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Der letzte Tanz der Druidin. (1997)

von Joan Hess

Reihen: Claire Malloy (12)

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255682,954 (3.45)6
The winter solstice festival of the Druids in Arkansas is marred by the murder of a doctor, the cult's principal benefactor. As bookstore owner and sleuth Claire Malloy investigates, suspicion centers on members of the cult who were his tenants.
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Claire Malloy owns Book Depot bookstore in the town of Farberville, Arkansas. Her main customers are the students at Farber College, but at Christmas time most of the students are gone. Customers are few and far between.

When an old woman, dressed in a long, print dress, wool socks, sandals, her thin, grey hair pulled back in a bun and a red cloak as an overcoat comes in asking for New Age books, Claire finds herself accepting an invitation to a winter solstice celebration. It turns out the customer is the Arch Druid of the Sacred Grove of Keltria.

When Claire arrives at the early morning event, she finds a murder instead of a bonfire. She also finds that the group has quite a bit of friction between the members and there are some dangerous secrets being kept.

While Claire is trying to not get involved, but is being pulled in by various members, her daughter is dealing with being a Santa’s helper and the trials and tribulations of parents, kids and having pictures taken with Santa.

It is a cozy mystery with a good dose of humour. A fun and quick read. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Dec 10, 2020 |
I expected this book to have more of a Christmas theme, but the Christmas holiday seemed to be more in the way of the story (especially when it came to Caron's mall job fiasco). Instead, Claire gets entangled in some Druid drama that doesn't quite fit with the title or book cover. *sigh* ( )
  dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
The 12th of 17 Claire Malloy books is, as the name might suggest, a Christmas themed novel. In the days leading up to the holiday, bookstore owner Claire is invited to a winter solstice event by a customer who is also a Druid. However, before the sun rises a man is discovered dead in his home and the Druids start behaving oddly and pointing fingers at each other.I’ve not read any of this series or Hess’ other books before so I don’t know if it’s a representative sample of her writing. Regardless, as the only example I’ve come across, it left me with that meh feeling that only an average book can produce. All I can really say is that reading it passed some time.

These days it probably qualifies as a short book at 270-odd pages but, for me, it still managed to drag a bit because there wasn’t a lot happening. I’m pretty sure I could edit out 50 pages without impacting the story at all just by removing the repetitive passages along the lines of “I got my keys and drove to the store and did some dusting and some thinking and then I drove over to see Malthea…”

I didn’t find Claire Malloy to be a particularly interesting protagonist. She’s quite passive, a whingerand I really never bought into the premise that a community wary of strangers would almost universally trust Claire, whom none of them had before, with all of their secrets. I understand it had to be done to advance the plot; I just never believed it in the context of the story. In the cosy books that I like there is generally a less tenuous link between the amateur sleuth and the investigation than was the case here. Also, apart from Claire’s teenage daughter Caron, the other characters were very under-developed and I couldn’t summon up much interest in which of them might have committed the murder.

Officially my rating is 2.5
( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
The usual Clare Malloy. She gets mixed up with witches and covens. Her teenage daughter is still whining about everything but is beginning to show the slight start of maturity. Clare can't say no and gets mixed up in messes, then there is always a murder and she gets away with things that no real person could ever get away with. This series gets a little tiresome but I do read them. ( )
  Anntstobbs | Apr 2, 2012 |
This is the 11th title in Joan Hess' Claire Malloy series. Claire owns a book shop in Farberville Arkansas. As Christmas approaches, business is rather slow. Then less than a week before Christmas and the Book Depot has a visit from Malthea Hendlerson, an Arch Druid in search of New Age titles. Claire is able to order the books in for her.

Claire's teenage daughter Caron and her friend Inez have found what look like the ideal, well paying, holiday jobs at Santa's Workshop. They will be reindeer assisting in taking Christmas photos of children sitting on Santa's lap. What could be simpler?

Claire's friend Peter, the local police chief, has had to leave town for a few days to deal with a family emergency, and Claire is feeling rather disappointed. But the final few days to Christmas prove to be far from uneventful. Claire is invited by Malthea to be an observer at a winter solstice celebration. Just before dawn, as the ceremony is about to start, an older male member of the Druidic community is found dead, murdered. The subsequent hunt for the murderer reveals that the Druidic community is full of problems.

Just to complicate things Caron's job as Santa's helper turns out to be part of a scam for the unsuspecting.
In the police chief's prolonged absence Claire works with the local officers in finding out the truth about who committed the murder and why.

A HOLLY, JOLLY MURDER is light frothy read, a variant on a cozy, but not one that will send me in desperate search for other titles by Joan Hess. Perhaps you have read a better one?? ( )
  smik | Nov 19, 2008 |
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The winter solstice festival of the Druids in Arkansas is marred by the murder of a doctor, the cult's principal benefactor. As bookstore owner and sleuth Claire Malloy investigates, suspicion centers on members of the cult who were his tenants.

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