Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Review: The Tell-Tale Tarte by Maya Corrigan (Five-Ingredient Mysteries #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, mystery, Poe tidbits
Cons: Ending could have been stronger
The Bottom Line:
Poe centric story
Modern writer at center
A fun mystery

Impersonating Danger

I feel like I should know more about Edgar Allan Poe, maybe read a few more of his books and stories.  After all, many people credit him with creating the modern detective story.  Imagine how much great reading I’d be missing out on if it weren’t for him.

All that is just a way of introducing The Tell-Tale Tarte, the fourth Five-Ingredient Mystery from Maya Corrigan.  It is a loving tribute to the master writer, and I enjoyed it.

A new year has started, and Val Deniston’s grandfather appears to be making some changes in his life.  He’s updated his look, including a new haircut and new outfit.  He claims it is for a new job he’s landed for his investigations business.  Then Val is on the scene when a man dies at a nearby shopping center – a man who looks just like Grandfather does now thanks to his new look.

The case soon points to Rick Usher, a local author who has made a career writing tales inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.  Is Grandfather the next target of the killer?  How does Rick play into the mystery?

There’s plenty of intrigue here, and I appreciated how Poe lore played into the case.  I learned plenty about the author as Val tried to solve the case and protect her grandfather.  A sub-plot involving the cafĂ© she manages also helped keep things going.  I did feel like the ending wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but it did wrap things up satisfactorily.

The characters in this series are good.  Val and her grandfather are continuing to grow as characters, which I always enjoy.  Some other relationships are growing as well, and I’m anxious to see where those relationships go next.  There are some intriguing possibilities set up here.  The suspects get the most page time, and they come to life as a result.  I really liked them, which made figuring out the killer that much harder.

Of course, we do get some five-ingredient recipes at the end of the book.  This time around, we get six of them.  They range from a bean dip (with fewer than five ingredients, actually) to Cornish hens and two different types of tarts.

Whether you are a fan of Poe or not, The Tell-Tale Tarte will keep you guessing until you reach the end.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Five-Ingredient Mysteries.


  1. Thanks for reading and reviewing it, Mark!

  2. I have the series on my TBR and I absolutely adore the title. I've had Poe come up several times in books lately and agree that I don't know nearly enough about him!

  3. A Five Ingredient Mystery series sounds fascinating. Where do authors come up with their series titles? A creative basis for a book.

  4. Years ago, I read Tales of Mystery and Terror by Poe, and I've been a huge fan of his since then. The Tell-Tale Heart from that collection is one of my favorite psychological horror stories! I think there may be an audio recitation available on YouTube, and hope you check out the story in either form.
    ~Lex (


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