"Death on the Night of Lost Lizards" By Julia Buckley: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Cynthia Chow 

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and links to purchase it.

Christmas may be one of Hana Keller’s favorite times of the year, and not just because December is the month of her birthday. Her family-run Maggie’s Tea House has over fourteen holiday events scheduled, ranging from a traditional Hungarian St. Mikulas Day to Girl Scout Brownies’ tea parties. Still, Hana is thrilled when her beloved Uncle Zoltan Horvath mails her the birthday gift of a Yellow Dynasty tea serving collection, especially since she fell in love with its twin lizard designs as a child. Following on the heels of that delightful surprise is a more ominous one, though, as Hana’s matrilineal talent for prophetic feelings has her on alert upon seeing a young college student by a dumpster. So when Hana’s boyfriend Detective Erik Wolf, the “wolf who catches wolves” as prophesied by her grandmother, arrives with the news that someone at Riverwood University has been murdered, she knows that she was right to be worried.

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Image Source Penguin
Hana soon learns that the victim, Professor Sandor Balog, was a man she frequently saw perusing the antique shop owned by her friend Falken Trisch. Hana finds herself drawn into the investigation when the tea party planned for the university departments was actually organized by the late Professor Balog, turning the holiday event into a memorial. It quickly becomes apparent that the professor had as many enemies as he did friends, with jealous academics, a contentious ex-wife, numerous girlfriends, and even gambling victims all contending to top Hana’s suspect list. Her to-do list quickly becomes filled with dualities of both the victim and the suspects, making the arrival of the Twin Lizard tea set prophetic and the path towards a solution.

This third in the series completely submerges readers into Riverwood’s chilly Christmas season while highlighting Hungarian traditions.  Recipes and descriptions of seasonal treats such as gingerbread mézeskalács are mouth-watering, and the author enhances them by providing details of their history and origin. Romantic and family relationships flourish as well, with Hana’s brother wanting to make a commitment while Erik’s pregnant sister faces a terrifying challenge. Hana’s and Erik’s families are considerable in number and size, but new readers can easily and quickly sort out connections and enjoy their good-natured banter. The academic rivalry within Riverwood University adds a fun and intriguing element to this mystery, which still indulges in a number of holiday-themed events and celebrations. Hungarian traditions, tantalizing treats, and especially the strong women of Hana’s family make this a rewarding holiday reading perfect for those who look forward to Christmas all year round.  

To enter to win a copy of Death on Night of Lost Lizards, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "lizards,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 14, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address. BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up last week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom). Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Love books with a Christmas theme.
    This would be a new series for me.
    Sounds interesting. thanks

  3. I like Julia Buckley but haven't read this series. Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. New author for me, sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  5. A favorite author of mine. I need to catch up with this series.


  6. Sounds interesting and intriguing too. This series is new to me. Can't wait to read it! Thank you for the chance thé recipe sounds delicious. 😊

  7. Love the cover. New series to me. Would really like to read.

  8. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but my library doesn't have the rest - thanks for the chance to own one.


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