A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange by Isis Crawford is the 9th in the Mystery with Recipes holiday-themed cozy series about sisters and catering partners Bernie and Libby Simmons (available October 29, 2013).
In this highly entertaining series, sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons run a catering company, and no matter how hard they try to just run the business and get the food cooked to perfection, they can’t avoid getting involved in chaos and murder.
With Christmas coming, their very busiest season, the sisters are not inclined to judge a contest for the television show Baking for Life. But somehow, they wind up agreeing to select the best Christmas cookie from among the entries submitted by the members of the Christmas Cookie Club Exchange, a group of very competitive women who don’t like each other very much.
Certain that her fabulous Millie’s Majestic Meltaways are going to win the competition, eighty-two year old Millie Piedmont is in high spirits as she drives to the television studio, even though she just received an upsetting phone call. Then something that looks like a deer but doesn’t move, blocks the road and, trying to avoid hitting it, Millie plows into a tree.
She struggles but can’t get her seatbelt open to get out of her car. She uses her cell phone to call her niece Amber and relay her suspicions about who she thinks has booby trapped her, but is barely able to speak and finally slips into unconsciousness.
Her next-to-last thought before slipping into a coma was, My God, I didn’t tell Amber whom I was talking about. Her last thought was, Thank heavens I didn’t wear my stockings with the hole near the elastic. That would have been mortifying.
Millie’s niece Amber is sure that someone deliberately meant to do her aunt great harm for some reason involving the Christmas cookie contest. Since she is a part-time employee of A Little Taste of Heaven, the shop run by Bernie and Libby, they find themselves not only judging the cookie contest but also trying to figure out exactly who wanted Millie Piedmont out of the way.
When the sisters start to ask around about Millie and her relationship with the other members of the cookie exchange, they find out she was not always considerate of her fellow bakers. Once Millie bumped into another baker’s car just hard enough to rip the bumper and destroy three trays of cookies stored in the back seat. According to cookie exchange member Teresa, Millie was far from sorry.
“But all she said was that Alma was making a big deal over nothing and that she could do something else for her holiday presents. Then she said that maybe the accident had been a blessing in disguise for the recipients of Alma’s presents.”
As Bernie and Libby continue to try to figure out exactly what happened to Millie, they are still involved with the cookie exchange members, and the television show contest. Libby would like to avoid the group all together, but when she says so, she and Bernie get into a verbal tussle. Listen in to hear the sisters push each other’s buttons.
“We’re not in a car on a dark country road, are we?”
“No,” Libby admitted.
“Ergo, you don’t have to worry.”
Libby said, “What if they’re armed?”
Bernie rolled her eyes. “Oh, please.”
“No. I’m serious.”
“With what? Rolling pins? Pastry bags?”
Even if you’re not in the mood to bake dozens of fancy cookies for the upcoming Christmas festivities, I encourage you to read A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange, which is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.
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The first book in Terrie Farley Moran’s Read ’Em and Eat Café cozy mystery series will be released by Berkley Prime Crime in October ,2014. In the meantime her collection of short stories, THE AWARENESS and other deadly tales, is currently available in e-format for the Nook and the Kindle. Terrie blogs at Women of Mystery.