A Day in the Life of Val Deniston by Maya Corrigan

Scam ChowderCook and run—those were Granddad’s instructions to me this evening. I was supposed to make the chowder for his dinner guests from the retirement village and get out of the kitchen. Then he would add the final ingredients and claim credit for the whole meal. This ruse was part of his campaign to win the heart of Lillian, the Village’s most attractive widow. Her departed husband, a gourmet cook, had spoiled her for men who didn’t know their way around a kitchen. To convince Lillian of his cooking skills, Granddad has no qualms about passing off my recipes and my dinners as his own creations. I go along with his hoaxes, grateful that he gave me a home when my life in New York fell apart.

Six months ago, my dream job as a cookbook publicist turned nightmarish and my gorgeous fiancé turned cheater. I now live with Granddad in his ramshackle Victorian near the Chesapeake Bay and eke out a living as a café manager at the local athletic club. The food in the Cool Down Café is healthy and the conversation energetic among the new friends I’ve made there. Last month, the murder of a club member really spiced up my life. Except for the murder and its aftermath, I’ve enjoyed living in Bayport, Maryland, a historic waterfront town filled with tourists and retirees, several of them coming to dinner tonight.

The dining room table was set for seven. Granddad’s friend, Lillian, arrived early and headed straight to the kitchen. I hid behind the wall between the back staircase and the kitchen, waiting for her to leave so I could get back to cooking the chowder. Okay, I also wanted to eavesdrop because I didn’t entirely trust her. From my perch on the fifth step, I heard her tell Granddad that his clam chowder looked delicious. “Instead of clam chowder,” he said, “we should call it scam chowder.” Lillian laughed and said, “Scam chowder for the guest of honor. Let’s wait until dinner is over to spring the trap on that crook. The drinks, your delicious chowder, and a sweet dessert will soften him for the kill.”

Granddad had invited a crook to dinner! Later I found out what kind of crook—a man who scammed senior citizens out of their savings. Even before the dinner started, I had a bad feeling about Granddad’s plan (or was it Lillian’s plan?) to trap a scammer, but I couldn’t figure out how to stop him without confessing that I’d eavesdropped on him and his girlfriend. He never listened to me anyway. So I just finished cooking, went up to my bedroom, and hoped for the best.

Sounds of laughter from the sitting room before dinner and the hum of conversation from the dining room convinced me that the evening was going well. With Granddad’s chowder dinner well under way, I could sneak out the back door and go for a walk. As I crept down the stairs to the kitchen, I heard a woman cry out in the dining room: “Food poisoning! That’s what it is.”

I restrained myself from zooming into the dining room and confronting the accuser. Doing that would expose my grandfather as a liar. To support his claim that he’d made tonight’s dinner without my help, he’d told his guests I wasn’t home. I rushed out the back door and ran around to the front of the house. Granddad would be annoyed that I crashed his party. Too bad. He needed my help, though he might not admit it. I opened the front door and called out, “I’m home, Granddad.” As I approached the dining room, no one at the table even glanced at me. They all stared at the man with thinning blond hair. He groaned and pitched face first into the chowder. The scammer, I presumed.


You can read more about Val and her Granddad in Scam Chowder, the second book in the “Five-Ingredient” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is By Cook Or By Crook.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 2 for the chance to win a print copy of Scam Chowder. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Maya Corrigan lives near Washington, D.C., within easy driving distance of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the setting for MayaCher Five-Ingredient Mysteries: By Cook or by Crook (2014) and Scam Chowder (2015). She has taught courses in writing, detective fiction, and American literature at Georgetown University and NOVA community college. A winner of the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in unpublished Mystery and Suspense, she has written short stories published under her full name of Mary Ann Corrigan. Her website features book news, contests, recipes, trivia, and quizzes about mysteries.

Visit Maya at her website (www.mayacorrigan.com) or on Facebook.

106 responses to “A Day in the Life of Val Deniston by Maya Corrigan

  1. This book sounds so interesting and a new to me author

  2. Doward Wilson

    This sounded like a good read, so added the first book to my library hold list. Can’t wait.

  3. Hey Dru, this looks like a great read. I own the first book and haven’t had the chance to read it yet. I guess If I win this one I’ll be forced to read them both in order ASAP.

  4. Sounds like a fun series! Love the title and cover! Thanks for the chance!

  5. Sounds like a great cozy mystery! Thank you for the giveaway.
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. This sounds humerous as well as a good mystery. Would love to win a copy.

    • Maya Corrigan

      There’s a lot of humor in the book, though it deals with a series and rampant crime. Thanks for commenting, Nancy.

  7. Jill Lauder

    Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

  8. Debbie Carnes

    Love the title , sounds like a fun read. Would love to read this

  9. Marilyn Watson

    Love the Cover and it sounds like it would be great to read. Thanks for the chance. Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

    • Maya Corrigan

      Jill, Debbie, and Marilyn, Thank you for your comments. I hope you like the book.

  10. Started reading the first book in the series yesterday. So far I love it. Thank you for the chance to win the second one. 🙂

    • Maya Corrigan

      Thank you for the kind words about the first book, ladyjanel. I hope you enjoy the second one too.

  11. Love the title, thanks for the chance 🙂

  12. Yifat Cestare

    Sounds fun. I just purchased the first book, so this will be a nice addition.

  13. Okay! another book to dream of owning. . . .

    • Maya Corrigan

      Lisa, Yifat, and Amy, Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy reading Scam Chowder.

  14. Brenda Handy

    Loved the first one and can’t wait to see what adventures Val will be up to next. Thank you for the opportunity to enter your giveaway.

    • Maya Corrigan

      Brenda, Thank you for your kind words about the first book in the series. I hope you enjoy this one just as much.

  15. I would love to read this book—thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  16. Wow, looks like good cozy mystery. Love the cover makes me want a big bowl of soup
    xzjh04@gmail.com

  17. Thank you for the giveaway.Sounds like a great cozy mystery 🙂

  18. This sounds like a good book. Thank you for the chance to win

  19. What a great cozy mystery. Thanks.

    • Maya Corrigan

      Peggy, Griperang, and Anne, Thank you for taking the time to comment on the post. I hope you like the book.

  20. Brian Frauenknecht

    I absolutely loved the first in the series and can’t wait for this to come out. I would love to win this. Thank you for the chance, Dru!!

    • Maya Corrigan

      Thank you for your comment on the first book in the series. I hope you like this one as well. Thanks also to Dru for hosting me on her great blog.

  21. Barbara Hackel

    Wow! I am hooked! And I have to read the first book because somehow I have missed this fantastic sounding series. 😦 Thanks to Dru and Maya for the opportunity to learn about the series as well as win a copy! 🙂

  22. Abby Fabian

    Book looks great! I love mysterys that are set in this area! wheather I win or not I’m still going to read this series. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  23. Judy Weaver

    This book sounds great! Love that it is about a Granddad and Granddaughter. How much fun can that be!! Thanks!

    • Maya Corrigan

      The dynamic between Val and her grandfather is the part of the book I enjoy writing most. Thank you for commenting.

  24. elainehroberson

    Love the cover – and I love chowder. Clam is my favorite, but like others as well. Thanks for the giveaway to try a new series.

  25. Sounds like a good read. I love the title.

  26. I hadn’t heard of this author or series before! I’ll have to check it out. Thanks

  27. Maya Corrigan

    Elaine, Rita, and Kansan4dogs, Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you like the book.

  28. Would love to win this book. Thanks for the chance.

  29. This sounds like a winner! I love cozies where seniors (I’m a greatgrannie) play an important role.

  30. Love the title and cover so the book has to be wonderful too! Would love to win to confirm. Thanks for the chance🎀

  31. I read the first book and loved it. I love the title and the idea of a mystery based on 5 ingredient recipes.

    • Maya Corrigan

      Thanks for the kind words about the first book in the series. I’m a 5-ingredient cook myself, when possible.

  32. Patricia Sarka

    Would like to Win a copy of the book.

  33. Hm, does that make it “scram” chowder?

  34. I love clam chowder so that by itself makes me want to read this book! Thank you for the chance!

  35. Love that Val is going to help her grandfather woo his ladyfriend.
    sounds like a fun read.
    thanks.

    • Maya Corrigan

      Patricia, Libby, Carolee, and Marylou, Thanks for leaving a comment. Scram Chowder would make a good alternate title. The book was fun to write. I hope you enjoy reading it.

  36. Great contest. I like the blog post. Thank you for the giveaway chance.

  37. JudyNicosia

    I’m getting the first book because this sounds good!

  38. I can’t wait to read this! Don’t include me in the contest but I had to stop by!

  39. What a delicious series!!

  40. sounds really interesting to read

  41. Darlene Peterson

    What a great write up. By Cook Or By Crook is a great idea for a series. Would love to get started in the series. Include me in the giveaway.

  42. Mary Jane H

    How charming! Love that Grandpa is still active even if he can’t cook!

  43. Love the title and play-on-words is charming. Sounds like a hit. Sign me up, please.

    • Maya Corrigan

      Judy, Mary Jane, Darlene, Tina, and Ann, Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope you like the book.

  44. I’d love to read this book.

  45. Uh oh! The book sounds great. I put it and the first in the series on my virtual TBR pile!

  46. Wanda downs

    Oh i would love to win

  47. Donna Gantt

    Scam chowder sounds wonderful!

    • Maya Corrigan

      BJ, Karreader, Wanda, and Donna,
      Thank you for you comments. I hope you enjoy the book.

  48. Dotty Kelley

    Looking forward to reading this one.

  49. Nancy Roessner

    Oh, oh, one scam on top of another. Looks like a fun read!

  50. Sounds like a great read, would love to win

  51. kayekillgore

    New series to me, sounds fun

    • Maya Corrigan

      Dotty, Nancy, Betty, and Kaye, I appreciate your comments. The book was fun to write, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

  52. Would love to win this book, love Mysteries, thanks for the amazing Giveaway.

  53. Thanks for the intro! What a fun gambit to pursue in order to achieve the best results for all concerned! Am anxious to read this!

  54. Betty Jo English

    Sneaky granddad. Sounds like a light summer read. Count me in to win. Love love.

    • Maya Corrigan

      Linda, Kathleen, and Betty Jo,
      The book is definitely a fun, light read. Thank you for commenting.

  55. Jennie Knight

    You hooked me. Now I have to read the rest of the story. Love the premise.

  56. What an awesome premise and title! I am hooked! Thanks for the chance to win!

  57. Looks like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Maya Corrigan

      Jennie, Holden, and Tracy, I’m glad you liked the sound of the book. I hope you get a chance to read it. Thanks for commenting.

  58. sallycootie

    This sounds like a fun, new series. Granddad looks like he might be a handful.

  59. Cynthia E. Blain

    I have never eaten SCAM Chowder but I sure would like to try the book. Sounds very different and really cute. This is also a new author to me. but I have heard of the first book in her Five Ingredient series. Need to get more reading done, that is all there is to it!!!! Thank you for the chance to win this book.

  60. Debby Kimmel

    This looks to be a really great read and look forward to doing so 😉 Thanks for the chance to win !!!

  61. Maya Corrigan

    Sally, Cynthia, and Debby,
    Thank you for your comments. Granddad is definitely a handful. He’s a fun character to write about.

  62. Wanda downs

    This book sounds interesting

  63. Maya Corrigan

    Dru, Thank you for hosting me on your blog!

  64. I simply love reading cozies with elderly characters!

  65. Christi King

    I love your series…can’t wait to read the new book!

  66. love the titles in this series……….
    thank you for the giveaway……..

  67. Looks interesting!

  68. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a fun read.

  69. Barbara Tobey

    Great title. Book sounds fun.

  70. I’m not a big fan of clam chowder but needless to say I am sure I’ll find this book to be my cup of tea. robeader53@yahoo.com

  71. peggy clayton

    I just love clam chowder and can’t wait to visit all my family in sf to get some good stuff but i love the title and the book sounds awesome . my fingers are crossed on this one!

  72. I love the title and cover, really makes me want to read it!

  73. Stacie Amelotte

    Loved the first book! Can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!

  74. sounds interesting

  75. I have somehow missed this series. Looking forward to reading!

  76. What a fun introduction to this book! I think I’d really enjoy reading it.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  77. I love light mysteries and cooking. The competing in this genre and in this giveaway is fierce. Cannot wait to read this unique title!

  78. I love clam chowder and hope there is a recipe in there! As an avid reader of mysteries I know I will enjoy the book!

  79. Contest is closed.