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Slay Bells (Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery Series #14)

Slay Bells (Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery Series #14)

3.9 13
by Kate Kingsbury

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The second Pennyfoot Hotel Christmas reunion.

Cecily Sinclair Baxter's Christmas becomes a working holiday when the man playing Santa Claus for her hotel is found murdered.


The second Pennyfoot Hotel Christmas reunion.

Cecily Sinclair Baxter's Christmas becomes a working holiday when the man playing Santa Claus for her hotel is found murdered.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
The merry spirit of Christmas is put to the test at the prestigious Pennyfoot Hotel when two bizarre deaths occur during holiday festivities -- the corpse of a man dressed as Saint Nicholas is, in fact, found stuck in the chimney.

In Kate Kingsbury's 14th novel revolving around the much-historied seaside hotel in Edwardian England (No Clue at the Inn, Maid to Murder, et al.), the hotel's former owner and current manager, Cecily Sinclair Baxter -- an amateur sleuth with a "penchant for plunging into unfortunate situations" -- must not only discreetly unravel the mystery surrounding the inexplicable deaths but also downplay increasingly strange sightings of a mischievous ghost haunting the hotel, so that the numerous guests of the Pennyfoot have an enjoyable holiday stay. To complicate matters, Cecily's husband has been spending an unusual amount of time with a beautiful and "delectable" singer named Elise Boulanger. With a plethora of potential suspects staying at the hotel (the perpetually ill-tempered Desmond Atkins, the handsome but melancholic Jeremy Westhaven, et al.), Cecily is forced to use all of her well-honed deductive skills to solve the mystery -- and stay alive.

Utilizing classic plot devices from Agatha Christie's vast repertoire, as well as -- strangely enough -- elements from the board game Clue (there's a character named the Colonel, a knife as a murder weapon, and a crime committed in the library), Kingsbury's holiday-themed offering is, while somewhat formulaic, a charming and highly entertaining historical whodunit. Plum pudding not included. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
At the start of Kingsbury's 14th Pennyfoot Hotel mystery, series heroine Cecily Baxter is looking forward to a peaceful Christmas without any of the tragic events that marred the previous holiday season (detailed in 2003's No Clue at the Inn). When a footman breaks his neck falling off the roof, the village drunkard is stabbed and stuffed down the chimney in his Father Christmas suit, and Cecily's husband begins to avoid her questions about why he's spending so much time with a beautiful French singer, she reluctantly turns detective once more, determined to solve the mysteries-and somehow still help her guests have a happy Christmas-before the local constables can bungle the chase or shut down the hotel. The author draws as much from Fawlty Towers as she does from Agatha Christie, crafting a charming but entirely predictable cozy delicately flavored with period details of pre-WWI rural England. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The staff at the Pennyfoot Hotel is busy preparing for Christmas when several homicides threaten to ruin the festivities. Hotel manager Cecily Sinclair Baxter and her friends Phoebe Fortescue and Madeline Pengrath are presiding over a children's party and waiting for Father Christmas to come down the chimney with gifts when the footman who was assisting him is found dead, apparently from a fall from the roof. Although the gifts are in the chimney as planned, so is the body of Sid Porter, the dubious character hired for the job. Porter's stabbing seems unusually vicious, but the village constable, eager to depart for his own Christmas holiday, simply decides the footman did it and leaves town. Cecily, no believer in the constable's theory or talents, starts sleuthing, much against her husband's wishes. All kinds of strange goings-on must be kept from the guests. The chef's knife is found in the kitchen ceiling. Large objects are mysteriously moved to unlikely places. The maids are startled by the apparition of a ghostly clown. Cecily must deal with another murder and her husband's sudden interest in a beautiful singer who's performing in the Christmas show before she muddles through to identify the murderer. A pre-WWI whodunit in the classic style, furnished with amusing characters, stilted dialogue and a simple mystery.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Pennyfoot Hotel Series , #14
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.37(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.85(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Kate Kingsbury is a full-time writer and the author of the Pennyfoot Hotel mystery series.

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Slay Bells (Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery Series #14) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Slay Bells was my introduction to Kate Kingsbury and the Pennyfoot Motel series. I just loved this book. Cecily is my kind of character, strong willed and not easily waylaid by what others think.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Pennyfoot hotel manager Cecily Sinclair is hustling a Christmas children¿s party for those who reside in Badger¿s End, England. She doesn¿t anticipate any problems because it has been a year since there was a murder or any inexplicable happenings. The man who is portraying Father Christmas is going to come down the chimney but as time passes, Sid Porter fails to show up. The footman Roland who was to help Sid get down the chimney is found on the ground with a broken neck.------------------ At first everyone thinks it was an accident but when Sid¿s body is found in the chimney knifed to death, Cecily believes Roland witnessed the murder and that is why he was killed. While Cecily starts asking questions, much to her husband¿s displeasure, a clown is seen by the servants who think it is a ghost and furniture goes missing but is found in strange places. When another person is found murdered at the Pennyfoot, Cecily is determined to find the killer but is almost killed by a person she thought she could trust.------------------- Anytime a Pennyfoot hotel mystery is published is a time for rejoicing. The workers at the hotel are like a family and many are eccentrics who in the name of friendship help their boss who they adore. It is hard figuring out who the killer is because they are so many suspects who could have done it. The protagonist is a strong-willed assertive woman who lets no one, including her husband, make her decisions for her. Kate Kingsbury writes a charming cozy that is entertaining and will appeal to readers who don¿t like violence in their mysteries.---------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love you to. *follows erik to t next result*