Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Page 69 Test: *Christmas in Newfoundland* by Mike Martin #page69


They say if you want to really find a good book, go to page 69 (the middle and meat of the book) and you like it, it's definitely worth reading. For today's feature, I'm zooming in on page 69 of Mike Martin's new mystery novel, Christmas in Newfoundland.


From the author of the Award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries including Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries Book 1, comes another welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.

Come sit by the fire of the woodstove in the kitchen and listen to stories of Christmas long ago in Grand Bank and Ramea and tales of great adventure and Christmas magic in St. John’s in the 1960s and onward. Have Christmas dinner with Sgt. Windflower and Sheila and their two little girls. Then wait and see if any special visitors show up to entertain them.

Sing along with the choir or have a drink with old friends to celebrate Tibb’s Eve. Follow along as Eddie Tizzard has a special mission in the middle of a snowstorm and Herb Stoodley becomes an unlikely Christmas hero.

Christmas in Newfoundland is always a time for good food, good friends, and good cheer. And there’s always another chair at the table.

That was our version of mad money, to be spent on Coke and chips, for sure. But also on the occasional few cigarettes that could buy from select stores not close to your own home. Christmas at the church was a busy time, and there were special Advent masses and services. Sometimes we’d get asked to do those, too. There was no cash incentive, but you couldn’t say no, not easily anyway. There was often a direct line between all authorities, educational, religious and civil, and your parents. I took one of these assignments a few days before Christmas, and when I got to the church I was disappointed. I’d drawn the worst of all lots when it came to priests: Father Mulrooney.

Father Mulrooney was not an old priest, but he was very old-fashioned. And strict. No talking or even whispering in the back of the church. He said that the sacristy was a holy place and that we should hold our tongues in reverence when we were in there. On
this day I was by myself. Usually there would be two altar boys, but for whatever reason it was just me. That meant double duties for everything. But I knew the drill, and everything went smoothly.

After mass, I was taking off my robes when Father Mulrooney surprised me by coming over to talk to me. He thanked me for doing a good job and asked me what I was going to do today. I told him probably not too much, maybe just hang around my house and watch TV, if my mom would let me.

“It’s such a nice day,” said Father Mulrooney.

“Shouldn’t you be out playing hockey on the pond?”


What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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