by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer, along with a link to the book.
Phyllis, Sam, Carolyn, and Eva, retired schoolteachers, share Phyllis’ house. It works for them since they have each other’s company and share expenses. It works really well for Sam since Phyllis and Carolyn are great cooks—plus there’s a yard for his Dalmation, Buck. And he and Phyllis are an “item,” as the saying goes.
They’re headed for the annual Christmas parade. Every year someone new plays Santa and arrives in style. This year it’s a councilman arriving in a horse-drawn carriage. Barney, the carriage driver, is an old friend of Sam’s, so of course they have to stop and visit a minute before the parade starts.
Phyllis makes a new cupcake recipe and Barney weasels one from her just before the parade starts. As she and Sam walk to their viewing spot, there’s a commotion behind them. Barney has collapsed, and the horses are in a panic. If someone can’t stop them, people are going to get trampled.
Thinking quickly, Sam comes up with a plan and saves the day. Unfortunately, he can’t save Barney. The logical conclusion would be that he ate one of Phyllis’ cupcakes and then died—but they’d all eaten them with no ill effects. The EMTs find Barney was shot, which lets Phyllis’ cupcakes off the hook.
Sam knew Barney’s daughter, Allyson, and now son-in-law, Nate, from his days as a coach at school. Although Nate and Barney argued, he’s sure that it wouldn’t lead to murder. Still, whoever did it had to be a great marksman, since the shot came from a distance.
Phyllis wonders if the shot was meant for Barney or the councilman. The more they look into it, the more the councilman seems a more likely target. He’s had an affair, his wife has filed for divorce, he’s driven his company into near bankruptcy so his partners are suing him, and his girlfriend is threatening to sue for sexual harassment. Working with Nate’s attorney, they start to unravel the clues, all the while being stalked by a television crew, hungry for a sensational story.
Phyllis is able to figure out the missing link to solve the mystery. It’s a nice change to read about active older adults who can solve a crime without putting themselves in danger, rather than the thirty-somethings who run headlong into hazardous situations. The cast of characters is a good one and my only complaint is that Buck the Dalmation didn’t appear often enough in this storyline!
This is Book Ten in the series. You won’t want to miss one of them. Phyllis and Carolyn are generous enough to share their recipes. Look for candy-cane cupcakes, peppermint-buttercream frosting, macarons, baklava macarons, crustless spinach and bacon quiche, tomato and mozzarella salad, sausage egg muffins, red potato salad, potato soup, ham and cheese sliders with a Dijon sauce, baked meatballs, and chicken and spinach salad.
To enter to win a copy of The Candy Can Cupcake Killer, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cupcake,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 12, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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