‘Twas the week before Christmas, and Julia Snowden’s escape from New York has just hit a snag. Fresh off accidentally poisoning half her colleagues with her “Killer Eggnog,” Julia’s would-be subletter, Imogen Geinkes, is now jobless and homeless—leading Julia to invite the young woman home for the holidays in Maine. But when they unload the rental truck in Busman’s Harbor, they find something that wasn’t on anyone’s packing list: the body of Imogen’s former boyfriend.
Suddenly, the wordplay in Imogen’s name—“I’m a jinx”—isn’t so adorable. But for all the calamities that follow in Imogen’s wake, Julia’s certain she’s no killer. As Julia digs into the case, the appearance of the ex’s brother—his identical twin—doubles the confusion. Has Imogene been double-crossed by an evil twin? Was the eggnog “accident” no accident at all? If Julia doesn’t unwrap the murderer’s true identity soon, one of the twelve days of Christmas could be her last . . .
Praise for Steamed Open
“Sure to appeal to readers who treasure the Maine coast, Ross’s latest continues the lives and minor dramas of her fictionalized version of Boothbay Harbor with amiable characters.”
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About the Author
LEE HOLLIS is the pen name for a brother and sister writing team. Rick Copp is a veteran film and television writer/producer and also the author of two other mystery novel series. He lives in Palm Springs, California. Holly Simason is an award-winning food and cocktails columnist living in North Carolina. You may visit their website at www.LeeHollisMysteries.com or find them on Facebook by typing in: Lee Hollis.
BARBARA ROSS is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth, and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Read an Excerpt
By LESLIE MEIER, LEE HOLLIS, Barbara Ross
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Kensington Publishing Corp.
All rights reserved.
"'Beware of gifts from strangers,' that's what I told Wilf, when he found this bottle of eggnog on the back porch," said Phyllis, producing a distinctive old-fashioned milk bottle decorated with red and green ribbons and a sprig of faux holly from her red and green plaid tote bag and setting it on the reception counter in the Pennysaver office. The Pennysaver, formerly the Courier and Advertiser, was the weekly newspaper in the coastal town of Tinker's Cove, Maine.
"He said it wasn't from strangers, it's a welcome gift from this new club he's joined," she continued. Phyllis's official title was receptionist at the Pennysaver, but that only began to describe her duties, as she handled ads, subscriptions, billing, and the classifieds. Today was the Monday after Thanksgiving and the Christmas season had officially begun, so she had painted her fingernails in alternating shades of red and green polish and was wearing a sparkly sweater. She had long ago forgotten what color her hair actually was, but had dyed it a brighter shade of red than usual, also in honor of the holiday. Her cat's-eye reading glasses were decorated with candy cane stripes and were resting on her ample bosom, where they dangled from a rhinestone-encrusted chain. No one dared to ask Phyllis how old she was, but somewhere between fifty and sixty was a safe guess.
"What club is that?" asked Lucy Stone, who worked part time at the paper as a reporter and feature writer. She was already seated at her desk this Monday morning, tapping away on her computer keyboard. Lucy wore her dark hair in a short, easy-care cut and dressed in easy-care clothes, usually jeans and a sweater. In warm weather she wore running shoes, but now, since it was almost winter, she was wearing duck boots like just about everyone else in the little Maine town.
"The Real Beard Santa Club," replied Phyllis. "He was driving me crazy hanging around the house, now that he's retired from the postal service, but I can't say I'm very happy about his choice."
"I don't suppose growing a beard actually keeps a person very busy," said Lucy, who was struggling to decipher the notes she'd scribbled when covering a Conservation Commission meeting. "Which is more likely?" she asked Phyllis. "Does the commission want to require that dogs be leashed in the conservation area or days be limited? The only word I'm sure of is be."
"Probably both — I wouldn't put anything past that bunch of nincompoops," grumbled Phyllis, voicing the suspicion of the town's regulatory boards that was heard whenever two or more taxpayers were gathered together. "And like you said, growing a beard isn't really an occupation that keeps a person busy, though now that I think about it, Wilf does spend a lot of time in front of the bathroom mirror, admiring his facial growth. I told him it's like watching a pot to make it boil, admiring it in the mirror isn't going to make it grow any faster." She paused. "To tell the truth, I really don't like the beard...."
"No?" asked Lucy, whose husband, Bill, had grown a beard when he gave up his Wall Street job to become a restoration carpenter in Maine, a move they'd made more than twenty years before. Once a lustrous brown, these days Bill's beard was lightly sprinkled with gray. "Why not?"
"Lots of reasons. It seems dirty. It's prickly when I kiss him. I miss seeing his chin. It makes him look old."
"Well, Santa's no spring chicken," said Lucy, reluctantly coming to the conclusion that she'd better call Dorcas Philpott, the chairwoman of the Conservation Commission. "And he's much fatter than Wilf. Is he going to try to gain weight so he'll have a belly that shakes when he laughs like a bowlful of jelly?" asked Lucy, paraphrasing the famous Christmas poem.
"Absolutely not," snapped Phyllis. "That was the deal. I'll put up with the beard but not a Santa-sized stomach." Her tone became very serious. "You know how they say belly fat increases your chances of dying young, and I'm not taking any chances. We got married late in life and I want to have as much time together as possible, so he's going to have to keep eating healthy. He says I've got him eating like a reindeer, what with all the baby carrots, but I'm not giving in. He'll have to wear padding, that's all there is to it."
"Is that okay with the Real Beard Santa Club?" asked Lucy, who was reaching for the phone. "They have to have real beards, but it's okay to have a fake stomach?"
"I presume so," said Phyllis, primly. "It's not called the Real Belly Santa Club, now, is it?"
Lucy was suppressing a laugh when Dorcas Philpott answered the phone on the first ring. "Oh, Lucy, it's you," she said, with a distinct lack of enthusiasm when Lucy identified herself. "I was waiting for the oil man to call — my furnace went out. You know, for a while there at the meeting I thought you might be falling asleep."
"Oh, no, not at all," claimed Lucy, who had in fact struggled to stay awake during the evening meeting, which had not adjourned until after eleven o'clock. "But I do have a question about my notes. I can't seem to read my own handwriting."
"Well, I can't say I'm surprised, people nowadays hardly ever take pen to paper, they just poke at electronic screens. Do you know they don't even teach cursive writing anymore?" asked Dorcas, her voice trembling with indignation. "I was shocked when my granddaughter asked why my writing was so funny looking!"
"I didn't know that," admitted Lucy, fearing she wouldn't be able to keep Dorcas on track. "But about the meeting?"
"We should have a meeting with the school committee," declared Dorcas, jumping on the idea. "And let them know that dropping penmanship instruction is simply not an option. They have a responsibility ..."
"That's a good idea," said Lucy. "But about the concom meeting, didn't you make some new regulations for the conservation area?"
"They say it's because everyone uses computers these days, that nobody needs to have good penmanship, but I ask you: Can you write a proper thank-you note on a computer? And what about notes of condolence? Those absolutely must be on the very best plain white paper and written with great care...."
"My late mother would most certainly agree with you," said Lucy, who had been most carefully instructed in the rules of formal correspondence, and thanks to an eighth-grade dance class she'd found excruciatingly awkward could also dance the waltz and the fox-trot, not to mention the cha-cha and Charleston. Times had changed, however, and she had found these skills were no longer appreciated or valued as they once were. "Now, are you changing the hours that the conservation area is open?"
"Where did you get an idea like that?" demanded Dorcas. "Next thing you'll be telling me we'll be requiring dogs to be leashed."
"I did wonder about that," admitted Lucy.
"I noticed you nodding off," said Dorcas. "Try coffee, that's what I do. I find a cup of coffee after dinner enables me to stay sharp in the evening, which is when I usually handle my correspondence — which I might add, I write by hand, with a fountain pen."
"I'll keep it in mind," said Lucy. "So no action was taken on either issue?"
"They were both tabled for a later meeting," admitted Dorcas. "But I will be expecting to see a story in the paper about the school committee's shortsighted and irresponsible decision to drop penmanship from the curriculum...."
"I'll look into it and run it by Ted," said Lucy, ending the call just as the little bell on the door jangled, announcing Ted Stillings's arrival.
"What are you going to run by me?" asked Ted, bringing in a burst of cold air that made Phyllis, whose desk was by the door, shiver and pull the sides of her cardigan sweater together across her substantial chest. Ted was the chief reporter, editor, and publisher of the Pennysaver, which he owned. In other words, Ted was the boss.
"Hi, Ted," said Lucy, greeting him with a smile. "I was talking to Dorcas Philpott. She says the school committee voted to drop penmanship from the curriculum and she's worried that the kids won't know how to write thank-you notes."
"That ship has sailed," declared Ted, hanging up his hat and coat. "Pam says she never gets thank-you notes from any of our ungrateful nieces and nephews, and not from Tim, either, even though our son was brought up to write them," said Ted, picking up the bottle of eggnog and examining it. "What's this?"
"It's eggnog, Phyllis brought it," said Lucy.
"It was given to Wilf as a welcome present from the Real Beard Santa Club. He's just joined and eggnog is the club's official drink," said Phyllis.
"Doesn't he want to drink it?" asked Ted. "Why is it here?"
"Wilf would love to drink it, but I won't let him," said Phyllis, who was reaching for the phone, which was ringing.
"Why can't Wilf drink his eggnog?" asked Ted.
"Because it's fattening," said Lucy, "and Phyllis made a deal that he can grow a real beard, even though she doesn't much like beards, but she doesn't want him to have a Santa-sized stomach."
"Oh," said Ted, studying the bottle with hungry eyes. Hearing the jangle on the door, he turned, smiling as Corney Clark breezed in. "You're just in time, Corney. I'm thinking about cracking open this eggnog. Will you join me? It's officially Christmas, you know."
Corney stopped in her tracks, recoiling from the bottle. "I never touch the stuff. It might as well be poison!"
Ted looked crestfallen. "What do you mean? It's Christmas and eggnog is the traditional drink." He paused, thinking. "I've actually got a bottle of whiskey in my desk — journalistic tradition, you know? I could doctor it up...."
"You're mad! Take the most fattening drink in the history of the world and add more calories?" Corney pulled off her knitted cap and shook out her blond hair, which she got cut and colored every six weeks at great expense in Portland. "And I might add that the sun is not anywhere near the yard arm, much less over it!"
"I never thought you were a party pooper," grumbled Ted, replacing the bottle on the counter.
"I am certainly not a party pooper, I enjoy a good time as much as anyone. Why not serve the eggnog at the holiday stroll on Friday?" suggested Corney, remembering the errand that had brought her to the paper. She was the director of the Tinker's Cove Chamber of Commerce and her job required her to work closely with the Pennysaver staff to promote local events. "This year's stroll is going to be bigger and better than ever. We want to encourage people to shop here in town and support local businesses."
"Bigger and better's not saying much," said Phyllis. "Last year's stroll was pretty much a non-event. Wilf and I got all bundled up and attempted to finish up our Christmas shopping, but only a few places stayed open after six o'clock."
"That's true," said Lucy, with a nod. "Bill and I brought our grandson, Patrick, thinking he'd enjoy the horse-drawn sleigh ride...."
"I know, I know," admitted Corney, pulling off her gloves and stuffing them in her designer handbag. "Ed Hemmings had to cancel because one of his horses lost a shoe and he couldn't get hold of the blacksmith. A lot of people were disappointed, which is why this year I'm determined to make it the best stroll ever. I've gotten commitments from every business on Main Street; they've all agreed to stay open until nine and they're all going to offer refreshments and special promotions, raffles, giveaways, free gift wrapping, it's going to be great."
She paused for breath, then pointed a finger at Ted. "This is an opportunity for you, too, Ted. You can open your doors, put out eggnog and cookies, and offer a special reduced rate for new subscribers."
"Most everybody in town subscribes already," said Ted.
"Well, offer a special rate to folks to extend their subscriptions," said Corney, refusing to be deterred. "You know, the Chamber is a major advertiser, and that's why I'm here. The stroll will kick off the holiday shopping season — we only have three weekends this year because Christmas Eve is on a Saturday — and I want to go over the special insert with you and make sure it's got all the latest information ..."
Ted scratched his chin thoughtfully. "There's still some ad space in the insert. I could run an announcement about the special offer," he said.
"And give the Chamber a break on the cost?" urged Corney, who didn't miss a trick.
Lucy bit her lip, wondering how Ted would react. She knew that these were tough times for independent newspapers that faced competition from the Internet, rising costs, and ever-fewer readers.
"Why not?" said Ted with a nod of agreement. "It is Christmas after all."
"That's the spirit!" exclaimed Corney, pulling a couple of sheets of paper that were rather the worse for wear out of her tote and presenting them to Ted with a flourish. "This is going to be the most wonderful Christmas Tinker's Cove has ever seen!"
Ted ushered Corney into the morgue, which doubled as conference room, to put the final touches on the insert. Phyllis got up and put the eggnog in the office mini-fridge where they stashed their lunches and coffee creamer, and Lucy returned to her Conservation Commission notes, which remained as indecipherable as ever. She was about to raise the white flag and call the commission's secretary and beg for help when her cell phone beeped. A glance at the display revealed the caller was her oldest daughter, Elizabeth, calling from Paris where she worked at the tony Cavendish Hotel.
"Hi!" exclaimed Lucy, adding one of the phrases she remembered from high school French. "Ca va?"
"Très bien, merci, Maman," replied Elizabeth, automatically replying in French, but losing none of the efficient manner that had enabled her to leave the reception desk and cross the Cavendish's tastefully decorated lobby to her present post at the concierge's desk. She promptly switched to English. "Everything is fine, I just want to check some dates with you — I'm coming home for Christmas."
"That's wonderful!" exclaimed Lucy. "You're coming home for Christmas! When are you coming? How long can you stay?"
"That's what I want to discuss with you," said Elizabeth. Lucy could picture her, seated at an antique Louis XIV desk, thoughtfully fiddling with a pen and making careful notes. "I can get a seat on a flight December twenty-third, but it's expensive, but if I come two weeks earlier, on December ninth, it's much cheaper. I have a lot of vacation time due me, but I'm not sure about staying for such a long visit, especially since the house is already pretty full...."
"Don't be silly!" declared Lucy, in a burst of motherly affection. She'd been thrilled when her son, Toby, who had been working on developing sustainable fisheries in Alaska, had announced he'd been sent to nearby Winchester College for a year to continue his graduate-level studies in genetic modification. Since their house on nearby Prudence Path was rented while they were in Alaska, Toby's little family had moved in with Lucy and Bill. "Toby and Molly are using the family room, so there's plenty of room upstairs. Patrick's little," she continued, referring to her adored five-year-old grandson, "he can sleep anywhere."
"Well, you know what they say about fish and company, that they stink after three days...."
"You're not company, you're family!" said Lucy.
"Okay," said Elizabeth. "I'll order the tickets. I'll arrive in Boston on December ninth, at five forty-five PM. Can somebody pick me up at the airport? I looked into connecting flights to Rockland, but they're all sold out."
"That's a three-hour drive into rush hour on a Friday in Boston," said Lucy, a note of dismay in her voice. She'd been caught in Boston traffic a few too many times and knew that Friday evenings were the worst as the city's entire population seemed to be leaving for the weekend. "Couldn't you take the bus?"
"Mom!" protested Elizabeth. "I'm coming all the way from Paris and you want me to take the bus?"
"Of course not," said Lucy, relenting. "How about a limo? My treat?"
"I am really surprised, Mom. Don't you want to see me as soon as you can?"
"Of course I do," said Lucy, somewhat chastened. "I'll take the afternoon off to give myself plenty of time, and after I meet you we can get a bite to eat before attempting Route 1."
"Super!" exclaimed Elizabeth, pronouncing it "soup-air" in the French manner. "A bientôt!"
"A bientôt," replied Lucy, ending the call. She was saddened to realize she wasn't quite as enthusiastic about Elizabeth's homecoming as she had been at first. Maybe Elizabeth was on to something when she suggested a short visit would be preferable to a long one. Then she shook her head, remembering how much she loved her daughter and how eager she was to see her, and made up her mind to banish such thoughts. "I'm being a Grinch," she decided, taking a page from Corney's book and resolving to make this Christmas the best Stone Family Christmas ever, a Christmas when the entire family would be together.
Excerpted from Eggnog Murder by LESLIE MEIER, LEE HOLLIS, Barbara Ross. Copyright © 2016 Kensington Publishing Corp.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsBooks by Leslie Meier,
DEATH BY EGGNOG,
Iced Under Teaser,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Leslie Miers first part was great , the seond book horrible, I'm on the third now hope its better
Excellent. I really enjoyed all the stories . Will buy more .
Very good book will read these authors again
Very nicely written anthology by 3 authors whose cozy mystery series are based in Maine - Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross. Each story has an eggnog theme to its murder, and each is a fast-paced read. I'd previously read books by 2 of the 3 authors (Leslie Meier and Barbara Ross) but will now be looking into Lee Hollis' books as well. Even though the short stories tie in to existing series, each held it's own as a stand-alone. Highly recommend! A+
Great book! I loved all three mysteries.
three wonderful stories by three authors. i loved them all!
This book has three stories in it that all have Eggnog as part of the plot. Eggnog Murder, Death by Eggnog, and Nogged Off. The books are based on the characters in the series that these ladies write, but you do not have to be familiar with them to enjoy these stories. Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier once again stars the sleuthing Lucy Stone. When one of the town's busiest ladies gets poisoned by tainted eggnog, the fingers are pointing. Did it come from the "The Red Beard Santa Club", or did someone else poison it? Was it poisoned at all? Who was the intended victim? While all this is going on, Lucy is writing a story about the death of a Veteran of Gulf Storm. Her sister's story about how she was abandoned, left scrambling for funds and receiving no support from veteran affairs touched Lucy immensely. The story turns out to be a misleading and Lucy is in trouble. Where does this all lead? How does it all fit together? Great plot with twists that will pull you in. This story was a case of a planned murder gone wrong. Of course, don't forget to try the recipes included. Death by Eggnog by Lee Hollis stars food columnist Hayley. There is some similarity with the first story. Town librarian Agatha Farnsworth dies from anaphylactic shock after drinking eggnog with milk that was labeled non-dairy. She was a miserable woman who left behind a long string of possible suspects. This was a fun read as well. I love that the library in town plays such an important role in the lives of the characters. This one took me completely by surprise. I had not idea who the culprit was. Again there are some fun recipes included in this story. I enjoy the characters in this series. Hayley's brother and his husband are a hoot. The expressions the police chief uses as his first language is portuguese are hilarious. The plot is great, but I did figure out the culprit in this one. Another fun read. Nogged Off by Barbara Ross is another fun one. The ditzy character that Julia brings home to Busman's Harbor is Imogens Geinkes (initials I.M.A. Geinkes) and a jinx she is. Everything she gets involved in seems to go wrong. In this story she inadvertantly poisons the staff with homemade Eggnog and they all end up in the hospital. Embarrassed so badly, she quits her job and can no longer take over the lease on Julia's apartment. With no where to go, being dumped by her boyfriend, she somehow gets Julia to invite her to her mother's home for a New England Christmas. Things do not go as planned. The truck with all her furniture is stolen from her mother's driveway and then, Imogens boyfriend turns up dead tied to a chair in the back of the truck once it is located. I thought I had this one figured out, but with another twist, I realized I was on the wrong track. This was a good story that kept me guessing to the end. Recipes are included in this story as well. I enjoyed the holiday traditions shared in the book as well as the information that these are the ones the author participated in growing up. These stories really got me into the Christmas spirit. It was a great compilation of three very enjoyable cozy mystery writers. Check it out! The publisher generously provided me with a copy of the book via Netgalley.
Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Barbara Ross, and Lee Hollis contains three Christmas cozy mystery stories. Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier is set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine. The Pennysaver is serving eggnog and cookies during the annual holiday stroll. Dorcas Philpott has a cup of the holiday brew and ends up dead. Who tampered with the eggnog? Lucy wants to find the killer and wrap up the investigation so she can enjoy the holidays with her family. Death by Eggnog by Lee Hollis is a Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery story. Agatha Farnsworth is the town librarian that people dread talking to because she is extremely grumpy. At the annual Restaurant Association Christmas Dinner, Agatha enjoys a cup of eggnog. Unfortunately, it is her last. Hayley sets out to bag the killer. Nogged Off by Barbara Ross is set in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden ends up with an extra unwanted guest for Christmas. Julia goes to clean out her apartment and finds her tenant Imogen Geinkes in tears. Imogen just lost her job and boyfriend. Julia packs up everything in a truck and takes Imogen to her mother. The moving truck disappears and is found with Imogen’s ex-boyfriend dead inside. Julia wants to tie this investigation up quickly so she can enjoy the holiday with her family. Eggnog Murder contained some cute stories. They are short and sweet. They are nicely written and good additions to each series. I did find the mysteries simple and easily solved. It is nice to catch up with the characters from the cozy mystery series that I enjoy reading. I give Eggnog Murder 4 out of 5 stars (I liked them). You can enjoy the stories even if you have not read the books in each series (you might find some new cozy mystery series to enjoy). Eggnog Murder will help put you in the mood for Christmas.
This eggnog themed anthology is a cozy mystery fan’s holiday delight! EGGNOG MURDER By Leslie Meier Based on the Lucy Stone Mysteries A fast, fun Christmas mystery treat! Author Leslie Meier takes readers back to Tinker’s Cove, and into another investigation with her series lead, Lucy Stone. Lucy gets on the case after a local is killed from drinking eggnog. This short story, EGGNOG MURDER, manages to pack everything readers like about the Lucy Stone Mysteries into a tale half the size of a full book. Mystery and mayhem abound, even as the holiday spirit fills the pages. EGGNOG MURDER was a great opening read in this set of three stories. DEATH BY EGGNOG By Lee Hollis Based on the Hayley Powell Food & Cocktails Mysteries I’ve heard good things come in small packages. In this particular case…Great things! I’m a huge fan of the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries. Not to go all Kathy Bates Misery or anything, but there is a chance I am this series biggest fan! So, when I got my hands on the EGGNOG MURDER anthology by authors Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross, of course I had to read DEATH BY EGGNOG by Lee Hollis first! With DEATH BY EGGNOG being half the length (or less) than a whole book in this series, Lee Hollis still pens a cohesive tale from beginning to end with the same brilliance as a full length book. The story moved at a fast pace, but was in no way rushed, and still had all the mystery, hilarity, and intelligence that I have come to know and look forward to with each and every Hayley Powell book. I was stumped as to who the killer was. The ending took me completely by surprise. I read the reveal with on the edge of my seat, opened mouth, and muttering Nah-uh over and over. Well done! DEATH BY EGGNOG is a true tasty delight! NOGGED OFF By Barbara Ross Based on the Maine Clambake Mysteries Author Barbara Ross lets it Snowden in this nogged up Maine Clambake short. If you follow the Maine Clambake Mysteries, you are going to love this mini addition to the series. New readers? Well, you’re going to want to get the rest of the series after your read this sampling. Like her fellow authors in the first two tales of this anthology, Barbara Ross did a wonderful job of condensing a full sized mystery into a pint sized format. Nothing about NOGGED OFF felt rushed. Helping protagonist Julia Snowden try to discover whodunit, was just as fun and mysterious as ever! There was nothing off about NOGGED OFF.
Enjoy a Deadly Sip of Eggnog Nothing says Christmas like murder, right? If you go based on my reading list this year, that’s definitely the case since I’ve already read several Christmas themed cozy mysteries and I’m just getting warmed up. Eggnog Murder is actually a collection of three Maine set Christmas novellas, and they will definitely get you in the murderous holiday spirit. Opening things is the title novella written by the headline author – Leslie Meier. This story stars her series sleuth, Lucy Stone, a reporter in the small town of Tinker’s Cove. During the annual holiday stroll, a woman drinking eggnog in the newspaper office suddenly dies. What was in the eggnog? Was she the intended victim? While I’ve only read one book in the series, this is the third Christmas novella I’ve spent with Lucy, her husband, and her family of kids and one grandson. I must admit I found this the weakest story of the collect since it seemed to wander around a bit before getting to the point. This is especially true of a sub-plot involving Lucy’s family. However, by the time the story was over, I really had enjoyed it. Next up is “Death by Eggnog” by Lee Hollis. This was my introduction to Haley Powell and her family and friends in Bar Harbor. Everyone in town is looking forward to the annual Restaurant Association Christmas Dinner, however things that a deadly turn when the town librarian eats a too spicy wing, follows it up with some eggnog, and dies. The librarian had made many enemies over the years, but this looks like a tragic accident. Was it? It’s always hard to jump into a story, especially one this short, when you don’t know the series regulars. Fortunately, most of them were kept in the background, so I was able to get to know the characters important to this story. The plot was good, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters we met here. Finally comes “Nogged Off” by Barbara Ross. This novella is the reason I picked up the collection since I just love Julia Snowden and her group of family and friends in Busman’s Harbor. This book finds her taking a quick day trip to New York City to pack up the rest of her belongings so she can permanently move to Maine. When she arrives, she finds her sub-tenant to be upset about some setbacks in her personal life, and Julia winds up inviting Imogen home for Christmas. However, Julia’s Christmas gets more complicated when her moving truck is stolen after they arrive in Busman’s Harbor. What is going on? I was able to get fully lost in this story right away since I already know the series characters and the setting, and I enjoyed spending Christmas with them. The plot was fun with some good twists before we reached the end. And all three stories will help get you in the Christmas spirit. Each story features some holiday traditions that are unique to Maine, which is lots of fun. Heck, even with all the murder and mayhem, I really wanted to sit back and sip a glass of eggnog, and I’m not usually a fan of the traditional holiday drink. Speaking of which, you’ll also find plenty of recipes in this book. Whether you are reading this book during Christmas or want a holiday fix year round, you’ll enjoy your time spent with the stories in Eggnog Murder. Clever murder stories mixed with Christmas traditions and topped off with some recipes. Plus you might just find a new series to try as you read. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
There is nothing like reading a good holiday cozy mystery. Eggnog Murder was such fun to read, 3 of my favorite authors join up to weave a great holiday cozy mystery revolving around eggnog. Reading the first story, Eggnog Murder, written by the very talented Leslie Meier, was just like catching up with old friends. I love this series and all the wonderful characters in the story. In this particular story, Lucy Stone, wife, mother, grandmother, reporter and amateur sleuth is excited for the holidays. Making the holidays even brighter is the homecoming of her daughter Elizabeth, who has been working in Paris as a hotel concierge. Sad to say, the homecoming isn't quite what Lucy hoped for, but as we know, Lucy can make the best out of everything. When Lucy writes a human interest story for The Pennysaver, she is humbled and humiliated, her neglect of fact checking puts her in hot water. When a local resident dies from drinking some holiday eggnog, Lucy jumps in to investigate and prove the death wasn't an accident. The second story, Death by Eggnog, written by the amazing Lee Hollis and featuring Hayley Powell was absolutely riveting. At the Restaurant Association Christmas Dinner, local crabby librarian Agnes Farnsworth suffers a fatal allergic reaction to eggnog. The suspect list is long and heading the list is Fannie Clark-Van Dam the wife of stroke victim Dutch Van Dam. No one is sad to see Agnes dead, she made everyone miserable with her crazy demands and her hostile attitude at the library. When the story finally unravels and Hayley unravels the tangle of lies and deceit, you will be stunned at who committed the dastardly deed. The third story, Nogged Off, written by the wonderful Barbara Ross, told a tale of greed and lies. Julia is finally settling in Busman's Harbor, Maine. Taking one last trip to Manhattan to grab the rest of her items left in her apartment, she is stunned to find Imogen, the young girl who was renting her apartment, sitting in tears. It appears Imogen caused quite a stir at her holiday office party and is too ashamed to return to her job. This leaves Julia in a bind and Imogen unable to rent the apartment. Julia has no choice but to invite Imogen to Maine for the holidays, but she has no idea just what she and her family is in for. Ms. Ross wove a tale of deceit and greed, lies and chaos and the mystery was exciting and suspenseful. Ms. Meier is a talented story teller and she did not disappoint me with her crafty cozy mystery. Lee Hollis created a mystery that will definitely leave the reader in shock. Be sure to grab your copy on October 25, 2016 I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.