First Lines Fridays (2) @writes_liz @KensingtonBooks

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature
for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words.
What if instead of judging a book by its
cover, its author or its prestige, we judged
it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your
current read or on your TBR) and open to
the first page. Copy the first few lines, but don’t
give anything else about the book away
just yet – you need to hook the reader first
Finally… reveal the book!


“It was a slaughter,” Salty the elf said.

He’s not wrong, I thought as I surveyed the ruins inside the greenhouse. He’d warned me what to expect during his emergency phone call summoning me, but a slaughter of pumpkins proved more upsetting than I’d prepared myself for. And by “a slaughter of pumpkins” I don’t mean a vegetable term of venery like “a murder of crows” or a “flamboyance of flamingoes.” This was literal violence against a greenhouse full of gourds that had been carefully planted and tended by Salty, the elf who was Castle Kringle’s head gardener and groundskeeper.

I picked my way across broken glass at the threshold of Salty’s greenhouse, horrified by the carnage. Jagged chunks of pumpkin flesh and streams of seedy entrails were strewn across the thermally heated soil. Despite the blissful warmth inside the place, I shivered. I think I knew even then that this vandalism augured worse to come.

My husband, Nick—aka Santa Claus—put his gloved hand on my arm. The set of his bearded jaw told me the sight disturbed him, as well. He was dressed in his everyday red wool suit with black belt and accessories, but he’d taken off his hat inside the greenhouse. This was probably out of habit, but his solemn expression made it appear he’d doffed it out of respect for the pumpkins.
Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide
A Mrs. Claus Mystery #2
Liz Ireland
Kensington, September 2021

From the publisher—

April Claus knows being married to the real Santa makes every day feel like Christmas. But when a different holiday arrives at the North Pole, so does murder…

For the first time ever, Christmastown is celebrating a strange new tradition—Halloween. But not everyone is willing to watch their dependable winter wonderland get overrun by carved pumpkins and costume parties. As a series of scary happenings hit Santaland, each one more intense than the last, April realizes having a role in the festivities could cost her family, friends—even her own life.
April isn’t the only unlucky target. Outspoken elf Tiny Sparkletoe is found dead in the snow outside his cottage, crushed in the middle of what appears to be a monstrous footprint. With mayhem descending like reindeer on rooftops, April must stop the Halloween killer before the fate of Mrs. Claus becomes another creepy tale to tell in the dark…