Death on a Winter Stroll

Death on a Winter Stroll, the seventh volume in the Merry Folger Nantucket Mystery series by Francine Mathews (Too Bad to Die), brings Christmas tidings and a murder or two to the small island of Nantucket. After several years of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nantucket is ready to bring back the popular Christmas Stroll and transform the island's Main Street into a winter wonderland. But the Stroll is not the only thing coming to Nantucket: a film production takes up residence on the island, with a large crew of A-list actors among the group; the secretary of state is visiting her vacation home; and a famous Instagram nature photographer is living--or possibly squatting--in a closed-up cabin. When the photographer winds up dead, soon followed by a member of the film crew, the recently promoted Chief Merry Folger is called to figure out what has happened in the usually serene beach destination she calls home.

Given the exceptionally large cast of characters in Mathews's ambitious mystery, it's no surprise that it takes time to get the lay of the land: who knew each other before they all arrived on the island, who denies knowing each other and whose secrets are relevant to the murders. Once these pieces come together, the novel proves a captivating whodunit, with plenty of clues and red herrings planted along the way for readers to untangle alongside Merry Folger. Death on a Winter Stroll, steeped in the "salt spray, damp sod, marsh" environment of Nantucket, is a seasonal cozy that will be best read by a fire with a warm beverage in hand. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

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