As picturesque Longley, New York, gets ready to ring in the holiday season, caterers Bernadette and Libby Simmons are coping with their busiest time of year. To top it off, they're recruited for a cooking show contest that pits celebrity chefs against each other and gives rise to murder. Original.
Visions of sugar plums are most decidedly not dancing in Libby's head—especially since she and her sister are set to appear on the Hortense Calabash Cooking Show. The premise is to give six professional caterers random ingredients and have them whip up a holiday meal. Bernie and Libby are thrown into the mix as arguments and accusations simmer on the set. Holiday spirit has left the building—and leaves a body—when Hortense, all dressed up as Santa Claus for the opening sequence, is killed by an exploding oven. It's soon clear that Hortense's demise was far from accidental. Now as Bernie and Libby stir up the past, they open up a king-sized can of motives. Each contestant had a previous run-in with the horrible Hortense, who engaged in blackmail, rumor-mongering, and illicit affairs at every turn...but which chef couldn't stand the heat? With the holiday rush in full swing and a killer still on the loose, the caterers of Christmas present have no choice but to wrap up the mystery before their geese are well and fully cooked.
Isis Crawford was born in Egypt to parents who were in the diplomatic corps. When she was five, her family returned to the States. Isis has combined her parents' love of food and travel by running a catering service as well as penning numerous travel articles. Married, with twin boys, she lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
"Frequent humor, a couple of little-old-lady Marxists, and several delicious recipes complete the cozy picture. Recommended for culinary mystery fans."