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The festive fifth holiday mystery from the bestselling mother-daughter Clarks (after 2006's Santa Cruise) focuses on a wish-fulfillment theme many Americans dream about-winning a fortune in the lottery. As Christmas approaches, the folks of Branscombe, N.H., are celebrating their first "Festival of Joy." Visiting from New York City are novelist Nora Regan Reilly and her PI daughter, Regan Reilly, and their close friends Alvirah and Will Meehan, who won $40 million in the lottery a few years earlier. When four employees of Conklin's Market win $160 million using numbers supplied by their associate Duncan Graham, they decide to share their winnings with Duncan. Duncan, alas, has vanished. The Reillys and Meehans soon get on a trail of intrigue involving an abduction, thieves, con men and a second winning lottery ticket. Though the plotting and the characterization can be as thin as early winter ice, this trifle still rates a cheerful ho ho ho. (Nov. 18)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.