Cover Image: Easter Basket Murder

Easter Basket Murder

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Do you like to read holiday themed books? I read this delightful collection of Easter mysteries in the week leading up to Easter. I’m trying to catch up on my reviews and am just now posting my review on the third Sunday of Easter. At least I’m still in the Easter season?

This book had three easter mystery themed novellas in it. I loved their short length. It kept the action moving without getting bored. I enjoyed all three stories, and they were a perfect read in the week before Easter. The stories were as follows:

Easter Basket Murder by Leslie Meier
Tinker Cove’s chamber of commerce has put together an Easter themed promotion to help local businesses. If you get stamps from all of the businesses on a card, you have a chance to win a fabulous Easter basket which contains a one-of-a-kind Easter egg by a famous and reclusive artist. When the egg is stolen, and a murder occurs, will reporter Lucy Stone be able to crack the case?

Death by Easter Egg by Leslie Hollis
After the Easter bunny is found dead after eating a peanut butter egg that he is allergic to from her grandson’s easter basket, Hayley Powell is determined to clear her young grandson’s name. Will she discover who really murdered the Easter bunny and why?

Hopped Along by Barbara Ross
On a remote island in Maine, Julie Snowden has been rehabbing a mansion that will soon open as a resort. She is startled to find a dead body in the garden, that soon disappears. Is this an April Fool’s Day joke or is something else afoot?

I enjoyed all three stories equally, which is rare to find in a collection. They were all amusing mysteries that caused me to laugh out loud at times. They also made me feel old when I realized that Hayley Powell, the grandmother detective in Death by Easter Egg is my age. My oldest is just graduating from high school and I hadn’t thought of myself in a grandmotherly way yet. The mystery plot in all three novellas was interesting and had great conclusions. I loved the three main heroines. I have not read any of these authors before, but I think I need to investigate more cozy mysteries by all three as I enjoyed these so much.

Overall, Easter Basket Murder is a great collection of Easter themed cozy mystery novellas that I highly recommend if you are looking for a holiday read and intriguing cozy mysteries.

Book Source: Review copy from NetGalley. Thank-you! Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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A cozy collection of Easter mysteries set against the backdrop of coastal maine. Each mystery id filled with holiday charm and romance. Each story is cleverly crafted with the holiday theme, and present a treat to the reader.
Many thanks to Kensington and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Here comes the Easter Bunny. Three separate tales of murder in Maine.
Easter Basket Murder by Leslie Meier
The small town of Tinker’s Cove comes up with a way to drive business to their local stores, but is everyone on board? Part of the prize is stolen and reporter Lucy Stone investigates.
Death by Easter Egg by Lee Hollis
The Easter Bunny comes to Bar Harbor, Maine, but meets an untimely end. Who would want to kill the Easter Bunny? Island Food & Spirits columnist and restauranteur Hayley Powell follows the clues and cracks the case.

Hopped Along by Barbara Ross
Celebrating Easter with family and friends on a remote Maine Island, Julie Snowden’s nephew hunting for Easter eggs finds the Easter Bunny dead in the abandoned garden, but when Julie goes to looking the Easter Bunny has disappeared. Julie now has a mystery to solve.

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Princess Fuzzypants here: I do enjoy these anthologies with three novellas from popular cozy authors. All the stories are set in Maine, which, as a Maine Coon cat works for me. We have three very different stories that all revolve around an Easter Basket. In one, reporter Lucy becomes embroiled in a missing egg sculpture and the unkempt and quirky artist who made it. In the second, restauranteur Hayley’s peaceful existence is thrown upside down by the arrival of her grandson whose behaviour could give the terrible twos a bad name. And finally, Julia and her family open up the island that will host their clambakes only to discover one body that disappears and then another one that doesn’t because the person is deceased. Each story has a murder that our heroines must solve.

All three are quick and entertaining reads that further along the story lines set up in the primary novels. It is a good way to build reader loyalty to the characters. I can say that these trilogies never fail to please. Four purrs and two paws up.

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I am a sucker for these author trio books. I enjoyed all three Easter themed mysteries. I highly recommend this one!

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Kensington Books brings us another delightful seasonal trio of novellas perfect for the upcoming Easter holiday, this time featuring three of my favorite cozy mystery authors!

Leslie Meier opens the collection with the title story. Intrepid reporter Lucy Stone is covering the latest initiative by the Tinker’s Cove Chamber of Commerce to drum up foot traffic for local retailers. Participating stores will be handing out Easter egg stickers for every in-person purchase of at least ten dollars. These stickers can be affixed to cards, with complete cards of ten stickers eligible to enter a raffle for an Easter basket prize. The basket contains the usual chocolates and gift certificates but also features a contribution from famous and eccentric local sculptor Karl Klaus: a gilded egg potentially worth thousands of dollars.

When the egg unexpectedly goes missing from where it’s being displayed, Lucy gets on the case. There are several retailers whose fondness for this latest initiative has been decidedly lackluster: could one of them have stolen the egg in an effort to humiliate the organizers? As scandal rears its ugly head in Tinker’s Cove, Lucy must race to stop a thief from perpetrating the ultimate crime.

The second novella, Lee Hollis’ Death By Easter Egg, has chaos descending on Hayley Powell’s already busy life when she hosts her son Dustin, his girlfriend MacKenzie and their two year-old Eli for Easter. Eli is a terror, but Hayley hopes to channel some of his energies into an Easter Egg hunt at the local school. When she finds that he’s absconded with an Easter Basket full of candy that doesn’t belong to him, she isn’t too worried initially… until she finds an Epipen in the bottom. Knowing that this basket likely belongs to Raymond Dobbs, the town’s long-standing Easter Bunny with a well known fatal allergy to peanuts, she hurries to return it to him. Alas, she’s too late. Ray has fallen victim to anaphylactic shock from unknowingly eating peanut butter-filled chocolates from the wrong basket. Someone has clearly gone to a lot of trouble to switch out his basket for a fatal one, and Hayley is going to find out who, if only to assuage Dustin and MacKenzie’s conscience at not better disciplining their tearaway child.

The final story here is Hopped Along by Barbara Ross. Julia Snowden is thrilled at the progress being made on restoring her family’s Windsholme Island, just off the coast of Maine and a short boat ride away from their mainland home in Busman’s Harbor. Her family is eager to celebrate the island’s imminent inhabitability with a small Easter celebration for their nearest and dearest. When Julia finds a dead body in the garden, however, the festivities come to a screeching halt. Things only get weirder when the body disappears after she runs for help. Is a killer playing a twisted game with the Snowden family, or is something far stranger afoot?

All of these novellas felt like seamless continuations of the series they come from, and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them as a brief visit to fictional settings I already know and love. If you’re not yet familiar with these authors and their excellent series, however, I strongly urge you to pick up this volume to get a small sampling of their highly entertaining works.

There were seven food and drinks recipes included here, and since there’s rarely a time I’m not craving potatoes, I decided to try out this one, from Death By Easter Egg:

French Onion Potato Casserole

3 pounds potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1 cup half and half
1 whole package Lipton French Onion Soup mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your potatoes into ¼-inch slices (I use a food processor). You want them all to be pretty much the same size.

In a large bowl, whisk the sour cream, half and half, and soup mix. Add the sliced potato and one cup of the cheddar cheese and mix until well combined.

Pour into a three quart casserole dish or 13x9 pan and spread to fit pan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Remove from oven and check to see if potatoes are soft. If not, cover and place back in oven until soft.

When done, remove from oven and add the rest of the shredded cheese and place back in the oven for 10 to 15 more minutes until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown.

Remove from oven, then let sit for 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

This is such a delicious variation on scalloped potatoes, especially if you love the taste of sour cream and onions, as my family does. And while you can eat this on its own, it makes an excellent side dish with just about any protein and vegetable. As with any casserole, the hardest part is the preparation: I just slice my potatoes thinly and consider most of the effort done. The finished dish also keeps quite well in the refrigerator for leftovers.

Next week, we head to the midwest to bake up another scrumptious treat while trying to figure out who would want to frame our heroine for murder. Do join me!

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Three great mysteries by three great authors. While I am familiar with Barbara Ross' series, I will have to check out Meier's and Hollis' series.

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What a fun read this was for Easter/Spring! All three cozy mysteries were interesting and atmospheric. It was my first time reading anything from Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross. Lee Hollis’ story confused me at first since the story was interjected with her articles she writes as a columnist, but it didn’t take away from the main story. I absolutely loved Barbara Ross’ story and I will be adding her series to my TBR. <i>Like I need more books on my TBR or another series to read!</i>

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

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I selected this book because of the Leslie Meier and realized that I loved all three of the mysteries in this book. As I expected Leslie Meire's story drew me in quickly and I stayed because I love her writing style. If one wants try a shorter version of any of the these author's books, I highly recommend this one!

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Another great book of novellas! My favorite story was the Hayley Powell by Lee Hollis. It had more of an Easter theme and family feel. The most intriguing story was by Barbara Ross. I’ve read a few of the Maine Clambake series and this one was an excellent addition to the series. The Lucy Stone was also good and was centered around the holiday. A cozy reader can’t go wrong with these stories! Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for the ARC.

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Once again, another outstanding trio of holiday-themed cozy novellas from some superb cozy mystery authors, all set in Maine.

Leslie Meier, one of my favorite cozy authors, contributed Easter Basket Murder, a clever story featuring a missing golden egg, a prize in an Easter basket raffle. It's always fun to encounter the characters in this long-running cozy series.

Death by Easter Egg, by Lee Hollis, offers a fun look at the town's annual Easter egg hunt and the lead character's energetic two year old grandson, but, of course, there's a murder.

Hopped Along, by Barbara Ross, presents a delightful, clever novella where, early on, the sleuth's six-year old nephew announces to her that the Easter Bunny was dead in the vegetable patch.

It's always interesting to see how these authors write for the holiday theme and, once again, they hit a home run with their stories.

Highly recommended to cozy fans!!

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This set of 3 novellas focuses on stories with an Easter link. In Leslie Meier's Easter Basket Murder, the main prize in the Easter Basket raffle goes missing. Then the stolen golden egg is found & the alleged culprit commits suicide. Reporter Lucy is not convinced about the motives and continues to investigate.

In Lee Hollis' Death by Easter Egg, Hayley takes her hyper 2-year old grandson to the annual Bar Harbor Easter Egg hunt. The tyke goes missing & Hayley finds him with an easter basket with candy & an Epipen that belongs to the man playing the Easter bunny who is found dead from an allergic reaction.

Barbara Ross' Hopped Along has Julia's nephew finding a body in the Windsholme garden. But when the officials arrive, the body has vanished. This was a clever story about 2 men playing the same role.

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and Kensington Books. All opinions are my own.

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This book contains three cozy mystery novellas written by three authors: Leslie Meier of the Lucy Stone Mysteries; Lee Hollis of the Hayley Powell Food & Cocktail Mysteries; and Barbara Ross of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Each story takes place in Maine around Easter and features an Easter festivity.


Easter Basket Murder

Businesses in Tinker's Cove, Maine are losing sales to online shopping. To help local merchants, the Chamber of Commerce organizes a promotion in which residents who shop locally can enter a drawing for a deluxe Easter basket. The basket, which will be displayed in Seamen's Bank, contains chocolate candy, gift certificates, luxury products, and a golden egg sculpture by the famous artist Karl Klaus. Reporter/amateur sleuth Lucy Stone is writing a story about the business promotion, and takes photos when Klaus comes to the bank to put the golden egg in the Easter basket. Klaus is a talented artist, but he's an eccentric slob with a bad attitude.

Unfortunately, the golden egg goes missing from the Easter basket, and the brouhaha surrounding the theft leads to murder. On top of that, artist Klaus gets evicted from his home by a scurrilous con artist. Chasing a few scoops - and being a concerned citizen - Lucy investigates the egg theft and the homicide, and tries to help Klaus resolve his dire situation.


Death By Easter Egg

Hayley Powell of Bar Harbor, Maine owns an upscale eatery called Hayley's Kitchen, which is currently offering a month-long prix fixe Easter Dinner that's attracting diners in droves. At the same time, Hayley and her husband Bruce have visitors: their son Dustin, Dustin's girlfriend MacKenzie, and the couple's toddler Eli, an adorable little boy who's a fount of energy and mischief.

In the course of her usual business day, Hayley goes to the bank to deposit the receipts from her restaurant and tries to joke around with her old friend, the bank guard Raymond Dobbs. Raymond seems sullen, though, and things get even more tense when wealthy bank client Natalie Van Dyke discovers that someone robbed her safety deposit box. Natalie is angry and threatening to sue.

The next weekend is the annual Easter egg hunt at Emerson Conners Middle School, and Hayley's grandson Eli is very excited about the event. The toddler gets especially hepped up when the Easter Bunny (bank guard Raymond Dobbs in a bunny costume) strides into the school with a big basket of chocolate eggs. As it happens, Harold's basket also contains his EpiPen, which the bank guard always keeps close because he's deathly allergic to peanuts.

A little while later, mischievous Eli is found in a side room with Raymond's basket of chocolate eggs, which stills holds the EpiPen. Shockingly, Raymond's dead body is found in another room, with a basket of peanut butter/chocolate eggs and no EpiPen. It seems the baskets got switched somehow. Hayley doesn't want young Eli to be blamed for Raymond's death so she sets out to discover what really happened. It seems everyone in town knew about Raymond's allergy, so the suspect pool includes everyone at the Easter egg hunt. Thus Lucy has to suss out the motive and the means.


Hopped Along

Julia Snowden works for the Snowden family clambake business, which is hosted out of Windsholme Mansion on Morrow Island, Maine. The mansion and it's outbuildings were recently renovated, and - before clambake season starts - the grounds are being used for an Easter egg hunt. Julia's 6-year-old nephew Jack is happily hunting Easter eggs when he gets excited about seeing the 'Easter Bunny.' Perplexed, Julia searches the grounds and sees an unconscious man in a full morning suit - striped slacks, black tailcoat, vest, etc. - lying in the grass.

Julia hurries to get her boyfriend, Maine State Police Detective Tom Flynn, but the well-dressed gent is gone. Julia later finds the elegant man preparing a meal in the home of her friend Quentin Tupper, who's away on the Côte d’Azur. The stranger explains that his name is Alfred Minucci, that Quentin is his former employer, and that he's been given permission to stay in the house for a few days.. Alfred also confides that he has a tendency to faint.

A few days later, Alfred is murdered in Quentin's house, and Julia hears talk of ANOTHER fellow in a full morning suit roaming around the area. All this is quite puzzling and Julia helps the police investigate.

This novella is the most complex in the collection, and the most romantic, since it features Julia and her boyfriend Tom; Julia's mother Jaqueline and her beau Captain George; and Julia's friend Zoey and her fiancé Jamie Dawes. A scene where family and friends are sharing a delicious Easter dinner is charming (and mouth-watering).

The story 'Death By Easter Egg' contains several recipes, including: scalloped potatoes; French onion potato casserole; and marinated grilled lamb.

These are enjoyable quick reads featuring popular cozy mystery characters.

Thanks to Netgalley; Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross; and Kensington Books for a copy of the book.

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Book Review: "Easter Basket Murder" by Leslie Meier

In the delightful collection of Easter-themed capers set in coastal Maine, "Easter Basket Murder" showcases the talent of three renowned cozy mystery writers - Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross. As readers put on their springtime best and grab a basket, they are thrust into a world where Easter egg hunting takes an unexpected turn towards danger and intrigue.

The book weaves together a series of mysteries that are as charming as they are suspenseful, featuring fan-favorite sleuths from the long-running bestselling cozy mystery series. Each author brings their unique storytelling style to the collection, creating a diverse range of plots and characters that are sure to captivate readers.


⭐⭐⭐ Stars

In Tinker's Cove, businesses are at odds over an Easter Basket-themed promotion aimed at increasing in-store sales. Conflict arises when a valuable golden egg, created by a reclusive Maine artist, is stolen. Part-time reporter Lucy Stone takes on the task of investigating three struggling entrepreneurs who become suspects in the theft. As Lucy delves deeper into the case, a seemingly harmless shopping spree takes a sinister turn when a murder occurs, forcing her to prevent the killer from striking again and uncovering a town scandal in the process.

My thoughts…In all honesty, I must admit that Lucy isn't my favorite character in this book series. I tend to steer clear of the full-length books featuring her, but I found her more bearable in these novellas. This one was decent. It had an engaging plot with plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing. Admittedly, there wasn't as much investigating as I would have liked, but overall, I still found it enjoyable. Surprisingly, Lucy wasn't as annoying and preachy in this one, which made the reading experience more pleasant than I had anticipated.


⭐⭐ Stars

The storyline revolves around Hayley Powell, a columnist and restaurateur in Bar Harbor, preparing for an egg hunt with her grandson Eli. However, the festivities take a dark turn when a peanut butter treat leads to the death of the Easter bunny. Hayley finds herself in the midst of a murder mystery and must unravel the clues to prevent further harm.

My thoughts…Out of the three novellas in the series, this one didn't quite hit the mark for me. I'm a fan of the series overall, but one thing that bugs me is how the author keeps throwing in these flashbacks right in the middle of the action. It totally messes with the flow of the story, and that was especially true for this novella. It just made it hard for me to stay engaged and really get into the plot.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Stars

In "Julia Snowden’s Easter Sunday at Windsholme," a picturesque mansion on a secluded Maine island, the festive atmosphere is disrupted when a dead body is found in the garden, only to disappear mysteriously. This unexpected turn of events transforms a simple Easter egg hunt into a perilous quest for the truth. Armed with just a copy of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, Julia must unravel the puzzle to determine whether she is unwittingly entangled in a murderer's sinister scheme.

My thoughts…Out of the three stories I read, this one totally won me over. It had a pretty decent plot that had me hooked, a mystery that kept me on my toes, characters I actually liked, and a cool setting that I could picture myself in. Two thumbs up - definitely my fave of the bunch.

⚠️This review was written based on personal opinions and experiences with the book. Individual preferences may vary⚠️

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"Easter Basket Murder" is a charming cozy mystery that will appeal to fans of the genre. With its engaging characters, picturesque setting, and well-crafted plot, it's the perfect addition to any mystery lover's bookshelf.

While the mysteries itself may not be the most complex or challenging, it's the journey rather than the destination that makes this book a joy to read. The Author's writing's are witty and engaging, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers entertained.

Highly recommend.

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This consists of three short stories. The first is Easter Basket Murder by Leslie Meier. Tinker's Cove is holding a raffle for an Easter basket. The main prize in the basket goes missing and Lucy being the reporter she is, sees a story and is determined to solve the mystery.
The second is Death by Easter Egg by Lee Hollis. Bar Harbor has their annual egg hunt and Hayley takes her grandson to the event. He finds an easter basket with candy that Hayley notices belongs to the man playing the Easter bunny. When she goes to return the basket, she finds him dead. This was a cute short story and I really enjoyed reading about Hayley's grandson.
The last is Hopped Along by Barbara Ross. Julia finds a dead body in the garden by Windsholme. There is some confusion as to who the dead body is, and Julia is determined to get to the bottom of it.

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I read Leslie Meier’s series, featuring amateur sleuth Lucy Stone. In this series, and this installment she continues to grow and expand her horizons. That’s what keeps this series from becoming too repetitive!

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This was a fun cozy mystery read! I love that you get three stories for the price of one!
Easter Basket Murder-
I always enjoy a good Lucy Stone Mystery! This one shows Lucy’s compassionate side as she helps local artist Karl Klaus get his life back in order. The ending was full of surprises and adventure.
Death by Easter Egg-
This book was about an empty safe deposit box, plumbing problems, and a dead Easter Bunny. The plot is complex as the reader has to put the pieces together to figure out how all three events are related. This story also includes recipes for potato dishes. Gotta love a new recipe to try!
Hopped Along-
This was my favorite of the three cozies. It had the best storyline that kept me guessing what happened! The characters are complex but charming. The story ended abruptly, which was a disappointment, but had a happy ending. I am excited to read the next book in the series! This book also includes a recipe for cooking lamb.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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I love cozy mysteries and surprisingly, this was my first in the Leslie Meier series about Lucy Stone with two additional stories by Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross.
The Lee Hollis story follows Hayley Powell in the Food and Cocktails series (including seasonal recipes) and the Barbara Ross story follows Juliana Snowden of the Maine Clambake series. All of them are tied together by their Maine settings.
I don’t feel as if readers need to have read the rest of any of the three series to enjoy this collection.
My favorite of the three was the Lucy Stone mystery following the part time reporter as she investigates small town businesses after a theft and murder. Great for fans of Tonya Kappes.
The Lee Hollis title was more difficult for me to follow and I found the flashbacks to be confusing. (This may have been helped with some background or previous reading of the series.) Food themed cozy mystery enthusiasts will love the included recipes.
The final Barbara Ross story was more suspenseful than the first two and a real page turner with plenty of clues as well as twists and turns.
Overall a wonderful collection to celebrate Easter and spring that is sure to be popular with seasonal readers.

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