aut0215 is the winner of Maya’s book. Watch for an email from her!
I’m delighted to welcome back Maya Corrigan who is celebrating the release of Bake Offed. Her first book, By Cook or by Crook, came out a month before my first book. We’re both members of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and have done lots of fun events together!
Thank you, Sherry, for hosting my guest post today. I got to know Sherry through the Sisters in Crime Chesapeake Chapter and met the other Wickeds at mystery lovers’ conventions like Malice Domestic and Bouchercon. Bake Offed, my 8th Five-Ingredient Mystery, takes place at a similar gathering—the Maryland Mystery Fan Fest.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember where the inspiration for a story originated, but for Bake Offed, I can pin it down exactly. When the pandemic lockdown began in March of 2020, I was in San Diego at Left Coast Crime, a four-day gathering of mystery lovers. It ended on its first day, shut down by the health department to keep Covid from spreading. I suspected that the other mystery fan gatherings I planned to attend that year would also be canceled. So I decided to create a fictional one to fill in the gap. Sadly, that gap lasted two years.
The fictional Maryland Mystery Fan Fest includes panels, author signings, and a charity auction, like real mystery gatherings, but unlike them, it is the scene of a bake-off and a murder. My sleuths, café manager Val and her grandfather, are fest volunteers, recruited by Val’s best friend, an avid mystery reader who organized the weekend.
The fest starts with a Deadly Desserts Bake-Off, in which each contestant must play the part of a cook to a famous fictional detective and bake a dessert the detective would like. Val’s grandfather, a recipe columnist who refuses to make any dish with more than five ingredients, is given the challenging role of Nero Wolfe’s gourmet cook Fritz. After flipping through several of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, Granddad grumbles that all the dishes mentioned in the book have “scads of ingredients.” Then he discovers a unique item in the attic—a book-shaped recipe box that his mystery-loving aunt bequeathed him. Granddad is delighted to find a five-ingredient dessert recipe among the 34 recipes in the box. He’s even happier when he learns how valuable the box is. As one of only a thousand promotional gifts from Rex Stout’s 1938 publicity tour for Too Many Cooks, the box is prized by collectors. The current price for the recipe box in good condition is $3,750 plus shipping.
Granddad is up against stiff competition at the fest’s bake-off. A culinary arts graduate plays Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s manservant from the Dorothy Sayers books. Playing Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock Holmes’s landlady, is Cynthia Sweet. Granddad blames her for ripping off the five-ingredient theme of his Codger Cook column to use in her own recipe column and cookbook. But he isn’t the only one who has a beef with Cynthia. After the bake-off Granddad’s prized recipe box disappears and Cynthia is found dead in her hotel room next to a whistling teakettle.
Photo on left courtesy of: WFinch, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
How do readers at the fest who love a murder on the page react to a murder in their midst? Many assume it’s a murder game devised by festival organizers. Others come up with solutions derived from locked-room mysteries and Agatha Christie’s best-known plots. With a witness in jeopardy, and a killer familiar with every trick in the book to avoid detection, Val and Granddad must read between the lines to prevent another murder.
With nods to Holmes and Poirot, Bake Offed echoes classic mystery tropes—an unsolved murder in the past, disguises and false identities, wills and inheritances, and crime re-enactments. The book reflects my enthusiasm for mystery fan conventions. It’s dedicated to the organizers of those events, who make it possible for readers and writers to celebrate crime fiction together. Having this book come out in the year when those in-person events resumed is, to use a culinary cliché, the icing on the cake.
READERS: Mystery fan gatherings feature discussions of all types of crime fiction: from classics to cozies, historicals, thrillers, police procedurals, and private eye mysteries. What kind of crime books are your favorites?
I’ll send a signed copy (US only) of BAKE OFFED to one person who leaves a comment.
Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries featuring a café manager and her live-wire grandfather solving murders in a historical Chesapeake Bay town. Each book has five suspects, five clues, and Granddad’s five-ingredient recipes. A Virginia resident, Maya has taught courses in writing, detective fiction, and literature at Georgetown University and NOVA community college. When not reading and writing, she enjoys theater, travel, trivia, cooking, and crosswords.
Visit her website (https://mayacorrigan.com) for book news, mystery history and trivia, and easy recipes.
Sign up for her newsletter (https://www.mayacorrigan.com/newscontact.html). One subscriber wins a free book each time a newsletter goes out.
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Visit Kensington Books (https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/9781496734570/bake-offed/) for an excerpt of Bake Offed and Buy Links.
Welcome Mary Ann. I prefer cozy mysteries, but will read other genre.
Thank you, Dru. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the mystery convention we all love, Malice Domestic, in the spring!
I love cozies, especially if food is involved. The foodie in me appreciates the culinary genre because of the inclusion of recipes I can try.
Thanks for commenting, Brenda. I’m glad that you try the recipes from the mysteries. ~Maya
Energetic and enthusiastic scenario! I look forward to reading it.
I also like cozy mysteries but am always looking for new series and new authors to read. I belong to a mystery book club and we discuss books by a different author each month.
I’ve been a guest at several mystery book clubs, some in person and others virtually. The discussions are always stimulating. It’s fun to talk about mysteries with people who know and love them. ~Maya
I’ve read this series and love it! I like recipes with fewer ingredients as well! Mysteries keep me going . I read every night before bed and I am not happy if I have to skip reading!
Cozy mysteries for me! I like the surrounding story, town, characters and a happy ending!
I’m from Maryland and have read some of the other books in this series. I love to cook and bake, too, so I’d love to win this book!
This is such a great premise, Maya – the conference, the contest, the Nero Wolfe recipe box! Thanks for stopping by the Wickeds.
I enjoy cozies the most especially the foodie ones but I will read all types of suspense and mystery. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com
My favorite location for a Cozy is a Seaside town. Of course, the Chesapeake Bay works too. I just crossed the Bay Bridge Saturday and yesterday.
Crossing the Bay Bridge brings you to another world. The views over the water are wonderful. My favorite location to be is in a seaside town! ~Maya
Welcome, Maya! I love all types of mysteries.
Thank you, Liz. I also love various types of mysteries. ~Maya
I really love all the different types of mysteries and ping pong back and forth between cozies, traditional police procedurals, and thrillers. Thanks for the giveaway!
Welcome back and congratulations on the new book! I love how you incorporated the Nero Wolfe promo item! I love almost all crime fiction!
I love reading a variety of mystery genres. Nero Wolfe and Lord Peter Winsey are both old favorites, read them long before discovering cozies. Your book sounds delightful, I love that you used your sadness at the covid shutdown of conferences as inspiration.
Congratulations on the new release, Maya! I lean more toward cozy and traditional mysteries, especially those from and set in the thirties and forties. Cheers!
I like the mysteries from the first half of the 20th century too. Thanks for your comment, JC!
Thank you, Maya for your intriguing explanation of what inspired you to write BAKE OFFED! It always helps me to know as much about a book and its author. I am constantly reading Cozy Mysteries exclusively. There are so many amazing books, and I don’t know how much longer I will be above ground (maybe a murderer is plotting to kill me?), so I delight in reading just cozies. If the Cozies include recipes…well, then they are kept and re-read between new ones. Thank you for sharing your writing talents with us eager readers! Luis at ole dot travel
Thanks for commenting, Luis!
I like all types but my favorite is police procedurals. Probably because the first mysteries I read were Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series
Welcome to the Wickeds, Maya. I love traditional mysteries, with professional sleuth protagonists best of all, but read widely across the vast crime fiction genre.
Thanks for having me as a guest on the Wickeds. I’m also a huge fan of traditional mysteries.
I love fiction mysteries of any kind.
Love me some cozy reading, especially when there is a chill outside. Hot cup of tea, a warm blanket, and reading a cozy mystery ☺️ sometimes the recipes even inspire me to get out of the house to shop.
I read all genres to see if I like them but I do like cozy mysteries as long as long as their is a good plot and from your excerpt there is a good plot
I think I enjoy police procedurals, although I am not quite sure of the definition of the genre. I love Peter Lovesey! Thrillers and true crime has no appeal for this cozy reader.
I used to read all kinds of mysteries, but as I’ve gotten older, I find I prefer cozing up to cozies. Too much gore in the world.
I love the premise of Baked Offed, maybe because I love Nero Wolfe and his cookbook. 🙂
I also have the Nero Wolfe cookbook. Glad to hear you’re a fan too.
What a great premise! As someone who will read anything, even the back of a cereal box, I confess – I prefer mysteries, of all stripes and flavors.
This is bit of writing is intriguing alone, can you imagine the book. Fun. I think 5-5-5 is brilliant and a fabulous way to be distinctive. Every one I know would love to cook with 5 ingredients.
CONGRATULATIONS on your Book, bless for much success
Thank you, Kathy! ~Maya
I read mostly cozies, but also read other genres. Looking forward to reading “Baked Off”, sounds like a great book.
I like to read cozies
This is a fun fest to visit. Glad I could tag along with Val and Granddad. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)
As to my favorite? I think it’s obvious that I love cozies.
Thanks for reading the book, reviewing it, and commenting on it here, Mark..
I enjoy cozies and historical mysteries. Particularly with a woman protaganist.
I am addicted to crime and murder books in particular. I read true crime and I love suspense as well as cozy mysteries. Any of these are my favorites.
I used to love more hardboiled mysteries like John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee series, and I still love those books. I still love Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall, but nowadays, I like the cozies better. I have given up on gore, serial killers, etc. I just like good mysteries. I love Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Real detective mysteries.
I like the crime novels written by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler too. I won’t read anything that’s gory or involves harm to a child. As for serial killers, there are way too many in fiction, more than in real life fortunately. Thanks for commenting, Madeleine.~Maya
I love them all. If I have to pick one, I would say cozies are at the top of the list. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
I love any fiction crime/mystery book
Love them! Thanks for this chance.
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