Berkley, Nov 2004, 9.95, 160 pp.
Christmas is right around the corner and crossword puzzle construction guru Belle Graham and her husband Private Investigator Roscoe Polycrates are getting into the holiday spirit. Roscoe is a little concerned that three dangerous men broke out of a Boston Prison and might be heading for his hometown Newcastle. Roscoe and his two policemen friends are dressed in Santa suits collecting children's gifts from merchants who used the stores as drop off points.
Roscoe and Company are pulled over by the police because they think the Santas are the escaped convicts. The real criminals are in a gun shop getting supplies as they make a run for freedom. Meanwhile Roscoe and Belle and their two canines believe their master is buying two love birds for his wife and their antics to dissuade him are hilarious. At a neighborhood Christmas party, gifts are being exchanged from a grab bag when the third escaped convict (the other two already in custody) breaks in and is brought down by one of the canines. Christmas in Newcastle is a success.
Just like the animals in the Mrs. Murphy books by Rita Mae Brown, the animals in Newcastle are able to communicate with one another which make for amusing scenes. Belle and Roscoe are as much in love as ever and both construct puzzles as a means of communicating what Christmas gifts they bought for one another.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner