Nothing says Thanksgiving like food and murder. If you've ever thought about knocking off Uncle Seymour when he grabs the last slice of pumpkin pie or you think the turkey might be giving you the evil eye, this is the anthology for you!
Authors Barb Goffman, Stephanie Beck, Laird Long, Beth Mathison, Earl Staggs, Lance Zarimba, Lesley A. Diehl, Jack Bates and Kathleen Gerard bring you servings of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes with a dash of mystery and a hearty helping of humor.
You may still have to deal with the in-laws, but this anthology may make Aunt Esmerelda's green bean casserole a bit more tolerable to handle.
Growing up, Thanksgiving for me was all about plunking down in front of the television and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Fantastic balloons, the entire gang of Sesame Street on a float, marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus bringing up the rear. That's not to say the food wasn't a big part of it either. When I was much younger, the idea of a table laden with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie was enough to make my tummy sing out in happiness.
With age comes clarity, and I'm afraid that over time I became disillusioned with the whole day. I started to realize that the Thanksgiving Parade was really nothing more than one giant sales gimmick. I learned that a turkey wasn't a magical food, but something people argued over in the frozen poultry section at the local Safeway or Publix or other regional supermarket. The stuffing was invariably Stove-Top and not some delicious concoction made from scratch. I found out why the cranberry sauce has the ridges, which is because Ocean Spray doesn't make a ridgeless can. And although Sara Lee is probably a very nice woman, the idea of a pie being thaw-and-serve leaves me feeling pretty empty. We won't even get into the whole “gosh-I-wish-the-family-would-go-home” thing.
Since I haven't enjoyed Thanksgiving for a number of years, I thought perhaps it was time to bring a little bit of the fun back to the holiday not only for me but for readers. In the Summer of 2010 I put out a challenge to writers: bring me your best mystery story based around a Thanksgiving food, but be sure to keep humor as one of the ingredients. The results were pretty spectacular, and you'll find the top choices in this anthology. Reading through the submissions, it's apparent that I'm not the only one who has struggled with family, food and functioning on that third Thursday of November.
From the downright hilarious and slapstick to the more subtle, the flavor of humor adds just the right amount of seasoning to the stories contained within. My hope is that you'll find a good chuckle, a terrific mystery and perhaps a new author to invite to your holiday table. And, if Uncle Seymour steals the last piece of pie AGAIN this year, you might have some inventive new ways to bump the guy off.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season!
J. Alan Hartman Editor-in-Chief Untreed Reads Publishing