A Day in the Life with Val Deniston by Maya Corrigan

Final FondueWhen my widowed grandfather brought a fondue pot down from the attic, it was as if he conjured a spirit from the past. The spirit felt right at home in Granddad’s Victorian house, especially this weekend when our Chesapeake Bay town is celebrating the 300th anniversary of its founding. So many tourists are coming for the town’s festival that anyone with extra bedrooms is taking in boarders. Granddad rented three spare rooms and my bedroom, forcing me to bunk elsewhere for the weekend, though he insisted I come back in the morning to cook breakfast for his guests.

He writes a recipe column for the local newspaper, calling himself the Codger Cook, but he rarely cooks. Today, though, he’s making a welcome snack for his paying guests—chocolate fondue. He told me it would serve as an icebreaker, as it had at the 1970s fondue parties he and Grandma had given. As he was melting chocolate, the phone rang. My former boss called to offer me the job I’d left under a cloud eight months before. Though I love living in Bayport, the chance to return to Manhattan tempted me. I wanted to redeem my reputation as a cookbook publicist—a reputation trashed by a celebrity chef who unfairly blamed me for the accident that sent him to the hospital. But going back meant I would have to leave behind the café I manage, the friends I’d made there, and Gunnar, the man I was seeing. I put off the decision until the weekend was over. So while Granddad was making a dish from the past, my past was tugging at me.

His guests seemed at first to be future-oriented. They’d come to town not only for the festivities, but also to plan a wedding. The would-be bride, best man, maid of honor, and a bridesmaid had reserved rooms in our house. The groom stayed at his parents’ bayfront estate to which they hadn’t invited his fiancée. Unfortunately, the fondue didn’t serve as the icebreaker Granddad had hoped. As we sat around the table dipping fruit and cake into the pot, our guests were rather icy to each other. Not even warm chocolate could melt them. I got the impression that an incident from the past was eating at them.

After the festival’s opening ceremonies this evening, I ran into the celebrity chef who’d forced me out of my job. He harangued me for ruining his life. In his twisted mind, I was to blame for every bad thing that happened to him lately, including losing his restaurant and his publishing contract. Seeing him here rattled me. Why would a famous chef come to a small town like Bayport? Possibly to get revenge on me.

Late tonight, in Granddad’s backyard, I stumbled over the body of one of his guests—the bridesmaid. The bride and I were about the same size as the dead woman, and we’d all worn the same souvenir hat. In the dark the bridesmaid could have been mistaken for either of us. And a killer who made a mistake the first time might try again.

Final Fondue is the third book in the Five-Ingredient mystery series, published by Kensington, June 2016.

Val Deniston certainly has her plate full running a café, dabbling with recipes, and helping her grandfather prepare for the town’s upcoming tri-centennial celebration, but she’s grown fond of her new life in the Chesapeake Bay town of Bayport. . .

So when Val is asked to reclaim her old position as a cookbook publicist in New York City, she puts off her decision in order to help her grandfather perfect his chocolate fondue for the weekend festivity’s dessert cook-off. But after the opening ceremonies, Val finds a houseguest strangled to death in her grandfather’s backyard. She suspects a classic case of mistaken identity, especially when another guest nearly bids her life a fondue farewell. Now it’s up to Val to keep the killer from making another stab at murder . . .

Includes 6 five-ingredient recipes!

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About the author
Maya Corrigan lives near Washington, D.C., within easy driving distance of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the setting for her Five-Ingredient Mysteries: By Cook or by Crook, Scam Chowder, and Final Fondue. She has taught courses in writing, detective fiction, and American literature at Georgetown University and NOVA community college. She won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the New England Readers’ Award in unpublished Mystery and Suspense, Her website features trivia and quizzes on mysteries.

Visit Maya at her website or on Facebook

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Final Fondue. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 3, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.


  1. As always, I enjoyed your review. I loved the first two books in this series & can’t wait to read this one.

    • Hi Doward, I’m glad you liked the first two books. Thank you for leaving a comment.–Maya

    • Book Aunt, Donna, and Gram, Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy the book. –Maya

  2. How have I missed this series? I am going to start at the first book right away. Thank you Dru for introducing me to this author and books! 🙂 Thank you also to Maya for the chance to win a copy of Final Fondue! It sounds like a lot will be happening in this book. 🙂

  3. I love a good fondue! I’m looking forward to reading this, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

    • Anne, Wendy, and NoraAdrienne, Thank you for your comments about the series and fondue. I hope you enjoy the book –Maya

  4. When my husband and I were dating, we were given a gift certificate for a local restaurant that centered around fondue. It was an interesting date that we enjoyed together. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

    • Rita, Patricia, and robeader, Thank you for commenting and entering the drawing. –Maya

  5. I haven’t gotten out my fondue pot for a while. I hope one of the recipes is for fondue. Sounds like a great read. Plenty of action to make it interesting.

    • There are two chocolate fondue recipes in the book, including the “original” fondue made with Swiss Toblerone chocolate. Thanks for commenting.–Maya

  6. A killer who made a mistake may try again! Well this one has to be read! This sounds like a great read and plenty of action/goings-on. Great characters – intriguing. Oh yes, a great cozy. Anxious to read.

  7. This would be a great book to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

    • Cheltgirl, Betty, Yvonne, and Elaine, Thank you for commenting on the post and good luck in the drawing for a winner. –Maya

  8. This is a new series to me. I’m looking forward to reading “Final Fondue. I remember the old days and having a fondue pot and the fun fondue parties we had. Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. I love fondue and the Chesapeake Bay – a winning combination. Iwould love to read this book — thanks so much for the giveaway!

    • Hi Dianne, Celia, and Mary Jane, I remember fun fondue parties from years ago.and love the Chesapeake Bay. Thank you taking the time to comment and good luck in the drawing. –Maya

  10. Love fondue! I hadn’t tried this series yet, I will have to look into getting the first two. Thanks for the chance to win this one!

  11. Hi Debbie, Johnna, CJ, and Mary, Thank you for commenting. Fondue is such fun to share. Cheese fondue isn’t served as much as it used to be, but I’m glad chocolate fondue is still popular. –Maya

  12. I just ordered the first in this series I am looking forward to it, they all sounds very good, she’s a new Author for me, great review thank you for the chance to win Penney

  13. Love the Chesapeake area and mysteries involving food. Definitely giving this one a try.

  14. I remember fondue dinners with the kids back in the 70s – such fun! I’m sure I still have a few pots lurking somewhere in the basement. Book sounds like a winner to me.

  15. I loved By Cook Or By Crook & have Scam Chowder on my wish list! Thanks for the chance of winning in your give-a-way!

  16. Great post! Five ingredient recipes are the way to go! We used to fondue a lot when I was little, now I usually do chocolate. Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Books and recipes are my thing so this cozy with the Codger Cook sounds like a fun one to me.

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