“Even through his coat, he could feel her heat.”
Holly Cavanaugh is living with her grandparents and helping them run the local bed and breakfast out of their home. The business isn’t much of a success and she is relying upon a write-up in a celebrated magazine to drum up some much needed business. Without it, Holly and her grandparents will lose their home. When a mishap with her grandfather leaves their Christmas tree dead, Holly has to go out and get a new tree at the last minute. She manages to get it all the way home before discovering there is a dead guy tucked into the upper branches. Nothing can stop the hotel from getting a good review, so Holly decides to delay telling the police about the body until the press interview goes off without a hitch.
Zach Wexler is a reporter on the trail of a hot story. Jewel thieves have been spotted in the area and have taken a particular in a Christmas tree; the same tree which has already been bought and delivered to a quaint B&B on the outskirts of town. Zach is determined to investigate and possibly save the people who bought the tree from dangerous jewel thieves who are after them for whatever they have stashed in the tree.
Audible and Harlequin got together and made And A Dead Guy In A Pear Tree, by Leslie Kelly available as a free download to its members, and out of nostalgia I thought I would give it a listen while I caught up on some housekeeping. Even though a lot of my family was never big on reading it seemed that I could always count on finding a Harlequin romance around if I ran out of reading material of my own. I haven’t read anything a Harlequin in years. So with curiosity and a freebie prompting me, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane.
There’s not much here, but it’s a cute story. As it turns out Holly and Zach used to date and, of course, things ended badly. She found out that he cheated on her and too late he realized that she was the proverbial “one that got away”. Holly has nursed the hurt of Zach’s actions over the years, and even though she has moved on to other relationships she still has lingering doubts about herself as a result of what happened between them years ago. While Zach thinks this is the perfect opportunity to both protect her from danger and possibly revisit their old relationship, Holly has something to prove and is determined to keep Zach out of her life at all costs.
I can’t say that there is much in the way of character development or depth of writing. After Zach and Holly broke up in college, they both moved on with their lives and only scant attention is paid to what they have been doing in the meanwhile. The plot is simple and revolves around solving the mystery of the dead guy in the Christmas tree and the will-they-or-won’t-they of whether they will be able to resolve their differences from the past and begin a new relationship or at least become friends. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed reading this as much as I was amused by listening to the narrator read the way over the top dialogue, narrative, and light “love scenes”; but it was pleasant diversion that required little from me as I was doing some chores that were frankly a bit more fun in light of my listening material. That being said, it definitely satisfied my curiosity, and I can’t say that I’ll be running out to pick up another Harlequin anytime soon.
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Have you recently re-visited a genre which you had long abandoned? What did you think? Was it better or worse than you imagined?