In Stowe, Vermont, there is an eighty-foot blue spruce tree that holds a secret worth millions of dollars, and just one person knows. That person is Packy Noonan, and he’s going to retrieve his hidings and use it to lead a new plastic surgery-altered life of luxury in Brazil. Now that Packy is out of prison after twelve years, he only has to escape the half-way house and the bothersome man tailing him. Then he can be picked up in the getaway car by his two bumbling partners in crime, Jo-Jo and Benny. Too bad others are interested in the same tree.
To Lem and Viddy, the blue spruce is priceless because they planted it fifty years ago when they were married; it’s like a child to them. However, they are willing to part with the tree because it’s going to be this year’s Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York. Their beautiful tree will bring happiness to millions now. With others wanting, not to mention watching the blue spruce, the pressure is on Packy to get there first. Christmas spirit flows through this story as everyone staying at the Trapp Family Lodge for the holidays helps find the missing and the wanted. Alvirah Meehan, an amateur detective who recently won the lottery, and her husband, Willy, join their friends Regan Reilley, private investigator, her fiancé Jack, and her parents, Luke and Nora, for a long weekend of skiing and being witness to the blue spruce cutting ceremony.
Their hard-working waitress friend, Opal, accepts an invitation to join them – she needs to get away and forget about the millions she lost to Packy Noonan. But that becomes difficult for Opal when she’s faced with the reality that he is free and in the area with his greedy associates. Opal goes missing during an early morning evidence-gathering and cross country skiing undertaking.
The blue spruce is also missing, and it needs to be found for the Rockefeller Center. Lem, who accuses his rival tree-growing neighbor of the theft, wants to be the one to drive the tree, stolen before they had the chance to say goodbye, home to his wife so they can say a proper farewell. Although Packy gets the valuable blue spruce before it goes to the Rockefeller Center, much to his horror, all that’s left inside the tree is the remains of his wiring – and that is not worth millions. Packy, Benny and Jo-Jo start a chase themselves because of an engraved machete left behind at the scene. Milo, the poet, knows where the machete owner resides. As Milo cooks and barn-sits for Packy, Benny and Jo-Jo, he finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into their troubles. With the help of a cross-country skiing ten-year-old boy and the poem “Ode to a Fruit Fly,” lives are saved and justice is served. Opal is in for one of the happiest holidays of her life after all, as are Lem and Viddy.
There is a touch of suspense in Christmas thanks to this clever mother-daughter writing team. Their other Christmas collaborations include Deck the Halls and He Sees You When You’re Sleeping. Two chapters of Santa Cruise, their newest book, are included at the end of The Christmas Thief. To win a copy of this book, be the tenth person to email your favourite Christmas memory to [email protected]