Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Murder Gets Cooking: GINGERBREAD COOKIE MURDER and More

They did it successfully in 2008 with The Candy Cane Murder, and now they've done it again: Joanna Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier teamed up their novellas for a holiday collection, GINGERBREAD COOKIE MURDER, scheduled to release September 28.

Fans of any of these three authors will want this chunky volume, packed with recipes and bloodshed. The fun ranges from Hannah's Favorite Chocolate Mousse -- the elegant comfort food of Fluke's series protagonist Hannah Swenson, who owns a bakery and appears here in "Gingerbread Cookie Murder," to the ice cream and other feasts in "The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies" by Levine (it's a spoof on Florida retirement life, as well as holiday family visits), to the Mexican Christmas Salad that Lucy Stone enjoys in Meier's "Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots."

And the murders? Well, take them lightly. This is "cozy" reading at its friendliest, not meant to mar or scar but strictly to entertain. Hannah Swenson's bakery offerings made my mouth water in Fluke's tale. I definitely wanted to throttle Jaine Austen's mother in Levine's novella, as she insisted in calling Prozac, Jaine's cat, by the name "Zoloft"! More seriously, though,  I confess I'm haunted by some of the images in Meier's piece, which fits nicely into her Lucy Stone series, set in Maine: Four-year-old Nemo, a sweet little boy, gets kidnapped in what's originally a family feud but soon goes very wrong indeed.

If you're collecting any or all of these authors -- or just in need of some fun food ideas for the upcoming season -- add this to your shelf.

By the way, I've indulged in quite a feast of Leslie Meier books this week, catching up with these page-turners that pack a good plot under the everyday life of a part-time reporter, mom, and wife -- and I'm coming to think of Lucy Stone as someone real, who lives in a town I just haven't gotten around to visiting yet. What better compliment could I offer?

Don't forget that Meier has another book out this month, The Wicked Witch Murder -- I munched my way through it in midsummer. Happy reading!

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