★★★★ When the weather turns cold and the calendar flips to December, do you find yourself craving a cozy mystery with your gingerbread and eggnog? Well, then you really can’t do any better than Mike Martin’s collection of stories and sweet moments entitled Christmas in Newfoundland — Memories and Mysteries. The newest addition to the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries series gives readers exactly what they’d expect from their favorite Mountie—short days and long nights filled with friends and family. In Martin’s newest book, snapshots of Christmases past blend with snippets of Windflower’s Christmases through the years. Though the setting stays the same, the time period jumps around, giving the reader tastes of both nostalgia and relatability with clever statements like, “We don’t have a horse and carriage. But we do have horsepower in our snowmobiles and a couple of trailers.” At just over 150 pages, Christmas in Newfoundland is the perfect length for a night’s entertainment while sipping a warm drink in front of the fireplace.
Accessible even to those unfamiliar with the rest of the series, Christmas in Newfoundland wraps readers up in a warm, familial embrace. The characters gently cycle through the stories, and the familiar faces become comforting reminders of years gone by. Martin has a gift for sensory description that places the reader directly next to Windflower as he makes his way through the brutal cold in pursuit of a welcoming, crackling fireplace. The combination of memories and lightly plotted stories will certainly spark interest in the reader, and the plot trots along at a leisurely, comfortable pace throughout the collection’s overall arc. In the end, Mike Martin’s newest book captures not just the heart of the season, but all of the joy, excitement, nerves, smells, and tastes that can be experienced during the most wonderful time of the year.