Hollyberry Homicide



Hollyberry Homicide (A Berry Basket Mystery)
by Sharon Farrow

About Hollyberry Homicide 

Hollyberry Homicide (A Berry Basket Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (September 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496722620
ISBN-13: 978-1496722621
Digital ASIN: B082WQTC18

A cold wind is blowing off Lake Michigan, and murder is scaring the dickens out of everyone . . .


Considering her name, Marlee Jacob is an obvious choice for the role of Jacob Marley in Oriole Point’s production of A Christmas Carol. It’s just sad that the role has opened up because of the death of the elderly actor who’d originally been cast.

But Marlee, the proprietor of The Berry Basket, will do her best to keep spirits high—that is, until clues start mounting that there’s danger behind the scenes. There are accidents on set, the tree in the village square topples over, and worst of all, a body is found with a sprig of holly draped over it. If Marlee can’t wrap up the case, she may not have a berry merry Christmas . . .

Includes Berry Recipes!


About Sharon Farrow

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award-winning author Sharon Pisacreta. A freelance writer since her twenties, she has been published in mystery, fantasy, and romance. Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series for Kensington. The series debuted in 2016 and is set along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline where she now lives. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.


by Sharon Farrow

As the title indicates, my latest Berry Basket mystery is set at Christmastime. Which means it’s filled with holiday cheer, decorations, winter festivals, and carols. Lots of carols. My Christmas research unearthed interesting trivia about those favorite holiday tunes. And since Charles Dickens’ story is an important part of Hollyberry Homicide, I’ll begin with what may be the most famous Christmas carol.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Although we don’t sing the Charles Dickens’ tale, the original title was A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Dickens hoped his story would be shared as often as annual Christmas carols. To further emphasize the musical aspect of the story, he even called his five chapters ‘staves’. FYI, a stave is a British term for the staff used in the composition of music.

JINGLE BELLS: In 1857, James Lord Pierpont, the uncle of industrial magnate J.P. Morgan, wrote the lyrics and music for Jingle Bells. First printed by a Boston publishing company under the title One Horse Open Sleigh, it was reissued two years later under the name we all know it by: Jingle Bells. Btw, Christmas is never mentioned in the song. Here’s another fun fact. When two astronauts on board Gemini 6 played it nine days before Christmas 1965, Jingle Bells became the first song broadcast from space. It is also the oldest secular Christmas song.

UP ON THE HOUSETOP: Written in 1864 by American minister Benjamin Hanby, this is the second oldest secular Christmas song. Up on the Housetop is also the first Christmas song to focus primarily on Santa. In addition, Benjamin and his father were such staunch abolitionists, their family home served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: Robert L. May created the Rudolph story in 1939 for a booklet he wrote for Montgomery Ward in Chicago. The store wanted to hand out the book as a Christmas promotion. May almost named his young reindeer Reginald or Rollo, but finally decided on Rudolph. In 1948, May asked his songwriter brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, to set the story to music. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, sung by Gene Autry, was released the following year and became a bestseller. And as every Baby Boomer knows, the stop-motion animated TV special made its debut in 1964.

I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY: American author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow not only produced such classic poems as The Song of Hiawatha, he also wrote a beloved Christmas carol. And he wrote it on Christmas Day! On Christmas 1863, the widowed Longfellow was still in mourning for his wife. He also was grieving over his son who had been recently wounded in the Civil War. Yet listening to the Christmas bells lifted his mood and gave him hope. This moved Longfellow to write the poem Christmas Day, published in a magazine two years later. English organist John Baptiste Calkin set the poem to music in 1872.

DECK THE HALLS: The melody of Deck the Halls can be traced back to 16th century Wales. The tune was so popular that Mozart is said to have included it in a piano and violin duet. Although Deck the Halls is now a Christmas carol, the original Welsh song celebrated New Year’s Eve. When the English lyrics were published in 1862, music translator Thomas Oliphant changed the meaning of the song so that it spotlights the Christmas holiday. It was Oliphant who gave us “boughs of holly’, “yuletide carol” and “tis the season to be jolly”. However, the ‘fa la la’ refrain is found in both the Welsh and English versions. Such refrains were a common feature of medieval madrigals, and Oliphant was Honorary Secretary of the Madrigal Society. Naturally, he wanted to keep all those ‘fa la la la la las’.

WE THREE KINGS: This carol is also known as We Three Kings of Orient Are, The Three Magi, and Three Kings of Orient. John Henry Hopkins Jr., an American clergyman, wrote the song for a Christmas pageant in 1857. After Hopkins published We Three Kings in 1863, it became the first American Christmas carol to enjoy worldwide popularity. And in 1878, it was the first Christmas carol from America to be included in the prestigious British collection, Christmas Carols Old and New.

SILENT NIGHT: In 1816, a young Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr, wrote a poem following a wintry evening walk in a village near Salzburg. Two years later, Father Mohr needed a carol for Christmas Eve church service . He visited his friend Franz Gruber, who was a church organist and choir director. Mohr showed his friend the poem he wrote. Gruber proceeded to compose a melody for the song on Father Mohr’s guitar, possibly because the church organ was broken. Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht was performed that night at Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria. Mohr played the song on his guitar as he, Gruber and the church choir sang along. And the original rendition was played at a faster tempo.

CAROL OF THE BELLS: I end with my favorite Christmas carol, which is based on a Ukrainian folk chant. Written in 1914 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych, the song had nothing to do with Christmas. It was titled Bountiful and told the story about a swallow that announces the promise of spring. It wasn’t until 1936 that the song took on a Christmas theme. That was when American composer and choir director Peter J. Wilhousky attended a choral performance of Bountiful and thought the music sounded like bells. So he wrote English lyrics for the song that mentioned silver bells, caroling, and “Merry Christmas”. In the 1940s, American recordings of the new Carol of the Bells became increasingly popular, particularly for choirs. And a Christmas carol classic was born.

Then again, they’re all classics now. Even Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.


Author Links – 

WEB PAGE           http://sharonfarrowauthor.com/

FACEBOOK         @SharonFarrowAuthor

TWITTER             @SharonFarrowBB

BOOKBUB          @SharonFarrow


Purchase Links – Amazon  –  B&N –  Kobo  –  Google Play  –  IndieBound

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  1. That's a very festive Holiday cover. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This sounds like a very fun holiday read and I look forward to it. Best wishes to the author on the book.


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