By Cook or by Crook (A Five-Ingredient Mystery)
by Maya Corrigan
Review by Verna Suit
Kensington Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781617731389
Date: 04 November 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Val Deniston left her New York City career under a cloud and has started over in a small town on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. She now runs the Cool Down Cafe at a local tennis and fitness club and lives with her grandfather in his huge old Victorian. But life is upended again when she arrives at a club member's home to discuss a catering job and finds the woman dead.
Fortunately Val is not the accused this time. Her cousin Monique is, because she had publicly threatened the dead woman over an affair she was having with Monique's husband. Val's cousin is one of her few real friends and she wants to help find the killer in order to prove her innocent. She doubts the investigative skills of the local police. To her pleased surprise, her crotchety grandfather proves to be an astute sounding board for discussing the murder, with good theories of his own.
By Cook or By Crook is a debut novel that is aptly subtitled A Five-Ingredient Mystery. Food prep is a theme of the book, with lots of cooking metaphors sprinkled in and an appendix that includes 5-ingredient recipes for dishes mentioned in the story. At least five subplots are also thrown into the pot.
Suspects abound, as well as men who may or may not be future boyfriend material. By Cook or By Crook is the first of a well-written cozy series that I look forward to following.