Tis the season for trimming the tree, caroling, baking cookies, and curling up by the Yuletide waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney. But in this festive collection of holiday whodunits, murder is also paying a visit.
"I love all the Hannah cookie maker, murder catcher, kitty loving lady stories!"
"Eggnog Murder": When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker's Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who's stirring up trouble. "Death By Eggnog": Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor's grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal - and suspicious - allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it's up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.
In this batch of sweet, short murder mysteries, three cooks don’t spoil the broth. New York Times best-selling author Joanne Fluke pens the title story, in which a box of Hannah Swensen’s gingerbread cookies is found near the corpse of her neighbor. Popular co-authors Laura Levine and Leslie Meier offer “The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies” and “Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots”, respectively.
"GingerBread Cookie Murder"
Lucy normally loves planning for the holidays, but this year, Tinker's Cove has fallen on hard times. With so many residents struggling, Christmas festivities are a luxury some can't afford. But the story's not so bleak at Downeast Mortgage, whose tightfisted owners, Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner, are raking in profits from everyone's misfortune. Half the town is in their debt, so when the miserly Marlowe is murdered, the mourners are few and the suspects are many. Scribner believes Marlowe's ghost has come to warn him of his own demise, and when he starts receiving death threats, Lucy wonders if there's more to the omen....
"Very good cozy mystery"
Although Perry, the earl of the house, and his sister, Poppy, are surprisingly accommodating to their jetlagged guests, Lucy feels uneasy after a fallen portrait sparks talk of a deadly family omen. But real trouble begins when a body, bludgeoned by the chapel's gold-plated reliquary, is found in a hidden, sealed off room. Considering the weapon and the clandestine location, Lucy wouldn't be shocked if the murder was an inside job.
As a reporter for the Pennysaver, Lucy is assigned a puff piece on upscale Chanticleer's Chocolates. But when a local fisherman drowns suspiciously, Lucy's certain her investigative skills could be put to better use. Everyone is shocked when Fern's Famous Fudge loses its status as 'Best Candy on the Coast' to Chanticleer's pricey newfangled confections.
Lucy Stone has always loved covering the annual Easter egg hunt for the Pennysaver. Hosted by elderly socialite Vivian Van Vorst at Pine Point, it's a swanky event where the eggs are as likely to contain savings bonds as they are jelly beans. But when Lucy arrives, a man dressed as the Easter Bunny emerges, only to drop dead moments later. Lucy discovers the victim is VV's grandson, and soon learns that not all is as it seems at idyllic Pine Point.
Tinker's Cove is abuzz with excitement when Norah, the queen of daytime TV, comes to town and selects Lucy and her pals to be featured in her "Women Who Make a Difference" episode. In recognition for their charitable work, the ladies and their husbands are awarded a dream vacation in Paris, complete with classes at Le Cooking School with renowned pastry chef Larry Bruneau. But their bon voyage is cut short when Lucy discovers the chef in a pool of blood on the second day of class.
"Another Visit with Lucy and the Gang"
Lucy's getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found - until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge. Amid the pumpkin gore is a very deceased Evan. Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide, so Lucy knows she's got some serious sleuthing to do.
When her part-time reporting gig gives Lucy the opportunity to attend a Boston newspaper conference, she looks forward to the vacation from domestic bliss. But upon leaving Tinker's Cove, she quickly discovers that alone time can be kind of...lonely. But when Luther Read, head of a nearly bankrupt newspaper dynasty, suddenly drops dead, Lucy discovers something to take her mind off of being lonely. Murder, for instance. Lucy vows to investigate and can't help wondering if her name will end up on a byline or in an obituary.