Homicide for the Holidays
According to studies, you are more likely to die on Christmas than on any other holiday, with New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving falling right behind. Researchers believe it’s the stress of the day along with the winter weather in many parts of the United States.According to the number of holiday cozy mysteries released this year, I’d say the researchers were spot-on in their calculations.What is it about the ho-ho-holidays that makes writers turn to murder? Too much sugar? Cookie dough defense? Hearing one too many versions of “Jingle Bells,” including the one with the barking dogs? Auditory attack defense? Or does the PTA’s “Christmas Around the World” school production, with real llamas playing the parts of the wise men’s camels, and a request for ten dozen cookies send the normally placid homemaker over the edge?The holidays have traditionally been a time of reflection. It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of a man who believes he’s made too many mistakes to be redeemed, that the world would be better off without him. The story leads the watcher and George through his life, letting him know the effect that even a small event has on the world around us. By the end, George has regained his positive outlook on life and the angel helping has earned his wings.
Another dark, searching holiday movie that I adore is One Magic Christmas. This tells the story of Ginny, a wife and mother, who has gone through some hard times. Gideon, an angel, makes plans to teach her how much worse her life could be. Instead of having an unemployed husband, hers is shot and killed during a bank robbery, which Ginny could have avoided, then the kids are kidnapped. When they are returned to the house, Ginny still doesn’t believe in miracles so the little girl is whisked away to the North Pole so Santa can give her the one piece of evidence that might change the mom’s mind.
Santa, angels, and questioning humans—both of these stories speak to me about the direction of a person’s life and our need to believe in something more than just the daily grind.
This holiday season, I’ll be taking a break from normal life as I recuperate from surgery. My plan is to take time to reflect on the season as well as write a new mystery. I hope I won’t need a visit from a heavenly advisor to lead me down the right path, but if it happens, you know I’ll be writing about it.
USA Today and New York Times best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you visited the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus on the depth and experience of small-town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi River where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.