Paying guests are a major headache for a small-town cook and her grandfather.
Val Deniston had urged her granddad, locally known as the Codger Cook, to rent out his extra rooms for the Bayport Tricentennial Festival. Now she’s not so sure it was a good decision. Val moved to the lovely Chesapeake Bay area after being forced out of her job as a cookbook publicist and dumping her unfaithful boyfriend in New York City. The houseguests, who’ve gathered to plan Jennifer Brown’s wedding, include two bridesmaids, Fawn Finchley and Sarina Rafael, and best man Noah Hurdly. Oddly, Payton Grandsire’s mother couldn’t make room for her son’s fiancee in her own home, though she did manage to accommodate a favored former girlfriend. When Fawn is found strangled in the backyard, Val and her grandfather slip into sleuthing mode. They’ve already solved several murders (Scam Chowder, 2015, etc.), and granddad is taking a course to become a private detective. As they follow the clues, Val also has to cope with the presence of (1) her former boyfriend, who’s come to Bayport to see her; (2) the celebrity chef who was instrumental in her job loss, now in town to judge a cooking contest; and (3) her mother, who suddenly arrives with serious doubts about Val’s new boyfriend. The intergenerational sleuths dredge up several interesting questions about old and new relationships among members of the wedding party. But Val wonders whether Fawn was mistaken for someone else, perhaps herself.
Corrigan keeps her simple mixture of pleasant characters, murder, and recipes in the oven just a little too long to be truly tasty.