The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem Edited by J. Alan Hartman

Nov 15, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win an ebook copy of The Killer Wore Cranberry, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.

In this fourth collection of short mystery stories celebrating Thanksgiving, you truly can judge a book by its cover. The cartoonishly adorable illustration perfectly captures the spirit of these ten tales of families who unite, sometimes unwillingly, for a day of food, dysfunctional interactions, and an occasional murder or two. Interspersed between the stories are recipes that will have readers drooling in anticipation of a meal that takes a week to prepare and ten minutes to consume. book

The collection kicks off with a satirical take on the meal taking proactive action in Big Jim Williams’ “A Foolish Fowl’s Thanksgiving/Cranberry Murder Case,” and concludes with Debra H. Goldstein’s “Thanksgiving in Moderation,” where the cooks are the ones who decide to eliminate an unwanted guest with overindulgence. In between there are eight delightful stories that are comical, ironic, and always satisfying.

The turkey once again takes action in the pun-filled “Talk, Turkey!” by Laird Long, and an even more satirical take on noir occurs in Rob Chirico’s “Murder on the Side,” where his Marlowe wields out so many metaphors and similes that they often circle in on themselves. Gangsters reign over the holiday in Steve Shrott’s “More Good Times,” as a mob dentist manages to use his professional skills to prevent himself from joining the bird on the table.

Although a darker tone can be found in Barb Goffman’s “It’s a Trap!,” a far more humorous take on the holiday appears in Lesley A. Diehl’s “Leave it to Cleaver,” as a woman discovers an unexpected danger when attempting to diet through the Thanksgiving meal. The holiday dinner doesn’t get any more disastrous than in Barbara Metzger’s “Bogged Down,” although a cranberry sauce does aid in nabbing an escaped felon.

A more traditional police procedural tale can be found in Earl Staggs’ “Turkey Tuesday,” as eight hundred frozen turkeys go missing and it’s up to Sheriff Mollie Goodall to save the day for the needy. Finally, not to be overlooked is “The Tater Tot Caper” by Sandra Murphy, a reviewer for this site. Her tale of the holiday is hilariously relatable to anyone who has ever toiled through the arduous meal preparations for critical and ungrateful relatives, and finds refuge in the wine hidden strategically throughout the house.

Not surprisingly, a holiday that brings together families and feuding relatives proves to be a bounteous setting for mayhem and murder. These ten authors each provide their own unique twist on the day with nary a weak entry in the bunch. Readers will find themselves giggling through the chaos and grateful for these entreatingly well-written tales.

To enter to win an ebook copy of The Killer Wore Cranberry, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Cranberry,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 22, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL!

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. With less than two weeks to go before the great day, thank goodness for ebooks. It certainly sounds like there’s something for every ‘body’ in this feast with a wide selection of sides.

  2. Can’t wait yo read these delicious yales

  3. I love holiday-themed collections.

  4. A table of delights. Count me in.

  5. I need a good laugh so Tater Tot Caper by Sandra J Murphy sounds like the book for me!

  6. I just wanted to point out that this anthology also includes four terrific Thanksgiving recipes by Lisa Wagner that are all healthy and delicious!

    Jay Hartman
    Untreed Reads Publishing

  7. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

  8. Congratulations, Lorie, on winning your copy. Thank you, Cynthia, for your great review.

    I just purchased my copy through your link…so happy to be able to support KRL in this small but important way.


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