Published December 1st 2015 by Kensington
Synopsis: 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!
My Review: Final Fondue is the third book in Maya Corrigan’s Five-Ingredient Mystery series. It is the first one I have read, but did not have any problem following the story. It could be read as a stand alone novel, but I am definitely going to go back and read the first two.
Val Deniston, the main character and protaganist, lives with her grandfather, Don Myer. He is taking an online course to become a private investigator as well as writing a cooking column for the local paper where he is known as “The Codger Cook”. He is not really a very good cook unless he uses Val’s recipes and minimizes the ingredients. This is where the series gets its name. The house they live in is old and needs some updating and repairs, so Val has convinces her grandfather to rent out the spare bedrooms to tourists coming to town for Bayport’s Tricentennial Festival. He ends up renting not only the spare rooms, but Val’s room as well to Jennifer, a bride-to-be and three members of the wedding party. The plan is to enjoy the festival and check out wedding venues during the weekend. Unfortunately for Val, she was supposed to stay with her fiancee and his family, but his mother had already invited guests, including her son’s ex-girlfriend, which is why she is staying at Val’s grandfather’s house.
The weeeknd takes an ugly turn when Val finds one of the bridesmaids strangled in her granddad’s back yard. This death is bad enough, but once Val realizes how much she looks like the deceased, especially in a crab hat, she is worried that maybe she was the intended victim. Her nemesis, Chef Henri La Farge, is in town and not only was he verbally abusive to her in front of many townspeople and festival goers, but it appears that he might be stalking her. But the bride, who also resembles the deceased, could also have been the intended victim. After being chased through the haunted corn maze, this theory seems to have some merit. With the police not finding the answers and Granddad wanting to practice what he has been learning, he and Val start investigating and hope to find the culprit before another body shows up.
I really enjoyed the interactions between Val and her grandfather. He is sometimes a little grumpy and short on patience, but he loves his granddaughter and it seems he will do everything he can to keep her safe. He is funny and brings levity to the story. Val’s love interest, Gunnar, was not in the story very much, but when he was, he seemed rather cantankerous and I am not sure how I feel about him at this point. I hope to see more of this relationship in the other books and that Val makes the right choices where her love life is concerned. Val also has some “baggage” from her past, being fired from her job, an ex-fiancee, and a car accident that the author weaves effortlessly into the story and the main mystery.
With the name of this series being the Five-Ingredient Mystery series, it would not be complete without some recipes. There are several included and two of them are definitely going to be tried in my kitchen, especially the beef stroganoff one. This series is a must for cozy mystery readers and especially those who love reading about food in the stories. I am looking forward to the rest in this series as well as the next one.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.