Muriel Reeves opens her door the week before Christmas to Frankie Salerno – a man who as a teenager kind of made her teenage life miserable. (He had her exiled to a private school in Canada LOL) So when Frankie says he needs her help, she is reluctant to hear him out, especially since she hasn’t seen him in over ten years and he needs her help finding Rachel McQueen. Rachel made Muriel’s high school experience not so great either. But when a friend asks Muriel to help Frank, she grudgingly agrees to help find Rachel. What she didn’t expect to uncover was kidnapping and embezzling plots…and she has to do all this while hosting the family’s Christmas events.
I’m not really one for holiday themed books. I’m a bit of a Grinch that way. But Frank, Incense, and Muriel was a fun read that didn’t shove the holidays down my throat. Muriel is a bit of a brain. She really struggled in her public high school with her nerdy image, which didn’t improve when a love letter gone wrong addressed her as The Brian. But Muriel successfully runs a private school and she’s taken time off to host the family for Christmas. The last thing she needs is to go gallivanting around town with Frankie, trying to find some girl she couldn’t stand in high school. But go she does. And I really enjoyed the banter between Muriel and Frankie. He knows he’s a good looking guy and he kind of assumes that Muriel had a crush on him in high school and still does, especially when he catches her checking out the goodies. LOL But Muriel denies, denies, denies. Muriel was a fun character. She was optimistic and stubborn and even though she’s smart, she can be a bit oblivious about some things (like Frankie).
Frankie is my favorite kind of hero. He’s liked Muriel since high school and he still regrets being the cause for having Muriel sent away to Canada. He’s now a private investigator and he’s street smart whereas Muriel is book smart. He also gets Muriel out of her safe little shell…but he wants to protect her at the same time. Frankie was just the perfect mix of hotness and sensitivity.
Muriel’s family was also fun. And this is where the holiday stuff really played out. Her aunt Val is baking cookies and helping to decorate. This was a nice retreat for Muriel from the craziness of helping out on a case. There were other family members, but Val was my favorite.
Now for the suspense part of this book – there was a real convoluted embezzling/kidnapping scheme going on that really had me going, at first. But as clues were being revealed, I became suspicious of one character…and I was right in the end! LOL I don’t like reading mysteries or suspense plots because I get frustrated with myself when I can’t figure out the villain. So I was happy with myself for guessing right. It’s not really obvious who the villain is though. And the mystery was fun – it kept Frankie and Muriel in proximity to each other and kept the pace of the book flowing well.
In the end, I’m going to give Frank, Incense and Muriel a solid B. The writing was good, the story was fun and the characters, I really enjoyed the characters. If you want a quick holiday-themed suspense with a dash of romance, check this book out.