Korman’s eighth book in the “Swindle” mystery series takes place at Christmas time. Griffin Bing and his friends volunteer at the annual Santa Workshop Holiday Spectacular taking place at the Colchester mansion. Although all their parents are happy they are going, the friends are only doing it to help their friend Logan secure a spot in a well-known theatre group.

On the day of the festivities, the power goes out, and Christmas is essentially cancelled in town. The Colchester’s ten million dollar Star of Prague Christmas ornament was stolen during the twelve minutes the lights were off in the mansion. In Detective Vizzini’s opinion, the middle school friends are to blame because of their past connections with other crimes. When the town starts accusing them of robbery, the friends use their talents (athletics, technology, leadership, loyalty, acting) to narrow down their suspect list to one. By tapping into emails and using GPS technology and webcams, they eliminate the Colchester’s scrounge-like neighbour, child-hating secretary, and new truck purchasing electrician. That leaves Santa, himself, or the motorcycling singing man the Colchester’s hired to play Santa who Luthor the Doberman pinscher inexplicably loves from the moment he sees him. Griffin’s friend Savannah (the owner of Luthor) is sure this sign of loyalty means the man cannot be a thief. When the friends realize they were following the wrong suspect all along, Luthor dives onto the person responsible for the theft before he gives the valuable star to his accomplice. Family is a central theme in this story in regards to holiday traditions and team work.

Two humourous secondary plots involve Mr. Griffin’s latest invention and a possible UFO sighting in their hometown of Cedarville. Jingle can be read and enjoyed by both boys and girls as a stand-alone, or as part of the series. To win a copy, be the sixth person to email the name of your favourite Christmas song to [email protected]