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The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking

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Member Reviews

Fun, But Still Murdery, Cozy Mystery

While it isn't my go-to genre, I do love to read a good cozy mystery now and then. This one had so many fun surprises that it was an absolute delight to read. I love the idea of Sid—a walking, talking skeleton! Not only that, but he is also surprisingly modern, loving the internet, making spreadsheets, and of course, helping to figure out murders. He can also disassemble on any night except Halloween, so a part of him can be conveniently tucked in a purse or taken in the car. Oh, my gosh! What fun! As you might imagine, there is a fair amount of humor in this book, most of it rather dry. I happen to like that particular type of humor, so I found this book highly amusing. It gets off to a great start when the family's dog comes home with a femur, and the family assumes the dog has somehow taken one of Sid's femurs. Alas, that is not the case. The family dog has stumbled upon a dead skeleton on a run about town when he escaped from home. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the mystery as it unfolded, but I think I enjoyed the interaction of Sid—well, anything to do with Sid, really—and the rest of the family to be the most fun. I had not read this author before, so this is the first of the series that I’ve. I don't feel like I was lost at all, so this can easily be read as a standalone if this is your introduction to the author as well. I did enjoy this one so much, however, that I will most likely be checking out other books in this series. Sid is such a great idea, and the author used him well! All in all, this is a very enjoyable wintertime mystery.
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This was such a good book, I did not want it to end.  The thought of being able to talk to a skeleton who still can talk and have feelings would be  neat.  Sid watches over his family even though not many know of his special skills.  Good characters and good storylines.  I cannot wait until the next book!
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I love Sid and Georgia Thackery! This time, it is the family dog that finds the murder victim. While the story isn't exactly focused around a Christmas theme (more of a wintery theme), it does focus around solving a crime that makes Georgia's good friend and co-worker look like the number one suspect. There is actually a little bit of a sweet love story in this book, but probably not in the way you think. Sid is hilarious as always and I am jealous I do not have my own walking, talking skeleton best friend.
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This is a super cute, fun, and slightly wacky paranormal cozy mystery. 

Dr. Georgia Thackery is an adjunct college professor living with her professor parents and teenage daughter. Sid lives in their attic. Sid is a literal skeleton (how he's animated no one knows), who loves online gaming, spreadsheets, and investigating murders. Clearly he can't easily wander around town any day but Halloween, but his skeleton can disassemble for convenient investigating. His skull and hand, for instance, can be carried in a bag so that he can attend interviews, etc., and text questions to Georgia. Or otherwise be of assistance..."People swear by their cup holders, but there’s nothing as convenient as having a disembodied skeletal hand help hold your food while you’re driving."

The Thackery's and Sid are preparing for Christmas when their dog gets out of their yard and returns with a femur. Planning to apologize profusely to Sid, who they assume must be missing a femur, they're surprised to learn all his bones are accounted for. A call to the police and another search with the dog leads to a long buried dead body. One of Georgia's colleagues could be implicated in the murder so Georgia and Sid are on the case. 

The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking is part of a series. This book can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the series in order. #cozymystery #paranormalcozymystery
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It’s Christmas time but the merriment is interrupted when the Thackery’s dog Byron goes missing. When Byron is found he has a human bone in his mouth. Georgie and Madison go to apologize to Sid for Byron taking one of his bones. Sid’s skeleton is intact, so who does the bone belong?

This is book 6 but my first book in the series. I had this series on my TBR list for a while. I have been hearing good things from my fellow cozy mystery friends. I was not disappointed. I was able to enjoy this as a stand-alone mystery. I definitely look forward to reading the previous books in the series to learn more about Sid and the Thackery family. This a fun humorous cozy mystery. The characters are enjoyable and entertaining. The mystery moves at a quick steady pace with several twists and turns to keep the reader engaged in the story. I recommend this book to cozy mystery fans. 

I voluntarily agreed to read a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and in no way have been influenced by anyone.
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The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking by Leigh Perry is the sixth novel in A Family Skeleton Mystery series.  It can be read as a standalone, but you will be missing out some fun adventures with Georgia and Sid.  Georgia and the Thackery family are looking forward to a merry holiday season with Sid by their side.  This will be the first Christmas they have all been together since Madison learned of Sid’s existence.  Then Byron is found with a femur bone in his mouth and it is not one of Sid’s (this time).  It seems that Byron stumbled upon a victim who has been dead at least ten years.  Georgia would like to sit out this case, but then her friend, Dr. Charles Peyton tells her information that if he shares with the police could get him arrested.  Georgia wants to solve the case and clear Charles.  Sid is thrilled that Georgia has changed her mind especially since he already has a spreadsheet started.  Can Georgia and Sid wrap up this chilly case before the holidays?  The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking has such great characters.  I just love Sid.  He is such a unique character being a walking, talking skeleton.  He holds himself together by force of will.  I like that the family has outfitted his attic for him.  He has a busy online where he takes classes, communicates with friends, plays games, does research, and shops.  The mystery was interesting.  I like that it is a cold case which is harder for the duo to solve.  There is active investigating, good clues and even a twist that some people may not expect.  I like that Georgia meets up with Brownie once again.  There is only one thing standing in the way of Georgia having a fulfilling relationship with Brownie—Sid.  I love the humor in the story that has me laughing frequently.  The Thackery’s have a grad student who cannot stop talking about his dissertation or eating all the Thackery’s food.  He provided some snarky comments and amusing moments.  The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking is a lively tale with staff on strike, a cold case, a previous paramour, an abandoned abode, and happy holiday happenings.
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I loved the first two books in this series, so when I saw this book available on Net Galley I had to request it. Unfortunately, this book was not the same as the first two books. The author did not post anything political in her first two books. But, in this book she did. She made the protagonist specifically say "As an independent woman and staunch feminist. "Another mention is "What happened to him?" "Nothing. He's rich and white."  - why does the author have to insert these lines into the story? When the independent and staunch feminist Georgia was mad at her male friend, he had to practically grovel for her to be in the same room as him. She forgave him as soon as he was submissive to her. Another mention is: Georgia said to her mother, "Your such a  rebal, Mom" and her mother raised her fist in the air and said "Rage against the machine." (Seriously? What does that even mean???) They also mention lesbian, public school banning Christmas. I felt the author was throwing all the liberal politics into this book trying to appease everyone and I feel the author failed. All this was not in the first book, or even the second, why change it now? And the way the author did it was so APPARENT.  
The mystery itself was great. I still like reading about Sid. But he was not the main part of the book, the author spent way to much time trying to fit in politics, that she did not execute Sid very well, like she did in the previous books. That being said, this will be my last book from this series. I read books to escape the stupidity of politics. I do not want to read about them.  
Thank you Netgalley and Diversion Books for an advanced readers copy. This opinions expressed on here are my own.
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I was unable to read and review the book by the publishing date due to other commitments.  I will update the review immediately upon completion of the book.  Thank you NetGalley and publisher.
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I enjoy this fun and light hearted cozy  series.  This is book 6 in the Family Skeleton Mystery series and it's holiday themed.  Georgia's dog comes home with a bone and she and the family assume it's Sid's.  It's not and when the dog leads them back to the grave he found it the rest of the bones are there.  The police want her help and between her job as adjunct professor at Bostock College and being single mom to Madison she's stretched to the limit.  Also Sid is obsessed with finding the correct Christmas gift for everyone and is burning up the internet shopping.  This can be read as a stand alone but it would help if you have some background to Sid's presence and ability to move around with Georgia from previous books.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

This series just keeps getting better! I look forward to each new novel in the Family Skeleton Mystery series, and this one does not disappoint. The characters are extremely well-defined, the setting of a college town in New England is perfect, and the strike of tenured professors couldn’t be at a worse time. The author shares the plight of adjunct professors and I confess to not even knowing what an adjunct was prior to this series. The mystery is hard to solve. Okay, it was one that only Sid could figure out. 

Sid is the family skeleton. He and the Thackery family first met at the Fenton Family Festival when Georgia was a girl. To Georgia, now an adjunct professor at Bostock University, and her sister Deborah, growing up in a home with a walking, talking skeleton was normal. As an adult, Deborah doesn’t see Sid very often. Georgia, as a single mother to Madison, now a teen, didn’t see Sid very much either until a couple years ago. Madison now knows about Sid, and they are friends and online gaming buddies. Sid and Georgia have been involved in solving several mysteries in the past few years, murders that Georgia tends to be part of through friends or acquaintances.

Georgia arrives home from a day of classes to find Madison going to look for her Akita, Byron. They are currently living with her parents, both tenured professors at nearby McQuaid, and one of the grad students mentored by her parents left the front door open, so Byron took a walk. Madison finds Byron, and Byron brings a new treasure. Georgia identifies it as a human femur, and Madison is very worried that it belongs to Sid, despite being covered with dirt.

Sid is intact when they return, however, so Georgia calls the police. Sergeant Louis Raymond, one of the guys Deborah is currently dating, Georgia and Byron go to see if their dog will lead them to where he found the bone. Byron led them to a vacant, overgrown lot and the rest of the skeleton.

As more is learned about the skeleton, it cannot be matched up with any missing persons reports of the estimated time of burial. The woman it belonged to was murdered, but that is the only certainty. The property where her remains were found is where the old Nichols house once stood. It was demoed about ten years ago after the last owner died and the heirs emptied it.

As talks of striking escalate and adjuncts are deciding whether to cross a picket line to teach their own classes, fellow adjunct and friend Charles Peyton asked Georgia about the skeleton. He believes the young woman was someone he met when he was squatting at the old house ten years ago; she disappeared without a trace after they learned the home would be torn down. He can’t go to the police, as he was the only person who was with her for the month they were in the house together. Why was Charles squatting in the vacant house and Georgia and her daughter living with her parents? That is how poorly most adjuncts are paid, and they lack any bennies like paid time off or health insurance.

The characters are charming with few exceptions and three-dimensional. Georgia and Sid are my favorites, and the dapper Charles has also become a favorite. Seeing Charles grieve the loss of the woman from the past – the young woman he called Rose – was heartbreaking, especially since Georgia never heard of him dating anyone.

This cold case is quite the challenge to solve, especially since Charles never knew Rose’s real name. He knew only that she was afraid of someone and hiding. Solving this takes Georgia back to Fenton’s, where she runs into a fellow adjunct she had dated briefly not long ago, Dr. Brownie Mannix, and to Deborah, who was called into the Nichols house as a locksmith to get into many of the antique locks and lockboxes. It even leads to Bostock, from where students and custodians and helped clean out the old home and take antiques to the museum on campus. Sid and Georgia are stymied, which rarely occurs. The strikers, threatening violence, are out on campus, and Brownie disappears. The end is full of surprises and bad guys that I could not have anticipated! I highly recommend this hard-to-solve cozy mystery, and the series! It is the best, and most compelling one to date!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught!
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Dr. Georgia Thackery is back at home with her parents after finding a new adjunct position at Bostock College. Everyone is excited for their first family Christmas with nothing to hide. Why? Because Georgia’s daughter Madison is now in the know about Sid, their walking, talking family skeleton.

But their Christmas cheer is interrupted when the Thackerys' dog Byron goes missing on a cold December night. When he’s finally found, he has a femur clutched between his jaws, and Georgia and Madison race to apologize to Sid for letting the dog gnaw on him yet again.

Except that all of Sid’s bones are present and accounted for. 

This bone is from somebody else, and when they trace Byron’s trail to an overgrown lot nearby, they find the rest of the skeleton. It’s the normal kind, not moving or telling jokes, and when the police come to take charge, they’re sure it was murder.

And one of Georgia’s adjunct friends could be implicated.

With tensions stirring at the college and everyone hiding a secret or two, Sid and Georgia must uncover the truth before the ghost of a Christmas past strikes again.
Amazon.com

Leigh Perry is a pseudonym for Toni L. P. Kelner, who wrote the “Where Are They Now” and Laura Fleming Southern mystery series. She’s won many awards and co-authored numerous anthologies with Charlaine Harris. No wonder she’s now writing a cozy paranormal series, The Family Skeleton mysteries. I’m a big fan of this subgenre. 

Georgia Thackery is an adjunct college professor whose best friend is a living skeleton, Sid. The mysteries Georgia and Sid solve often occur at the colleges where Georgia teaches. Because she’s an adjunct professor, she often moves each new semester to a different college, and with a few exceptions, her colleagues change. The recurring secondary characters are Georgia’s family—her high-school-age daughter, Madison, Madison’s dog, Byron, Georgia’s sister, Deborah, and their parents, tenured college professors. 
   
The series is well-crafted, fun to read, and gives insight into the Thackery’s lives in academia. The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking is the sixth book in this series and ends with what I consider a Christmas gift to readers. I’ll say no more.

Please welcome, Toni/Leigh to WWK.					                     E. B. Davis 

Did you start your career as a college professor? On the tenure track or adjunct? I’m really flattered that you asked this, but no, I’ve never been a college professor of any description. I know a lot of academics, and the background in these books comes from a combination of speaking to those friends and online research.  

I didn’t know that college professors had unions, like public school teachers do. I’ve never heard of strikes on college campuses. Is this more common than I know? Are the unions only at public colleges? It varies a lot. Some schools have them, some don’t. There was a recent strike to allow a union of grad students, and there are adjunct unions in some places, but not all. In other words, it’s a perfect situation for a mystery writer because I can make the internal reality match my plot.

Sid’s vitality and life itself hinges on how others need him, his interests, and if he fulfills a function, especially in Georgia’s life. Is this unique to living skeletons or are regular people dependent on the same things? I think so. I’m reminded of all those people who retire, and don’t feel they have reason to get up in the morning. Or, in my case, an empty-nester whose day is suddenly much emptier. (Don’t worry—I’m managing to fill in the gaps.)

Even though Georgia considers Sid her best friend, what sacrifices has she made to keep Sid in her life? It was probably harder when she was a young girl, when she had to keep Sid’s existence a secret. Secrecy is wearing on a person, and she probably hated that she couldn’t take her bestie out shopping or to parties with her. (She had other more typical friends, but they haven’t been mentioned in the books yet.) As an adult, she has to be a little more careful about people she lets into her life, but I don’t think she considers it a sacrifice. The way I think of it is this. I’m hard of hearing, and because of that, my husband has to make adaptations when speaking, and he’s used to repeating things I might not have heard. It can be annoying, but it’s worth it for the benefits of the relationship. (Since we’ve been married 31 years, I think I’m safe in saying that he doesn’t mind too much.)

Sid lives in the same house with Georgia’s professor parents and they’re aware of Sid, but they don’t seem to have a relationship with him. Why not? Phil and Dab are busy academics, and have grad students coming in and out of the house. While Georgia could sneak off to spend time with Sid, her parents just didn’t have the time. Then Madison came along, and Sid sequestered himself, and when Georgia moved out, he got used to being alone in the attic. It was complicated by the fact that Deborah, Georgia’s sister, didn’t want to interact with Sid for a long time. Families fall into odd habits sometimes.

Do Sid and Georgia fight? Not often, but sure they get cranky at one another in the books now and then. You spend enough time with anybody, you’re going to snap sometimes. 

I’m surprised that Georgia kept Sid a secret from her daughter, Madison, until she was in high school. Georgia met Sid when she was a child. Why and how did she hide Sid from Madison? That was Sid’s decision, not Georgia’s. Part of the reason is a plot reveal in the first book, so I won’t go into details, but part of it was the worry that a small child wouldn’t be able to keep the secret of Sid’s existence. The how was easy. Georgia and Madison moved out of the Thackery house when Madison was very young, so Sid only had to make himself scarce during visits. Why would Madison go into the Thackery attic? 

I’m also surprised that Sid has no recollections of his life as a person. Did he have a rebirth? Why isn’t he more curious about who he was? His first memory is of waking up as a skeleton, and even if he had been curious, he wouldn’t have known where to start looking for more information. There’s also some denial going on. If he thinks about his past existence, he’ll start thinking about how he went from living-breathing person to semi-living-skeleton. That’s an uncomfortable thing to think about. It just didn’t come up, and by the time the books start, Sid had been dead longer than he was alive.

How does Sid contribute to cases when he can’t be known by others? Sid is great at brain-storming, despite the lack of a brain, and he usually handles the computer stuff and paperwork as needed. Plus, he can make phone calls and send emails. Where he excels is surveillance, because he only needs his skull and a hand to watch and report suspicious activities. There have even been rare times when he’s supplied the muscle. So to speak. 

In The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking, Sid doesn’t seem interested in the case when a skeleton is found in the neighborhood even after Georgia finds out it is a case of murder. Is he sandbagging Georgia or is he absorbed in Christmas? A little of both. He doesn’t see a way for them to get into the case at first, and he is excited about Christmas. But he’s also making the point that Georgia always defers to him in getting involved—he wants to make sure she enjoys their investigations as much as he does.

Charles, a fellow adjunct and friend, confesses that he knows the identity of the victim. Wasn’t he aware of the missing-person investigation into her disappearance? The missing-person investigation took place in a different town, and for reasons explained in the book, weren’t particularly vigorous. So no, he never knew. 

Do you think there are as many helicopter parents as there are those who neglect their kids? I think helicopter parents are more obvious—they’re louder. Neglect can be silent and harder to detect. 

Georgia is an English professor. Her sister, Deborah, is a locksmith. How can they be so different? I’m a former tech writer who writes mysteries. One of my sisters is a fulltime home caregiver, and another is a retired teacher’s aid. The third’s last job was a cashier at a package store. I’m used to sisters being wildly different.

Why does Deborah only tolerate Sid? Was she jealous? Deborah has always been more rooted in what she considered the real world rather than her parent’s ivory tower or her little sister’s imaginary adventures. Sid just didn’t fit into her worldview. Plus, as a child, she probably was a little jealous. As she got older, she was worried Sid was holding Georgia back in life.

Who is Art Taylor? Did the real Art Taylor, the award-winning mystery writer, lend his name to the book? Yes, I shamelessly borrowed Art’s name. It was late and I couldn’t come up with a name when I needed one. I did ask him, and if he hadn’t approved, I’d have changed it. 

When a connection is found between the victim and the Fenton’s circus where Georgia found Sid, it necessitates a visit to the owners of the circus, who happen to be the parents of her old flame, Brownie. Why did Georgia and Brownie stop dating? To be technical, it’s a carnival, not a circus. (Many circuses have a few carnival rides, and many carnivals include a performance or two, so it can be confusing.) The reason Georgia and Brownie quit dating is a little bit of a spoiler, but basically it came down to a miscommunication.

Do carnies have their own vocabulary? Absolutely! I’ve read that modern carnies don’t use as much of the slang as they did in years past, but it’s still fun stuff. So I created a character who is a longtime carnie and who likes trolling on people to give me a reason to use it.

What’s next for Georgia and Sid? I should start thinking about that. A wedding? Another mystery from Sid’s past? Something involving Deborah? A live-action role-playing camp with Madison taking part? Plenty of ideas, but I’m just not sure yet. I can pretty much guarantee there will be bone puns.
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The book’s underlying idea of a skeleton, Sid, who moves and communicates and who lives incognito (except to the family) in Dr. Georgia Thackery’s parents’ house is interesting, though pretty far-fetched, though the author manages to pull it off rather well.  In this book, the family is getting ready to celebrate Christmas, made easier this year by the fact that Georgia’s teen-aged daughter Madison is now read into who and what Sid is. Christmas festivities and joy are interrupted when Madison’s dog Byron finds a missing human bone in the neighborhood.  At first, both Madison and her mother are concerned the bone belongs to Sid, who will not be happy Byron took it, but upon looking closer, they find it is not Sid’s bone and belongs to a dead human. Along with law enforcement, they find the skeleton, which, unlike Sid, is that of just an ordinary dead person, not like Sid. Georgia, as well as the whole family, to include Georgia’s on-and-off-again boyfriend, Brownie, set off to find the murderer, naturally with the help of Sid.

The idea of a skeleton that walks and communicates is different, and not something I have seen before.  However, as I said, found this whole idea a bit far-fetched, though well done by the author. The book was an easy, smooth read.  The characters were well enough developed and the story/mystery well enough done, with lots of good-natured humor thrown in for good measure.  I have not read the other books in the story, but that fact did not detract from my reading or enjoyment of this one. I guess it is now time to go look for the other books in the series. I received this from NetGalley to read and review.
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Well written. A great read! I enjoyed reading this book and would definately buy other works from this author. The story and complex enough to grab my attention and hold it. Thanks to netgalley, the author and the publisher for allowing me an advance copy of this book to review.
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I love, love, love this series!  Sid the skeleton has more personality than than some books' characters have all together!  The murder mystery is great, and the family is one that I wish I could meet (Sid included).  I highly recommend this entire series!
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What's not to love about a cuddly, bony skeleton who lives in the attic and solves murders in his spare time...which he has a lot of since he doesn't sleep. Georgia found Sid or rather Sid rescued Georgia when she was a little girl and he has lived with her ever since. Definitely go back and read these books from the beginning as there is so much history covered between these two you don't want to miss. If you don't mind laughing out loud cause you will, then I highly recommend this book and this series. Plus, the endings always have a heart-warming surprise as well! I am on my tippy-toe bones waiting for the next one to come out.
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Another enjoyable installment in this fun series. Despite the preposterous premise, the reader quickly accepts and loves Sid. Even my 94 year old father enjoys this series.
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The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking: A Family Skeleton Mystery is the 6th book in the family skeleton series by Leigh Perry. Due out 15th Oct 2019 from Diversion Books, it's 280 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook format (ebook available now).

This is such a fun cozy light paranormal series. Really the only paranormal element is the (never really explained) articulated, walking, talking, skeleton who is a formerly-living person and a member of the main character's family. He's the not-so-silent partner helping protagonist Georgia solve yet another bunch of intertwined mysteries in time for a sweet holiday denouement that had me kinda sniffly.

The secondary characters are well developed and the dialogue is well written and snappy (if a bit heavy on the puns, which doesn't bother me). The language is clean (even mild cursing is substituted with anatomical references like patella, coccyx, vertebra, etc) and the romance content is very mild and sweet in context.

Readers familiar with the series will find another fun outing for Sid and company. For readers new to the series, be prepared to invest a hearty dose of suspension of disbelief (one of the main characters is a talking skeleton) but once you get past the 'door', it's a really fun cozy with mostly likable characters and Sid's a hoot. There is enough backstory woven into this one that it does work as a standalone, however the series is such fun overall that I recommend reading them in order. I think this one is my favorite so far in the series.

Four stars
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When Dr. Georgia Thackery’s dog, Byron, gets out one afternoon, and when she and her daughter Madison find him again, he is clutching a bone.  Naturally, the two assume it is part of Sid, and they race home to apologize to their friend.  However, all of Sid’s bones are present and accounted for, so they get the police involved.  It turns out that Byron has found part of a normal skeleton (you know, not walking and talking), and the police are able to determine that the skeleton was murdered.  The police have no leads on who the skeleton might have been in life, but Georgia’s friend and fellow adjunct, Charles, approaches her.  He thinks he might know the victim, but the only way to give the police that information might lead the police directly to Charles.  And so Georgia jumps into action again, with Sid doing his best to research the case on the internet.  Was the victim Charles’s friend?  If so, who killed her?

If you are new to the series, you might be a bit lost.  You see, Sid is a walking, talking skeleton and Georgia’s best friend.  That’s the only paranormal element to the series, and it is done is a realistic manner, which makes it feel very natural.  The characters, including Sid, are very strong, which certainly helps make it all seem real.  The plot, while not a traditional cozy mystery plot, is very strong with plenty of twists and surprises along the way to the climax.  In fact, I liked the fact that it was something different plot wise, and it certainly kept me engaged the entire time.  I did think that Christmas aspect could have been stronger, but that’s my only complaint and a very small one at that.  As a lover of puns, I absolutely loved the puns and other humor in the book.  If you are just now meeting Sid, you are in for a treat.  If you are already a fan, you’ll love this newest visit with him.
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This is the 5th in a series but my first. It's a pretty wild concept.....a crime-solving skeleton named Sid but it works and now I love Sid! This holiday themed murder mystery was just a joy to read and so well written. I have already gone out and purchased books 1-4 and can't wait to read them and see how Sid got his start. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced readers copy for review.
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