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Sugarplums and Scandal [Kindle Edition]

Dana Cameron , Mary Daheim , Lori Avocato , Kerrelyn Sparks , Suzanne Macpherson , Cait London
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL brings together the best of romance and mystery in one delightful collection of Christmas tales. In the expert hands of six of Avon's best storytellers, the holiday season takes on an air of love and scandalous surprises! Filled with Christmas miracles, romance, and suspense, this will make the perfect gift for both romance and mystery fans. Each author brings their own unique voice and characters to the collection, as well as their fan followings.

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth – Lori Avocato

The Lords of Misrule – Dana Cameron

The Ghost of Christmas Passed – Mary Daheim

Partners in Crime – Cait London

Holly Go Lightly – Suzanne Macpherson

A Very Vampy Christmas – Kerrelyn Sparks

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Product Description


"Sugarplums and Scandal" brings together the best of romance and mystery in one delightful collection of Christmas tales. In the expert hands of six of Avon's best storytellers, the holiday season takes on an air of love and scandalous surprises! Filled with Christmas miracles, romance, and suspense, this will make the perfect gift for both romance and mystery fans. Each author brings his or her own voice and characters to the collection, as well as their fan followings. It features: "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" by Lori Avocato; "The Lords of Misrule" by Dana Cameron; "The Ghost of Christmas Passed" by Mary Daheim; "Partners in Crime" by Cait London; "Holly Go Lightly" by Suzanne Macpherson; and, "A Very Vampy Christmas" by Kerrelyn Sparks.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Alessi Lover TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Six short tales by different writers that are a mix of both romance and mystery so something for all females.

Worth downloading for a stocking filler as some of the tales have a wintry Christmas feel to them, especially the one with the mistletoe. Nice to have a short collection of stories that are readable and enjoyable, sometimes you can get a book and only one holds any appeal but these with me all did.

None are too long or too short, just a nice mix of stories to pass some time with.

As for the price a little on the high side at near to seven pounds, worth waiting until it is on offer at the Kindle store. I did and got it for free, as good but not that good to warrant spending more than a couple of pounds on tops.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure slush 20 Feb. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sit by the fire on a winters day . Make a hot mug of chocolate,add a few marshmellows. Start reading. No blood,no violence or gore. not unless you count the ghost. Just a happy fun read for a cold night. Enjoy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sugarplums and scandal 10 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book of different stories from different era's, the last being a vampire book. Not sure if I would recommend this
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good book 13 Aug. 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, it was not as good as some I have read. But worth a read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More like 4 1/2 stars! 18 Dec. 2006
By Deborah Wiley - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Christmas is a time of cheer, but when six talented authors put their spin on it, SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL ensue!

Lori Avocato opens this anthology with "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth". Pauline Sokol specializes in investigating medical fraud so of course she takes up her mother's challenge when she reads about poor Lenny Niski and his dentures in their newspaper. Humor and mayhem follow when Pauline goes undercover at the office of dentist Dr. Elfin Santana.

"All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" is a phenomenally quirky story. The various names of the characters at the dental office are quite a hoot. Lori Avocato's gift at incorporating humor into a storyline is very apparent and readers will want to go on further investigations with the spunky Pauline after reading this story!

Dana Cameron's "The Lords of Misrule" is a Christmas mystery set in the 1700s. The Chase family is preparing for a fabulous Christmas when Mr. Chase's gift of jewelry for his wife is discovered missing. This theft is quickly followed by a death. Margaret and her brother, Tommy, seek to uncover the perpetrator in this Christmas tale.

"The Lords of Misrule" is a superb tale of intrigue. Dana Cameron draws the readers into this cozy story while carefully revealing layers of suspense. The touch of romance provides a sweetness to the story while the mystery keeps the reader guessing as to who is behind these incidents.

Mary Daheim's "The Ghost of Christmas Passed" is a Christmas gathering featuring Judith Flynn and Renie. Both share some old family photos with Judith's mother as they uncover the mystery of what happened to Uncle Bart.

What a confusing overload of characters! Fans of the series will probably recognize most of the characters and enjoy this Christmas reunion but those new to the series will have difficulty keeping the various people and their relationships straight. Mary Daheim generally writes a phenomenal cozy mystery but "The Ghost of Christmas Passed" will appeal more to those readers who are already familiar with this particular series.

"Partners in Crime" by Cait London is a charming tale of misadventure. Cecilia Lattimore knows someone is out to get her when she finds her organized home in clever disarray- nothing obvious but little things taken out of the neat order she keeps in her life. She suspects the police chief so when she meets Joe Berenger as he rescues her from three men, she agrees to utilize him as a bodyguard. Who is at the root of this Christmas mayhem?

Cait London has crafted a very clever tale with "Partners in Crime". Cecilia is an endearing character with her quirk of organizing everything. Berenger's gruffness is the perfect contrast to the always in control and neatly structured Cecilia. The inclusion of Cecilia's annoying ex-fiancé and ex-husband add a touch of humor to the plotline although readers will want to smack both of them for their overbearing comments to Cecilia. Cait London successfully wraps this tale up with a satisfying conclusion that left this reviewer cheering!

"Holly Go Lightly" by Suzanne Macpherson is a ghostly tale of Christmas joy. Nick Fredricks is about to make a huge mistake by marrying the uptight Gwen. His deceased ex-fiancée, Holly Townsend, hopes to change his mind and has a surprise in store for him.

Suzanne Macpherson's heartwarming tale is literally about the Christmas spirit! Holly's hijinks as she tries to reach out to Nick are hilarious and the cat, Jingles, deserves recognition for his antics as well. Suzanne Macpherson has a gift for the absurd and her characterization of Holly truly showcases this. "Holly Go Lightly" is a tale readers will enjoy.

"A Very Vampy Christmas" by Kerrelyn Sparks focuses on the star vampire of the hit vampire show, Don Orlando. Maggie O'Brian is horrified by Don's womanizing ways as it has completely ruined the appeal of costarring with him on the Digital Vampire Network soap opera, As A Vampire Turns. Maggie discovers that Don's bluster hides a secret and she plans to help him uncover a mystery.

Kerrelyn Sparks writes a phenomenal vampire story! "A Very Vampy Christmas" is no exception as the humorous interaction between Maggie and Don Orlando will keep the reader laughing while the growing romance between them is sweetly sensual. Ms. Sparks has a definite eye for detail and it is the little things that she includes that really make her vampire stories work. "A Very Vampy Christmas" concludes this anthology with a bang and should generate new fans for Ms. Sparks with this spectacular story.

SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL certainly has something to please just about everyone. From the supernatural to the mysterious, SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL provides moments of hilarity interspersed with intrigue. Six talented authors showcase their writing talent in this very enjoyable Christmas anthology!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Serviceable Collection 10 July 2011
By Karen Keyte - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This collection includes six short mystery stories set around the holidays. Most of them also have at least a hint of romance and you'll even come across a Christmas miracle or two. None of the selections are earth-shattering but, as with all anthologies, they give you an introduction to authors you may never have read otherwise, which is why I like to use collections like this one as a way to `test drive' for writers whose works I've been thinking about reading. Overall, this is a passable group of stories, but one you would probably be just as happy getting from the library as buying.

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, Lori Avocato (3 stars)
Medical Insurance Fraud Investigator Pauline Sokol, with a little help from the sexy Jagger, decides to do a good deed and help poor Leonard Niski get his bridge work back in time to chow down on some Christmas ham. However, when Pauline starts looking into the jolly dentist, Dr. Elfin Santana, she finds things are way more complicated than she expected. Has she bitten off more than she can chew? (Sorry, I can never resist a truly horrible pun.)

The Lords of Misrule, Dana Cameron (4 stars)
In Dana Cameron's contribution, Miss Margaret Chase helps to solve a Christmas Eve crime involving theft and murder - with a little help from her brother and his enigmatic friend. Set in 1722, The Lords of Misrule is a classic English manor house mystery and was my favorite in this collection. The mystery was well plotted, the characters intriguing and the historical setting warm and inviting.

The Ghost of Christmas Passed, Mary Daheim (2 stars)
Mary Daheim delivers a Christmas miracle, of sorts, in The Ghost of Christmas Passed. When amateur sleuth and innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn gathers her boisterous extended family together for their traditional Christmas Eve celebration, conversation turns to her mother's brother Bart, who disappeared many years ago. As Judith learns more about her mysterious Uncle, it seems like his spirit may be looking for a way to join the family gathering. This story was a bit confusing for me. I felt like I would have appreciated more if I had read some of the books in Ms. Daheim's series featuring Judith.

Partners in Crime, Cait London (3 stars)
I liked this story, but I would have liked it more if it had been longer. It felt like bits and pieces (and not inconsequential pieces) had been cut out of a longer story to make it the right size for this collection. Cecilia Lattimore gets a little holiday help from an unexpected source in this story by Cait London. A professional organizer, Cecilia's being threatened by someone who's breaking into her house and throwing her things into disarray. When a homeless man comes to her aid, Cecilia decides to organize his life as a way to say thank you, but Joe Berenger isn't quite as down on his luck as he has led Cecilia to believe.

Holly Go Lightly, Suzanne MacPherson (2 stars)
In Suzanne MacPherson's story, Nick Fredericks can't seem to get his dead ex-fianceé off of his mind. After spending all of Christmas Eve thinking about Holly, Nick finally realizes her spirit is trying to tell him something important. When Holly's ghost leads him to a seaside bungalow early Christmas morning, Nick discovers true Christmas Joy. This story was sweet, but not very believable, and I'm not talking about the ghost here. The way Nick and everyone in his family takes the presence of Holly's spirit so calmly didn't ring true for me, nor did the events in Carmel after Nick's arrival.

A Very Vampy Christmas, Kerrelynn Sparks (2 stars)
In this campy, funny tale a newly made vampire suffering from amnesia gets help from his fangy soap-opera co-star when he goes searching for his lost past. The story is well- written, and the ending is satisfying, but all in all, it was a little bit cheesy. And not in the laugh-out-loud-meant-to-be-cheesy kind of way the author was aiming for (at least, I think she was). Just, you know, cheesy.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun reading that combines Christmas with romance and mystery 27 Nov. 2006
By Armchair Interviews - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This delightful compilation of six short stories by some great authors will be sure to get you in a holiday mood.

Lori Avocato's Pauline Sokol takes on a possible medical insurance scam involving a dentist, Elfin Santana, who has taken the money for dentures for an elderly man, but who has not provided them. Sokol takes a job as receptionist in the dental office for the holidays, and think she may be uncovering a conspiracy, even as she begins to really like the sweet dentist who goes overboard at Christmas. Her investigative assistant, Jagger, is a welcome distraction.

Dana Cameron entertains us with a tale sent in the 1700s, featuring a bright young miss who hides her reading from her family--and is the main reason the missing jewels and the servant's murderer are discovered.

Judith Flynn and her mother are dealing with the long-kept secret family scandal involving her missing Uncle Bart, during a huge family party in Mary Daheim's The Ghost of Christmas Passed.

Cait London writes about organizer Cecelia Lattimer in the small Missouri town of Dewdrop in Partners in Crime. Cecelia and her new friend Berenger (really a friend of the Dewdrop's chief of police in town to help solve a rash of home break-ins) solve the mystery of the thefts and discover each other.

Suzanne Macpherson's Holly Go Lightly is the touching story of Holly, killed in a car accident, who hauntingly returns to prevent her ex-fiancee (they broke up on Christmas Eve!) from making a terrible choice in a new wife, and to direct him to a special treasure.

A Very Vampy Christmas is Kerrelyn Sparks's cherry on the top of this confection of a book--a love story of vampires in a hospital soap opera.

Armchair Interviews says: Fun short stories "for the season."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sugarplums and Scandal 7 Aug. 2007
By S. Johnson - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback

When Pauline Sokol reads an article in the news paper about an elderly gentleman, Mr. Niski, getting swindled out of his dentures, so she sets out to investigate. Her friend Jagger volunteers himself to help out. Can Pauline concentrate on the investigation while watching the hunky Jagger? Things go from bad to worse, and she is thrown into the dentist's office as a receptionist. She's baffled at how relaxed Dr Santana's patients are. If he really defrauded his patients why would they keep coming back? Can she get to the bottom of the mystery and have a Merry Christmas or will this be a Christmas she never forgets?

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH had me laughing and sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. Though I have never read any of Lori Avocato's books, after reading this one I will be looking for more.


Christmas turns out to be more than Margaret Chase and her family hopes for. Her brother Tommy brings home a friend, Mr. Chandler, and her father brings home a few friends from around town. When Mr. Chase gives his wife her birthday gift he finds out that someone stole the jewels and replaced them with rocks. Unsure of who stole them, they decide to leave it for the next day, but before they can get settled in their beds there's a scream. Simon, the footman, is found dead. Are the missing jewels and the murder connected? Can Margaret, Tommy and Mr. Chandler eliminate each guest as the thief and murderer in time or will the murderer strike again?

THE LORDS OF MISRULE is a great story. It reminds me of a game I used to play as a child. I devoured each page anxiously waiting to see who did it, and to see if the spark between Margaret and Mr. Chandler would turn into something more.


Judith and Joe Flynn host the annual Hoffman family Christmas get together. In the rush to get everything ready, a stranger is spotted. Judith's mother Gertrude believes it to be her long-lost brother's ghost. Judith and her cousin Renie learn more about their family as the day passes, including their missing Uncle Bart. With the holiday hubbub going on around them, they soon forget about the ghost. When the rest of the relatives show up, including Santa, and the festivities have started the ghost reappears. Is he from Christmas passed or is he someone else?

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PASSED is unlike any story I have ever read before. While reading this story I started to miss my own family, and the Christmas's that we used to have. THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PASSED gives hope of finding long lost relatives.


Cecilia Lattimer is being terrorized and she refuses to go to the police. She thinks it's the police chief who is after her, only because she caught him with his mistress and doesn't want his very pregnant wife to find out. On her way to a meeting she is cornered by three men who intend to harm her. But just in the nick of time a man shows up and scares off the thugs. She finds out his name and assumes he's a homeless man. He seems to follow her everywhere she goes and has even gone as far as to park his camper and truck in her drive way. She thinks he is working for the police chief and is stalking her, waiting for the right time to do away with her. She decides to do something about the disorganization in Joe's camper and tries to find something that puts him and Chief Monroe together in cahoots. But as she is cleaning she remembers something. Is it enough to clear her name as the robber?

Joe Berenger is in town because his cousin Monroe wanted him here to help solve the mysterious robber case. Along the way he's fallen for the over-organized Cecilia. Can he keep her safe from the clutches of a madman? Will she still want him when she learns who he really is?

I love PARTNERS IN CRIME. Cecilia came to life on the pages of the book. I wish I had a bit more of Cecilia's organization skills in me. Cait London is another author I shall be adding to my list for when I head to the big city.

HOLLY GO LIGHTLY - Suzanne Macpherson

Holly Townsend needs to get her ex-fiancé to open his eyes and see his new fiancé in her true form. She knows if he marries her he will always be unhappy and regret it for the rest of his life. Plus she has to get him to go to her best friend Carol's home. Only one problem stands in the way, Holly is a ghost and she has only one night to accomplish what she needs done. With the help of the cat, a little truth serum and the powers up above, can she get Nick to understand why he has to do what she needs him to? Can he get to Carol's in time or will all be lost for good? When Nick figures out that his ex-fiancé is actually haunting him, he figures he had better do what she wants or he will never have any peace. What he finds at Carol's shocks him, in more ways that one.

HOLLY GO LIGHTLY is a wonderful story. I laughed through most of it and just imagined the ghosts where I work haunting me, in the way Holly haunted Nick. And I cried through a few pages. Suzanne Macpherson did a wonderful job of describing each scene. I felt as if I were in the rooms watching the characters act out their perfectly written parts.


Maggie O'Brian is a vampire soap opera star. She is in lust with her leading man, Don Orlando, but she hides her feelings from him because she believes that he is a womanizer. When certain things come to light, she learns Don has amnesia, and doesn't remember anything but the past four years of his life. She promises to help him find out about himself. The more she learns about him and his past life; the more she falls in love with him. How does his newly found family react to him being a vampire? How do Don and Maggie react to Don's family secrets?

I loved reading A VERY VAMPY CHRISTMAS. It was enlightening; it shows how we should embrace everything in our world no matter how different it is from us or what we are used to. A rumour almost kept two soul mates apart, but because one opened their heart instead of listening to everything around them they figured out the rumours were just lies.

SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL is the perfect read for someone who doesn't' have a lot of time. Each story was perfectly put together. Filled with mysteries and secrets, I say this is the perfect book for readers who enjoy stories with suspense and romance. Thank you to each of the authors for writing such a sensational, out of the ordinary book.

Reviewer for Romance Junkies
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Acclaimed Mystery Writers + Three Talented Romance Authors = Six Heartwarming Tales for the Holidays 22 Nov. 2006
By Sharon F. - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this terrific new anthology, Avon brings together the best of both worlds to give readers their share of mystery and romance--all full of holiday cheer, of course.

Medical insurance investigator Pauline Sokol stars in Lori Avocato's "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth." In the course of investigating a Christmas-addicted dentist accused of defrauding a lonely senior out of his dentures, she finds that things are not always as they seem.

In "The Lords of Misrule," Dana Cameron, author of the popular Emma Fielding mysteries, takes us to early eighteenth-century England. This intelligent, atmospheric tale features Margaret Chase, a smart young woman forced to apply her problem-solving abilities within the confines of gentle society when a treasure of gems is stolen from her father on Christmas Eve.

Mary Daheim's "The Ghost of Christmas Passed" will delight fans of her bed-and-breakfast mystery series and newcomers alike. B&B owner Judith Flynn and the rest of the family, including one who passed away years earlier, gather at the Hillside Manor for the holidays.

Cait London's "Partners in Crime" features professional organizer, Cecilia Lattimer, who needs help straightening out her own life. Her car won't start, her house has been burgled, and she's pretty sure the chief of police is out to get her. The only question now is whether the ruggedly handsome stranger who enters her life is there to help or to make things worse.

"Holly Go Lightly," Suzanne Macpherson's touching addition to the anthology, features a holiday-lovin' spirit who gets one last chance to correct an earthly mistake and help her former fiancé find happiness. But will her machinations lead Nick to beautiful Carol and her baby, Joy, before it's too late?

In Kerrelyn Sparks' "A Very Vampy Christmas," sweet vampire Maggie O'Brian helps amnesia victim/soap star Don Orlando, a.k.a "the greatest lover in the vampire world," discover the secret of his past. The camp hilarity of this story both mirrors and gently mocks daytime TV with its dramatic pauses and far-fetched plot twists. As always, Sparks brings home the love through the laughter in this fun tale.

If you're short on time and holiday cheer, this is the perfect anthology for you. The wide range of stories pulls readers into interesting and distinct settings, and the short tales are pitch-perfect to set the holiday mood. Happy reading!
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