by Kathleen Costa
This week we have a review of Ginger Snapped to Death by Catherine Bruns. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from from Amazon.
Murder, Suspense, and Mystery!
Sally Muccio returned home to Colwestern, New York, after a difficult divorce, and opened up Sally’s Samples cookie shop with her BFF Josie Sullivan. From there she’s reunited with her high school beau, married him, and is the talk of the town with her prophetic fortune cookies and success investigating several murders, some have even implicated family and friends. Dealing with a very quirky Italian family from a supportive sister to a wise grandmother, “hip” mother to a father who’s making himself famous with his death blog, and don’t forget the cantankerous neighbor adding the right amount of humorous angst. All of this is delightfully orchestrated by Karma, and of course, those prophetic fortune cookies.
Ginger Snapped to Death earns 5/5 Ginger-Spiced Men…Engaging Fun!
BFF Josie gives Sally an early gift meant also to recognize Sally’s greatly improved baking abilities: an engraved “six-inch serrated silver cake server.” Ok, I know my cozies; this is incriminating evidence in the making! Sally is also pregnant with her first child, and although her due date has come and gone and she’s feeling clumsy, she is still in good spirits. Then a burned batch of fortune cookies, a cryptic fortune “You better watch out—Santa Claus is coming…for you,” a subsequent carjacking by said “Santa Clauses,” and a mysterious “Nick” puts Sally on edge and the baby in “high-gear” kicking. She gets her car back, but finds something the forensic techs missed…a note, an address, a threat! All this leads to a past not-friend, dead, surrounded by Sally’s speciality gingerbread cookies along with the murder weapon “a six-inch serrated silver cake server.” I told you so! But, do they really think a very pregnant woman committed murderous revenge?
Brilliant! I am a long-time fan of Catherine Brun’s Cookies & Chance series and always look forward to the adventures of Sally Muccio-Donovan along with what prophetic message is found in her signature fortune cookies….and it’s Christmas! Catherine’s signature clever drama with contemporary issues, well-developed characters including quirky, “pazza” neighbor, humorous predicaments, personal peril, and an “exciting” ending make this eighth book a delightful page-turner. Catherine is brilliant wielding karma, and her writing does well using descriptive language to bring to life the setting, characters, and all the mouthwatering treats, but it’s the dialogue that keeps me totally engaged illustrating the emotions and all the personalities. This book has been out for a few weeks, like Christmas decor in the mall, but it is the perfect story for the holidays. Engaging. Entertaining. Full of Christmas cheer!
BONUS! I always look forward to seeing what recipes Catherine adds to her books. For this eighth book we get Chocolate-filled Cookie Cups for the chocoholic, Candy Cane Brownies for the office Christmas party, the infamous Gingerbread Cookies sans the murder, and Almond-And-Lemon-Flavored Macaroons for your neighborhood cookie exchange. I love it all…is there a Cookies & Chance cookbook in the future? Let’s see what the fortune cookie says…
Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns pens many of my favorite cozy series that true cozy fans should not miss. First, her eight-book Cookies & Chance Mystery series with Sally Muccio and the delightful cryptic messages found in her fortune cookies. Also comes the three book Cindy York Mystery illustrating the murderous side of real estate. Then the two-book Carrie Jorgenson series in the GHP Aloha Lagoon Mystery multi-author collection gives us a delightful Hawaiian setting.
When asked how writing has impacted her life, she replied, “It’s changed forever. If I don’t write for a day or two, it feels like part of me is missing. I can’t imagine doing anything else and wouldn’t want to.”
Wikipedia — Gingerbread Man “Gingerbread dates from the fifteenth century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the sixteenth century. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests.”
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons cold water
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon clover
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon anise extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 350
Mix together shortening, brown sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Stir in ½ cup cold water, both kinds of flour, allspice, ginger, clover, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. If necessary, stir in an additional 3 tablespoons of water. Add anise if using. Wrap in plastic and chill in fridge for at least an hour. Roll out onto a floured board to ½-inch thickness. Cut with decorative cookie or gingerbread cutters. Decorate with raisins if desired.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper for 15–18 minutes.
Decorate with icing after cooled.
Makes between 3–4 dozen 3-inch cookies.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Ginger Snapped to Death, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “snapped,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 28, 2019. US entrants only and you must be at least 18 to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories (including more Halloween ones) in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. The last 2 episodes are Christmas mystery short stories!
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.