Gingerdead Man by Maya Corrigan

Most cozies are just that – “cozy.”  The characters are generally warm and down-to-earth, the good guys are REALLY good guys, the villains are totally despicable.  Plus there’s no excessive gratuitous sex or violence and the endings are usually happy ones.   It’s no wonder folks are in love with a good cozy – especially in these strained (and downright bizarre) times.  Reading a good cozy is like an echo of that old-time TV commercial:  “Calgon, take me away!

Here, Maya Corrigan once again “takes us away” to the Chesapeake Bay area and brings us a very fine cozy indeed!  Definition of a gingerdead cookie:  a gingerbread man with white icing skeletal bones, baked to perfection to celebrate the town’s Halloween season.

While Halloween has come and gone, the Christmas season is fast approaching.  As the story opens, just about everyone in the quaint town of Bayport, Maryland, has headed to the Dickens of a Holiday Festival, filled with caroling, tea parties, street markets, prizes for best dressed Victorians and more.

Val Deniston lives with her grandfather.  It’s a win-win for both of them.  A lovely, secure home for Val, and she can help with the cooking, cleaning –  while keeping an eye on old Granddad (and he’s a spirited handful).

By day, Val runs the Cool Down Café at the local Athletic club and does some catering on the side.  This year Val is hosting the festival’s private tea party.  It’s only for the volunteers — a thank you for their hard work planning and launching their holiday festival.

A surprise unannounced guest shows up at the tea party.  Cloaked in black and gift bag on his or her head, it’s obvious, this is the “ghost of Christmas presents.”  Each volunteer receives a gift bag with a large gingerdead man cookie.  Santa was one of the volunteers seated at the table, and we all know he’s really big on the naughty and nice thing.  And the tea party was a nice treat for the volunteers.  But when someone keels over at the table (and we’re not talking acid indigestion), it’s just plain murder – and that’s about as naughty as it can get!

At first, no one was too concerned that someone may have been poisoned at the tea party Val catered.  But when she winds up catering a birthday party for Oliver Naiman, things go from bad to worse.  Oliver is a widowed and lonely old man.  For Val it seemed like a “no-brainer” catering affair.  A simple birthday dinner and cake for Oliver, his daughter, Elaine, and his other daughter, Cyndi, with hubby Kevin in tow.  But the next day, someone from the birthday party is found dead.  Light bulb moment: Val can understand why this is probably not good for her business.

For a while, the death at the birthday party seems like a fatal health issue.  But as time goes on, Val suspects the worst and wonders if there’s a connection between the two recently departed individuals.   While the first victim was murdered, there’s just no motive to be found.  It also appears that the two deceased did not even know each other.  She and Granddad are forced to put on their sleuthing caps.  But it’s hard coming up with viable scenarios even after delving into both victim’s past. Val’s staying tight with the local Sheriff’s office, but they are as stumped as she is!

Santa may be coming to town – but the killer is already there and he (or she) is not bringing toys – they are bringing murder in the first!  You’ll enjoy this tightly-woven cozy that leads you through a maze of interesting and elusive suspects.  Maya Corrigan’s Gingerdead Man, A Five Ingredient Mystery, has all the elements of a perfect winter cozy with a nice, “I didn’t see that coming” twist.

 

A copy of this book was provided by Kensington Publishing, a paid sponsor of Wonder Women Sixty.  For sponsorship info contact:  ann@wonderwomensixty.com

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