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The Christmas Cookie Killer (Fresh-Baked Mystery #3)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  744 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
It's Christmastime in Weatherford, Texas, and retired teacher-cum-amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom is looking forward to finishing up what has been one unlucky year. But she won't be hanging up her apron quite yet, because this year's Christmas bake-off is going to be cutthroat.

Phyllis would like to think she's just entering the Christmas cookie contest for fun. But that's no
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by NAL (first published 2008)
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Dec 04, 2016 RebeccaS rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read in this series and I really loved it. The Christmas/festive theme definitely helped. I like Phyllis as a main character and Sam as her kind of side kick (along with her police office son Mike who absolutely dotes on her). I liked the cozy town and the Christmas planning and all the crazy secrets that Phyllis found out about her neighbors. I definitely guessed the murderer pretty quickly (view spoiler) ...more
Dec 23, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it
pure fluff, but enjoyable enough...with dinner, cookies and more recipes.
Feb 18, 2014 Kimberly rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I just read that people compare the characters in this series to The Golden Girls. Now I can't get that or the damn theme song out of my head. 
But who is Sofia?
I guessed who dunnit at the beginning, but I didn't want to believe it. The author made it sound credible, but the issue for me is that the persons involved are people that have been mentioned, but who I just got to know in this book. There were personality traits about the person that I felt were only know to the other characters becau
Dec 13, 2008 Mamathorne rated it did not like it
I felt like I was sentenced and forced to watch an endless marathon of Murder She Wrote! I finally released myself for good behavior and tossed it. Sorry fans of MSW. I give this book a .1523 for effort. I dropped my rule of 50 pages or less (Needs to grab my attention in 50p) hopping this little cookie would get tastier, rather it fell flat. Knock on wood, but if my kids put me in a home and I am left by pimply face attendant at a window looking over a parking lot to drool in my lap. I will ask ...more
Nov 08, 2013 ☺Trish rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Hologram Mary mentioned The Golden Girls in her review below and I couldn't agree more. Phyllis is like Dorothy (the main character - a strong, opinionated, and somewhat pushy busybody), Carolyn is similar to Rose (a tad judgmental and a bit of a dim bulb), and Eve is like Blanche (always on the lookout for a new man).
The mystery kept me guessing and I was surprised at who ended up being the culprit. The Christmas Cookie Killer was a really quick and enjoyable read. The recipes at the end of th
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Nov 07, 2010 Jeannie and Louis Rigod rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book. The victim never got to eat her cookies and this drew me into the book like a magnet. The mystery was well constructed and as usual, the sleuth and her partners were up to their usual standards.

I did not sense the culprit and there was a twist at the ending. I am enjoying the progression of the characters and am looking forward to trying out the recipes. This is a 'keep' book.
Dec 16, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas, bingo
The new way to get in and question people - bring them a plate of homemade Christmas cookies! I really like Phyllis' method here and she is such a likeable sleuth. This was a fun Christmas story with lots of good sounding recipes at the end. I really like the dynamic between Phyllis and Sam. The mystery was good although I did catch on to the clue to the murderer, even if I forgot some of the other details that would have led me to the motive.
Carol Ann Hoyt
Jul 13, 2010 Carol Ann Hoyt rated it liked it
This is well written for a "cookbook" novel. However, do not make the cookies from this book. My book club made all of them expecting to share with each other in our December meeting. The cookies were not worth fact some of them were actually bad.
Dec 09, 2015 Judy rated it it was ok
The writing style is very simplistic with extra details that don't add anything to the story line. Character personalities are a little sketchy also.
Emily Cullen
Mar 19, 2017 Emily Cullen rated it really liked it
After the Christmas Cookie Exchange, retired school teacher Phylis Newsom takes some cookies over to her elderly neighbor only to find her strangled with the belt of her robe. Phylis can't help but investigate. I really enjoy the "Fresh Baked Mystery" series. It's interesting to read about people in middle-age and I like Phylis and her friends. I am also enjoying the budding romance between Phyllis and Sam. This series is just yummy all around!
Cheryl Bradley
Feb 18, 2017 Cheryl Bradley rated it really liked it
It is nearing Christmas time in Weatherford, Texas. Phyllis Newsom is hosting the annual neighborhood cookie exchange. When she decides to bring a plate of cookies to her home-bound elderly neighbor, Agnes Simmons, Phyllis has no idea a murder is about to occur. Mrs. Simmons asks to borrow some cookie cutters from Phyllis, and when Phyllis returns to her neighbor's house, it is to find Agnes lying dead on the floor, strangled with the belt of her own bathrobe. Before Phyllis can try to help Agne ...more
Christine Zibas
Feb 09, 2016 Christine Zibas rated it liked it
In this cozy mystery, “The Christmas Cookie Killer,” by award-winning author Livia Washburn, the action centers on the traditional Christmas cookie bake-off. Amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom considers herself a pretty fair baker, and this Christmas, she thinks her snowflake lime sugar cookies have a good chance of winning the local newspaper's Christmas cookie contest. A widow with a big house, she's taken in three boarders, one of whom also thinks she's got a winning recipe of her own. The cookie ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Cherie rated it liked it
It's Christmastime, and in Weatherford, Texas, it means that the neighborly cookie exchange is in full swing. Yet the cookie crumbles when retired teacher, Phyllis Newsom, delivers some cookies to her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Simmons. Shortly after the cookies are delivered, Mrs. Simmons is murdered, and Phyllis is knocked unconscious. The amateur sleuth finds a hard case to solve and more about her neighbors than she cares to know in this cozy mystery.

Livia J. Washburn's The Christmas Cookie Kill
I realize cozy mysteries are just that...cozy, without a lot to them in some ways.
But this one...I didn't get past page 57. 57!
I read Washburn's first book in this series, A Peach of a Murder and really liked it. I live in Fort Worth and I've been to Weatherford several times, so the regional appeal was certainly there.
I thought the peach thing was a great tie-in as Parker County, where Weatherford is located, is known for their peaches. The mystery was interesting and the main character, Phylli
Deborah Boerema
Oct 18, 2015 Deborah Boerema rated it liked it
I'm afraid I'm going to check out of this series. After reading the first three books, my affection for the main character, Phyllis Newsom, has continued to decline.

Although Phyllis's son is a deputy sheriff, she seems to have little respect for the work of law enforcement. She doesn't seem confident that local police will make the effort to find the killer, so she feels obligated to solve the crime herself. Phyllis apparently feels qualified to probe into criminal investigations because of her
Aug 25, 2010 Lindsay rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
The word I used most while reading this was Fluffy. Because even though its a mystery and a little old lady gets strangled with the belt of her bathroom, everyone just seemed a bit to friendly. Even when the author was trying to make someone seem mean, it just didn't really feel that way.
This is the 3rd book in the series, but I'm tired of the heat and liked the cover. It's warm and friendly, despite the headless gingerbread man.
Phyllis and her friends are having a Christmas cookie exchange wh
SUMMARY: Phyllis Newsom stands a good chance in the Christmas cookie contest with her snowflake-shaped lime sugar cookies. But Mrs. Simmons? gingerdoodles might give her a run for her money?until she?s found strangled in a pile of cookies. With many on Santa?s naughty suspect list, this case is a cookie Phyllis means to crumble?

REVIEW: This was a new-to-me cozy mystery author. I liked the distinctive personalities of each of the characters in the story. Retired teacher, Phyllis, was definitely a
Aug 15, 2011 Jenne rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This time the murder is close to home (literally). The story line was good, but something seemed to be missing in my opinion. The characters are still likable though Phyllis seems more pushy then usual. While her love for her son is evident, it became too much for me when always never wanted him to get to involved in a murder case (it was it job profession after all, what did she expect?). I was taken aback at who the murderer was and after finishing the book and thinking it over, I couldn't put ...more
Vicki Gooding
Feb 28, 2016 Vicki Gooding rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun light read. The book begins with an old fashioned christmas cookie exchange and an older neighbor lady being murdered. Honestly; the main character is a very pushy, and an opinionated busy-body but you can't really help enjoying her relationship with her roommates, and for the holidays. Through the book she gains private information on some of her neighbors and attempts to weave those flaws into possible attributes of a what a murderer could be. Actually I guessed the murderer righ ...more
Hologram Mary
Nov 29, 2010 Hologram Mary rated it liked it
Awww, I found this book in the dollar bin at the bookstore last year and purchased it because I am agonizingly festive and a murder mystery fan (and, hey, it was a dollar). The title sounded so corny I just had to buy it to read during Christmas time. It was so fuddy duddy, I could only equate it to watching The Golden Girls, but you know what? It's Christmas time again and I really miss it! I've been thinking about it a lot lately because it was just so sweet and simple... even though it was ab ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Sheri rated it really liked it
Another of Livia Washburn's books about Phyllis Newsom and her housemates and how she puts together clues she has picked up to solve her neighbor's murder. Agnes the next door neighbor has been given a plate of Christmas cookies from the annual cookie exchange and when Phyllis goes back to loan her the cookie cutters, Phyllis discovers Agnes and is hit over the head and passes out. She puts the clues together to discover who did kill Agnes with her robe belt. There are many recipes in the back o ...more
Mar 14, 2014 Luffy rated it liked it
I felt a lot of good things about this book. None of them new things, but that's not a complaint, but it defines the experiences of a fan of cozy mysteries and defines the element of the genre. For once, I'd not like to focus on ratings, and I'd rather say that The Freshly Baked Mystery series are up to my taste. The writing is slightly pedantic and dry, but there's some character progression for some. The writer took great care to describe Sam. He does not walk, he ambles. He doesn't speak, bu ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Kristen rated it liked it
I won't start this review with a synopsis, since that is available under the book description.

This was definitely a cozy mystery. I read in the reviews that people were comparing the characters in this series to the old television show, The Golden Girls. I could't agree more! The characters were likable and entertaining for sure. The mystery kept me guessing and I was a surprised at who the culprit ended up being. I did feel that the author failed in making some characters seem anything other t
Jan 11, 2009 Susan rated it liked it
Retired Texas schoolteacher Phyllis Newsom and her housemates, especially widowed Sam, become involved in murder again when Phyllis brings a plate of cookies to her elderly neighbor and, returning a bit later, finds the woman murdered. What's worse--at least according to Sam and to Phyllis's Deputy Sheriff son--is that the murderer knocks Phyllis out. As the police investigation proceeds, the neighbor's grandson is arrested. Phyllis doesn't know the young man well, but her teacher intuition tell ...more
Beth Peninger
Jan 23, 2011 Beth Peninger rated it really liked it
Livia J Washburn's murder mystery series are enjoyable reads. This one is based around a love of mine - baked goods. I love me some baking! And I love that she includes recipes for the yummy treats the mysteries are usually based around. In this particular book the victim's cookie caught my eye and I wrote it down, fully expecting it will catch my tatste buds as well! :)
Good, pleasant read.
Dec 31, 2016 Becky rated it liked it
This is the first Fresh-Baked Murder and I started the series out-of-order, because I was reading Christmas-themed books in December. The neighborhood Christmas Cookie Swap was a clever vehicle for a murder and its investigation. There are several recipes for foods that were featured in the story and that is a good thing for readers whose taste buds were wishing for tastes! Phyllis and her housemates are an interesting team. Like many a good sleuth, Phyllis uses her listening skills well!
Dec 29, 2016 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mystery, nook
Retired teachers who live together, one of whom stumbles upon a murder ever now and again seemed like a fun cozy mystery series to me. (I'm a teacher). Add baking to the mix and this was an easy pick. Unfortunately I didn't feel an affinity towards any of the characters. Nothing to make me read other books I'm the series. Despite red herrings galore it was obvious who the murderer was. This wasn't a hit for me but I can see how it may be for others.
Sep 04, 2009 Janice rated it really liked it
My sister gave this to me for Christmas because I love to read Christmas mysteries. This one was even more special because it included recipes, some of which I am going to try and is about a retired teacher. I enjoyed this story and will check out the first ones in the series. I figured out who "dunnit" so read it and see if you can.
Dec 09, 2011 Naomi rated it liked it
This wasn't as bad as what I thought it was going to be! I needed to read this for a challenge and since I am not a huge fan of cozy mysteries, I went into this one with one eye closed and with some trepidation. The book kept me entertained though and I ended up reading it in a day. I am thrilled because I was also able to grab 2 cookie recipes to add to my holiday tray gifts!!
Connie Easlick
Mar 27, 2013 Connie Easlick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: murder-mysteries
This one hit very close to Phyllis' home, right next door in fact! Phyllis learns a lot about her neighbors in this one and she really can't believe it all. You'll never believe who the killer really is!! I'm not telling, just read it. Oh, and you get a very good Christmas gift at the end, or rather Phyllis does! :D
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Under the names Livia J. Washburn and L.J. Washburn, Livia Reasoner has been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery, western, romance, and historical novels for more than thirty years. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories. She received the Private Eye Writers of America award and the American My ...more
More about Livia J. Washburn...

Other Books in the Series

Fresh-Baked Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • A Peach of a Murder (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #1)
  • Murder by the Slice (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #2)
  • Killer Crab Cakes (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #4)
  • The Pumpkin Muffin Murder (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #5)
  • The Gingerbread Bump-Off (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #6)
  • Wedding Cake Killer (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #7)
  • The Fatal Funnel Cake (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #8)
  • Trick or Deadly Treat (Fresh-Baked Mystery, #9)
  • The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer (Fresh-Baked Mystery, #10)
  • Black and Blueberry Die (A Fresh-Baked Mystery Book 11)

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