Cinnamon Peters runs Cinnamon’s Pies in her hometown of Christmas River, Oregon, where every day is … well, it’s not hard to finish that sentence. Down the street is Ornate Ornaments, owned by Cinnamon’s best friend, Kara, and the town welcome sign reads “Where the Christmas Spirit Never Dies.” It’s a lively town, and someone’s always turning up dead.
Murder in Christmas River￼
While feeding a stray dog on her shop’s back stoop, Cinnamon Peter encounters a drunk, attractive stranger … who turns out to be her high school crush, Daniel Brightman, now a former police lieutenant from Fresno, California. However, Cinnamon doesn’t have time to deal with him, because the dog she’s feeding – she named him Huckleberry – leads her to the body of his master frozen in the snow. Turns out the corpse is Mason Barstow, one of the annual Gingerbread Junction judges.
Sheriff Trumbow, an exceptionally lazy law enforcement officer, considers Cinnamon his only suspect simply because she found his body behind her shop. A TV news crew is present for the competition, and Trumbow tries to burnish his image by arresting the pie lady on camera, but loyal Huckleberry, who’s been adopted by Daniel, reveals the identity of the murderer right in front of the cameras for the world to witness.
Mayhem in Christmas River
It’s Christmas in July in Christmas River, and the festivities reach such a fever pitch some tourists actually believe it’s December 25. Helping perpetuate that myth is Cinnamon, who’s been drafted to play Mrs. Claus in the annual play, and where she’s in rehearsal when Kara’s shop, Ornate Ornaments, goes up in flames.
Daniel has decided to run for sheriff to replace Trumbow, who was demoted in the wake of the Gingerbread Junction debacle, and knows what kind of relationship he wants with Cinnamon. However, her heart is too frightened to agree. In the meantime, a friend of Daniel’s from Fresno, Stephanie Calder, has come to Christmas River looking for her younger brother and seeking Daniel’s help. Then another business, Valley Corson’s floral shop, billows smoke and fire, and Daniel acknowledges an arsonist is on the loose. Turns out the criminal is hiding in plain sight, but will Daniel figure it out in time to save another business – and its proprietor – from the flames?
And just how will Cinnamon answer Daniel’s question?
Madness in Christmas River
Cinnamon is preparing for her December wedding when her Aunt Marie, who’s really just a friend of Cin’s late mother, breezes into town without notice, as is her habit. So does Sully Coe, a former sheriff who now enjoys life in Puerto Rico.
Marie usually says goodbye when she leaves, but this time she just vanishes, worrying her devoted niece. Deputy McHale is also acting even more reserved than usual, positively exuding icicles.
Daniel is called back to Fresno to help with an investigation, leaving Cinnamon to deal with Marie’s sudden disappearance, Deputy McHale’s strange behavior, and a masked man shattering her windshield with a fearless threat. Will she find Marie, decipher McHale’s oddities, and find out who destroyed an essential part of her wedding? Will she and Daniel even make it to the altar?