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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Locking Up Santa by Nikki LeClair is the second book in the Edie Edwards Cozy Mystery series. Phoebe has settled into her position as CEO of Lavish Looks, even if she is constantly challenged by the COO. The company is set to release its first scent without Edie, but Phoebe doesn't see how it'll succeed when it's horrible. No one wants to listen to Phoebe and thinks she's not cut out to be CEO, but she's determined to prove them all wrong. After he humiliated her at the airport, Edie's nephew Porter has finally returned to help with the launch and doesn't seem to get that she doesn't need his help. Everything goes from bad to worse when her mentor is arrested for assault and robbery which, along with the awful new scent, drives their sales way down. All evidence points to Henry, right down to his Santa suit and cologne, but Edie is convinced he's been framed and, despite how crazy it sounds, Phoebe agrees with her. To solve the case, she teams up with Henry's niece and dives into his past, which leads her to uncovering a shocking secret that could change everything.
Locking Up Santa is the perfect holiday treat for those who love cozy mysteries full of humor and romance! Edie is a delightful busybody ghost who helps Phoebe by giving her advice and getting her into one mystery after another, while also helping Phoebe with the company and ensuring her home is run the right way. The two are a perfect match with their moments together full of humor and their friendship full of heart. Edie has a larger than life personality and she shines every second she's on the page. The case is an emotional one. Phoebe struggles to maintain her faith in Henry's innocence but it's not easy to do as everyone (other than Edie) has convicted him already and tries to convince her of his guilt. This struggle is a test of her character, but she constantly proves her loyalty to those she loves each time she stands her ground about his innocence.
Porter's return brings on themes of romantic comedy, which is fun as she's still holding onto her hate for him, but the more time she spends with him, the more he seems to grow on her. Their banter is a constant back and forth which is delightful, full of chemistry and providing plenty of friction. Nikki LeClair perfectly balances work drama with family drama, while keeping themes of friendship, family, and loyalty. Every part of Phoebe's life draws you in, wanting to know how everything is going to turn out, from her relationships to if her company will succeed to what Edie will get her into next. Locking Up Santa is full of sleuthing capers, ghostly mischief, a Christmas-themed mystery, and shocking secrets from the past.