My latest encounter with a murderer started when my grandfather came into the kitchen a transformed man. He looked as if he belonged in a fountain-of-youth drug ad, not at all like the man who’d welcomed me as a housemate a year ago. Only yesterday he’d resembled Santa Claus, with a fluffy beard, white curls fringing his head, and wire-framed bifocals slipping down his nose. Now he had shorter hair, a trimmed beard, rimless glasses with tinted lenses, and a tweed driver’s cap covering his bald spot on top.

I pointed my wooden spoon at him. “Who are you, and what did you do with the real Don Myer?”

“I got a new look for the New Year and a new client.” He sauntered across the kitchen as if on a runway in a fashion show. Then he shed his black wool car coat, hung it over his chair at the breakfast table, and showed me his shirt and pants—black, hip, and expensive.

“You look . . . fantastic, Granddad. What are you doing that requires a stylish wardrobe?”

“That’s confidential. I’m finally attracting the right type of business. No more tracking down runaway tabbies or stolen garden gnomes.”

I suppressed a smile. “With a business card that identifies you as a problem solver and sleuth, you have to be prepared for any challenge. Mrs. Smith was very grateful you found her cat.”

“She wasn’t grateful enough to pay me with cash, just cookies. I want to earn back some of the money I forked over for that online private-eye course. My client is paying my expenses and gave me an advance. Big bucks.” He adjusted the angle of his driver’s cap.

I turned the burner down as I digested his words. Hard to believe he merited upfront payment based on his dubious online training and a minor role in solving a murder or two. Granddad refused to tell me who was paying him and what he was supposed to do. I only hoped he wasn’t getting in over his head.

My hope was dashed later that afternoon. After parking at an outlet mall, I spotted a bearded man in a black coat and a driver’s cap at the other end of the mall’s sprawling parking lot. Granddad in his new clothes. Could he have been hired as a mystery shopper? A car turned into the lane where he was walking. He paid no attention to it. He staggered. Then he disappeared as if a stage trap door had swallowed him.

You can read more about Val and Granddad in The Tell-Tale Tarte, the fourth book in the “Five-Ingredient” mystery series.

It’s a cold January in the Chesapeake Bay area, but Cool Down Café manager Val Deniston has plenty to sweat over—like catering a book club event, testing recipes for her Granddad’s cookbook, and catching the author of a deadly tale of murder. The last thing Val needs in her life is an unsolved murder, especially when the victim, an actor famed for impersonating Edgar Allan Poe, happens to be dressed exactly like her Granddad. To keep an eye on Granddad, whose latest job takes him to the home of Rick Usher, a local author inspired by Poe, Val gets herself hired as a cook in Rick’s House of Usher. When she discovers the actor wasn’t the only one doing an impersonation, separating the innocent from the murderous becomes a real-life horror story. But Val must decipher a killer’s M.O. sooner rather than later . . . or she can forget about finding poetic justice.

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About the author
Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan, lives outside Washington, D.C., an easy drive from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the setting for her culinary mysteries: By Cook or by Crook, Scam Chowder, Final Fondue, and The Tell-Tale Tarte. Her Five-Ingredient Mysteries feature a café manager and her grandfather. Each book includes five suspects, five clues, and Granddad’s five-ingredient recipes. Visit her website at, for more about the series and for trivia about mysteries.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Tell-Tale Tarte (print copy for US entries, e-book outside the US). The giveaway ends June 27, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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