Tag Archives: Maya Corrigan

A day in the life with Val Deniston by Maya Corrigan

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 mayacorrigan.com, 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!

Buy Link

My Musing ~ The Tell-Tale Tarte by Maya Corrigan

The Tell-Tale Tarte by Maya Corrigan is the fourth book in the “Five Ingredients” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, June 27, 2017

It s a cold January in the Chesapeake Bay area, but Cool Down Cafe 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.

Includes 6 delicious five-ingredient recipes!

I love this book with its five-ingredient recipes and five clues that blends together perfectly to bring me a delightfully engaging whodunit that whets my appetite for more stories. The story was set at a comfortable pace that flowed easily from chapter to chapter keeping me engrossed in all that was happening as Val sought to clear her boyfriend’s name and protect her grandfather from an unknown killer. This well-written mystery was nicely done with a homage to Poe in how certain characters were portrayed and where everyone was suspect. Adding strategically placed twists and turns enhanced the telling of this tale and making this one of the best book in this endearing series.

Buy Link


FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

My Musing ~ Final Fondue by Maya Corrigan

Final Fondue by Maya Corrigan is the third book in the “Five-Ingredient” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, July 2016

Final FondueVal 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!

This was an enjoyable read with a well-executed plot that grabbed me immediately and I couldn’t put this book down until the last page was read. The mystery begins at Val’s granddad’s house and escalates when one of the guest is murdered and Val gets out her sleuthing cap and thus the adventure begins. An ex-husband, her current boyfriend and her mother’s visits occupies Val’s time as she seeks clues that will unmask a killer. The author did a very good job in presenting this tale that boasts a likable cast, a comforting atmosphere and engaging dialogue.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from the author.

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.

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.

My Musing ~ Cook or by Crook by Maya Corrigan

By Cook or by CrookBy Cook or by Crook by Maya Corrigan is the first book in the new “Five-Ingredient” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, November 2014

Take one burned-out city girl. Add a crusty codger, a pinch of gossip, and a dash of romance. Stir in a generous helping of murder and you’ve got the ingredients for one truly delicious mystery. . .

Haunted by the car accident that ended her career as a cookbook publicist, Val Deniston has traded in the chaos of New York City for a quieter life near the Chesapeake Bay. Living with her curmudgeonly grandfather in the tourist town of Bayport is hardly glamorous, but she enjoys working at the Cool Down Café at the local fitness club, and she finally has time to work on her long-planned cookbook. But when one of the club’s patrons is found dead, she’ll have to cook up a scheme to find the killer. As the number of suspects rises like crabs in a bucket, it’s out of the pan and into the fire for Val. If she can’t find the culprit soon, she might as well be chum in the water. . .

Includes Five Delicious Recipes from Val’s Cookbook!

This was a very enjoyable read that began when Val set out to clear her cousin’s name and reputation and from there came twists and turns amid a cluster of suspects who had a stronger motive. A well-designed plot that kept me glued to the pages was easy to follow and I especially enjoyed the five-ingredient dishes that were part of the scripted dialogue. The cast in this friendly whodunit is likable with a sense of comfort from living in a small town. With new beginnings for the heroine, I look forward to the next book in this pleasantly charming series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

A Day in the Life of Val Deniston by Maya Corrigan

By Cook or by CrookIf anyone had told me on my thirty-first birthday that a year later I’d be living with my grandfather in his ramshackle Victorian near the Chesapeake Bay, I’d have just laughed. Why would a woman with a drop-dead gorgeous fiancé and a dream job as a cookbook publicist leave Manhattan for a town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore? Impossible to imagine . . . until the fiancé and the job both went sour in a single weekend.

But I don’t want to talk about that. I have a new life in a historic town filled with tourists and retirees. They come here from Washington and Baltimore for boating, birding, fishing, antiquing, and hunting. They also come for the clean air with a salty tinge, the peaceful vistas over the water, and the local food—a fresh catch from the bay and the bounty from nearby farms.

Speaking of food . . . Besides catering to my crusty grandfather, I run the Cool Down Café at the Bayport Racket and Fitness Club. Stop by sometime. The café’s open for breakfast and lunch, serving homemade granola and biscotti, smoothies, salads, and sandwiches. I also make cookies and pies to replenish the calories that the exercise junkies have just worked off. The food is fresh and the conversation lively.

On a typical day, after I close the café, I work on my long-planned cookbook. My recipes use many fewer ingredients than celebrity chefs require for their gourmet creations. The average person can whip up any of my recipes in less time than it takes to watch a TV cooking show. But this wasn’t a typical day. I didn’t get to spend hours in the kitchen where my grandmother taught me to cook and where I feel closest to her in spirit.

When I first moved here, I figured Bayport would be deadly dull. Well, as of today, I’m half-right. Deadly, yes. Dull, no. This morning I found a body, a club member and café patron murdered with a bizarre and yet strangely apt weapon. I’d wager my second-best copper pan that no one else has ever been killed like that. Not even the writers of Castle have hit on this wacky way to dispose of someone. The murder method points clearly to a killer from the racket and fitness club, probably one of my café patrons.

Bethany, who helps me out in the café, told me I should solve the crime. She said, “The police here direct traffic and keep the tourists happy. What do they know about murder? Nobody ever gets murdered here. You lived in New York, and they have murders there all the time.” I hated to disillusion her, but during my ten years in the city, I never saw a dead body.

By nightfall, I was beginning to think Bethany was right. The police were focusing their investigation on the wrong person, a woman I’d go out on a limb to prove innocent. Also someone tried to kill me and make it look like an accident. Everyone told me I was paranoid, including the police. Then there’s the guy who showed up in town the day before the murder and came back today. I kinda like him even though my grandfather doesn’t trust him and says he looks like a hit man.

This wasn’t a typical day for Granddad either. Usually he watches old movies. Today he decided for the first time in 77 years to bake a cake and nearly collapsed from inhaling the smoke in the oven. His sudden urge to cook strikes me as suspicious. Maybe tomorrow I’ll solve that mystery and figure out who murdered someone with a . . . Sorry. Gotta go. The chief suspect is at my door.


You can read more about Val in By Cook or By Crook, the first book in the new Five-Ingredient Mystery Series, published by Kensington.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 11 for the chance to win a copy of BY COOK OR BY CROOK. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
Maya Corrigan lives near Washington, D.C., within easy driving distance of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the setting for MayaCher Five-Ingredient Mystery series. 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 short stories published under her full name of Mary Ann Corrigan. Her website features trivia and quizzes on mysteries.

Visit Maya at her website or on Facebook