Mad as the Dickens (#7)

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It’s the season of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men—except in Byerly, North Carolina, where murder is about to take center stage in the seventh installment in bestselling author Toni L.P. Kelner’s Southern mystery series.

Laura Fleming’s theater-loving husband, Richard, is getting an early Christmas present—he’s been asked to direct Byerly’s production of A Christmas Carol. To Richard’s annoyance, the play is beset by practical jokes and glitches, and Seth Murdstone makes an unconvincing Scrooge. Unfortunately, he makes an all-too-convincing corpse. When Seth is found murdered backstage, Laura agrees to investigate. 

This time, she has an unexpected sidekick: Byerly’s police chief Junior Norton, who’s determined to solve the case before her ambitious deputy does. Junior’s inside information is a definite boon—for one thing, she knows that Seth was a longtime moonshiner. The man had a veritable stockingful of secrets, and between grudge-filled rivals and feuding family members, there are plenty of likely suspects. But which one decided to bring the curtain down on Seth, and can Laura and Junior stop the culprit from staging an unwanted encore performance?


“Sure to charm Kelner fans.”

Publishers Weekly

“This is sparkling entertainment with a great storyline and an utterly charming cast of characters. Four stars.”

RT Book Reviews

“Lots of small-town bickering, family gossip, and not a few private agendas make for an entertaining Southern mystery. For all collections.”

Library Journal

“The puzzle is difficult to solve, the characters are endearing, and the dialogue is witty. Recommend this one to fans of Southern mystery series by Anne George and Margaret Maron.”


“Kelner deliver the perfect relaxer during the stressful holidays. The author’s lively approach shines, but Kelner also infuses MAD AS THE DICKENS with a sly look at family ties. MAD AS THE DICKENS will lift any holiday spirits.”

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Kelner paints the community of Byerly vividly in all its idiosyncrasies.”

Drood Review

“The heroine is sarcastic and smart and the plot moves along at a good pace. Four cats.”

Kate’s Mystery Books Newsletter

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