Muffin to Fear
Victoria Hamilton     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Merry Muffin Mystery
Book: 5

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle…

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry's home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it's a miracle they get a show produced at all. 

It all goes from bad to worse when the show's psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry's property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.


Merry Wynter's personal life has taken an exciting turn, but upon returning home from New York City to Wynter Castle, she learns the honeymoon is definitely over. Merry is shocked to find cars and strangers all over the castle grounds. Her friend Pish is like a father to her, but Merry is not happy about the explanation she gets from him. While she was out of town, Pish arranged for the reality show "Haunt Hunt" to inspect the castle for evidence of spirits. Now cast and crew members are there ready to shoot their next sensational episode. Things get out of hand when the show runners try to focus on a recent murder at the castle instead of the property’s history, but they get even worse when one of the cast members is murdered. To speed the departure of the “Haunt Hunt” team, Merry launches her own investigation to find the murderer.

I haven't read all of the books in this series, but am familiar with the main characters of the book. However, the author gives enough background information on Merry, her friends, and the castle that new readers will feel welcome in Merry's world. Past books will have more detail showing Merry's relationship with the other characters, but you need not have read the prior books to enjoy this one. Merry's friends are unique and some are a little eccentric, but all are entertaining.

This book uses the scenario of a reality show taping, which I've seen in a few other cozy mysteries. I like this trend because it's something that's relatable, fun, and throws people together that ordinarily wouldn't interact. It also provides plenty of conflict and possible suspects. "Muffin to Fear" has all the elements needed for the perfect murder mystery - a castle, the rumor of ghosts, a large cast of characters with many secrets, and an obnoxious victim who has made many enemies. The characters associated with the reality show aren't very likeable, but this gives Merry several potential suspects to investigate. The book is entertaining and the solution is unexpected and a little unusual. The way things end in Merry’s personal life should provide even more opportunities for Merry to use her investigative skills in future books. Rounding out the end of the book are a few recipes for dishes mentioned throughout the book.

~ Christine