humor. My kind of book.