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    Top-Notch Cozy

    A fresh plot, notable characters, engaging writing, and an intriguing mystery make S'MORE MURDERS a top-notch cozy. I loved the creative premise of this story, and the numerous possibilities presented kept me guessing until the final reveal. Although this book is part of a series, it reads fine as a standalone and could be enjoyed by any cozy fan. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.
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    A Five-Ingredient Mystery

    S’more Murders by Maya Corrigan is the fifth novel in A Five-Ingredient Mystery series. Val Dennison has been hired to cater a special dinner hosted by Otto Warbeck who is a collector of Titanic memorabilia. He wants Val to recreate the last dinner served on the Titanic on his yacht, Abyss. It is a ten-course meal for eight guests and he insists it be held in a few days on Saturday, April 14 (the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking). Val is reluctant to take this particular job, but the money she will earn will pay for the repairs needed to Granddad’s home (those blasted termites). On Saturday Val, Bethany and Granddad board the Abyss and begin their dinner preparations while the yacht heads out into open water. Bethany oversees the s’more appetizers requested by Otto’s wife, Cheyenne. After they sit down for dinner, Otto announces he has created a mystery game for them to play while they eat (he even has scripts). The water becomes choppy due to a storm, the pilot of the yacht is in distress and Otto cannot be found. Val, with the help of her friends, dives into the case. There are eight suspects with motive to harm the victim. Val wades through the clues with the hopes of spearing a killer. S’more Murders is nicely written, and it has some interesting characters. I find that Grandad (Don Myer) steals the show from Val. He is an eccentric and gregarious older gentleman with a zest for life. Val came across as bland and I am not a fan of her boyfriend, Gunnar. Gunnar is an amateur actor who wishes to expand his skills. He is contemplating a change and Val wonders how she will fit in with his plans. Personally, I would wish Gunnar good luck on his new venture and look for a boyfriend who is more compatible. I would like to see the author flesh out Val’s character and have her grow as a person. The mystery was intriguing with multiple suspects and misdirection. I think that many readers will be surprised when the full solution is revealed. I could have done with less speculation and rehashing of the clues (it gets old). I did find the pace to be a little slow, and I had trouble staying invested in the story (my attention wandered). Val whips up some delectable foods in the story and the descriptions will have your mouth watering (and your stomach growling). I like how friends and family come together to help and care for each other. S’more Murders can be read alone if you are new to the series. Welcome aboard Val’s high seas adventure in S’more Murders.
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