This holiday season Bayport, Maryland, is a dead ringer for Victorian London. Val and her grandfather are taking part in the Dickens of a Holiday festival. Val is hosting a private tea party serving the festival’s costumed volunteers, who range from Dickens divas like Madame Defarge and Miss Havisham to Ebenezer Scrooge and old St. Nick himself.
But one costumed reveler may have gotten the holidays mixed up. The winner of the creepiest outfit, robed in black with a gift bag covering the head—okay, Ghost of Christmas Present, Val gets it—hands out gingerbread men with white icing skeleton bones. This year’s sour Santa has none of the big fellow’s mirth but plenty of his appetite, and it’s no secret Santa loves cookies. But when the man in red turns blue, Val and Granddad have a cookie-cutter killer to catch before the New Year . . .
Gingerdead Man is book seven in Maya Corrigan’s Five-Ingredient Mystery series, but while there is clearly some history between characters it didn’t take long to get to know the residents of Bayport. That said, I picked this one up specifically because I was after something Christmassy, and I’m not sure whether it was worth it for a Christmas read. I feel like its more Christmas adjacent – apart from the gingerbread, Santa being the first murder victim, and a few references to Christmas coming up, there wasn’t a lot of festive feeling in here (I don’t think we even hear about decorations or lights).
Lack of Christmas aside, I thought this was a fine cosy mystery. I enjoyed meeting Val and her grandad, and thought their relationship was fun. The suspects and red herrings and were all enjoyable and made for an entertaining enough story. I just think that overall, given the lack of Christmas, there wasn’t really a lot that stood out about this one compared to any other cosy mystery.
If you are looking for a Christmas cosy mystery that is more festive, I can recommend the Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries by Jacqueline Frost – you can see my review of Twelve Slays of Christmas here and ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas here.
Do you have a favourite cosy Christmas mystery? Drop your recommendations in the comments.
Gingerdead Man by Maya Corrigan
Out now from Kensington Books
Source: I received a free copy of the e-book from Kensington Books, via NetGalley.
Category: Cosy mystery, Christmsa-adjacent