Three tales of mayhem-by-eggnog penned by Maine boosters Ross, Hollis, and Meier.
Hollis and Meier go full-throttle, with victims succumbing to shock after chugging the holiday treat. In Meier’s novella, which furnishes the collection’s title, nut-allergic Dorcas Philpott meets her end after drinking eggnog made with almond milk. Reporter Lucy Stone (British Manor Murder, 2016, etc.) has little sympathy for the deceased since the greedy cow shouldn’t have been drinking anything that fattening to begin with. (Hearty appetites are acceptable only for the svelte Stones, who spend much of the holiday complaining about eldest daughter Elizabeth, home from her job in Paris, who wants to feed the family tiny French-style meals.) But Lucy fears that the fatal bottle of eggnog may have been meant for her friend Phyllis Lundgren’s husband, Wilf, so she investigates anyway. The victim in Hollis’ Death by Eggnog is even less appealing than Dorcas. Librarian Agatha Farnsworth browbeats employees, threatens patrons, and terrorizes children until she’s dispatched by eggnog containing real milk, which triggers her dairy allergy. Hayley Powell (Death of a Pumpkin Carver, 2016, etc.) hunts Farnsworth’s killer, who proves considerably more devious than the food critic would have imagined. In Nogged Off, Ross gives readers a welcome break from anaphylaxis. Imogen Geinkes doesn’t kill anyone with her concoction; she just gives all her co-workers food poisoning. Out of a job, Imogen can’t take over the lease on Julia Snowden’s New York apartment. But she does persuade gentle Julia (Fogged Inn, 2016, etc.) to bring her home to spend the holiday in Busman’s Harbor. The trip proves chaotic and ultimately deadly, but quick-thinking Julia finally restores order.
Heavy on cream and light on plot, this trio is most likely to appeal to fans of eggnog and coastal Maine.