Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mystery, #1)” as Want to Read:
Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mystery, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bran New Death

(Merry Muffin Mystery #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,289 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion into a career. But when a dead body is found on her property, she’s more worried about cooking up an alibi…

Merry is making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and someone has been digging giant holes on the g
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Berkley
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bran New Death, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bran New Death

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,289 ratings  ·  177 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Chose another series by the same author. Decent. Not a top of list tho. There are a lot of the foodie mysteries out there and this one didn't keep my attention as much as the others, but I will read another one to see if it was timing or it's just an average series. The main character is OK. The plot is good. You get to know a few characters, but I didn't feel like the background setting caught my attention.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Bran New Death
Pub. Date: September 3rd, 2013
Book 1 – Merry Muffin Mysteries
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Author: Victoria Hamilton


After dealing with the devastating loss of her husband and the backlash of a nasty fashion world incident Merry Wynter decides to flee New York City and head to Upstate New York to finally see the castle she has inherited. Her plan is to make the castle ready for sale, but there are problems. Autumn Vale is an odd town with odd residents. After a cool reception
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bran New Death is the first in the A Merry Muffin Mystery series.

I think this is a very wonderful series, as is Hamilton's Vintage Kitchen series.

Merry Wynter's uncle has left her his castle in upstate New York in the pretty little village of Autumn Vale. With losing her job with a NYC supermodel, Merry decides to visit the castle to see what needs to be done to finally get it sold and get some much needed cash. Upon arriving Merry finds that someone has been digging holes in the back yard, whic
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A ton of characters to keep straight, and a "resolution" that seems to come out of left field in the last 20 pages....a bit disappointing because I really enjoyed most of the book.

There was great character develepment even though it was a bit challenging to keep them all straight.

I will definitely read the next one.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Former plus sized model Merry Wynter has lost her place in the New York fashion scene after being blackballed by a former employer. After consideration she decides to visit a castle left to her by her Uncle Melvin in Autumn Vale, New York.

The castle is run down, and someone has been digging holes on the property. Then one night someone dies in one of those holes, and Merry is drawn into a mystery that was taking place long before she came to town. Will she be able to make it out alive, and figur
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries

3.5*.... I was a little hesitant with this series. Honestly, I was thinking... how much can you do with Muffins?? But it worked, and the muffins really are just a minor part of the story.

The series features Merry Wynter, a woman who has inherited a castle in upstate New York. She gradually comes to know the unusual characters in the village of Autumn Vale, a delightful village that's full of quirky, oddball characters. Merry describes it as, "Shirley Jackson odd. Stephen King odd!"... *thumbs up
Really 4.5 stars, but I rounded up.

Wow, two great first-in-a-series books in a row! I confess, I didn't know what to think when I picked up this book; I've read mixed reviews on it, but I am glad to say that I really enjoyed this book!

Merry was a fun main character, and she had a very different past. However, she was hard to warm up to, especially at the very beginning. Shilo, Pish, and the other characters were also fun to read about. Autumn Vale had an absolutely hilarious quirky group of char
Jayne M.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A cute little story that was quick and light. Which is what I needed as a change.

I didn't like that certain things kept getting repeated. Like random facts, repeated multiple times. I got it the first time, I don't need to know again.

But will continue with the series just because it was so carefree!
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Merry Wynter has lost the love of her life to a car accident, and her fabulous job in the New York fashion industry to false theft charges, but her Uncle Mel has left her a huge family castle in the small quirky town of Autumn Vale, New York. Merry stores most of her belongings and travels to Autumn Vale to try and sell the castle. Actually, she can vision this beautiful place as a venue for events or maybe a bed and breakfast. With it's grand commercial kitchen, she could definitely start somet ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy, kindle, mystery
3.5*s. I enjoyed this series starter. When Merry Wynter inherits a castle in update NY it also comes with some unexpected mysteries. I liked Merry and her friends, both the ones that come from NYC and the ones she makes in town. I liked that all the characters were characters and not just stereotypes of "big city people" and "small town people" that too often lazy writers use as shorthand. In fact, there are a lot of surprises with the characters, I don't want to get into spoilers but many thing ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I Need more than five stars!!!

This was one of those books that once started, I couldn't hardly put down. This book was great, one of the best I have read in a while. Merry was an awesome character. And the small town of Autumn Vale was really charming. This book left me guessing the whole way through. Victoria Hamilton gave teasers all the way through the book, but I didn't see the ending coming at all. I was really sad to see the end of this book, I just wanted to keep reading about this charm
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
2.5/5. Could have used more muffins.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: light-reading, cozies
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mystery

The main characters were pretty ok, the plot was also interesting ... until the final part! Sorry this totally makes me down the rate of the book!

(view spoiler)
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Or in Merry Wynter’s case if life gives you questions you make muffins while you try to find the answers.

She has not recovered from her husband’s death, she has lost her job, and she has inherited A CASTLE!! A castle that needs a lot of work before it will be ready for sale. Plus Autumn Vale is not your normal small town. Just a couple of people welcome Merry, she gets an icy reception from most of the residents. Then she find one of them dead on he
DelAnne Frazee
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Title: Bran New Death - Merry Muffin Mystery 1
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Published: 9-3-13
Publisher: Penguin Group Berkley
Pages: 305
Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense
Sub Genre: Women's Fiction
ISBN: 9780425258835
Reviewer: DelAnne
Reviewed For: NetGalley
My Rating: 5 Stars

Merry Wynter came to Autumn Vale to start over after she inherits her Uncle Mel's castle. Strangely though someone is vandalizing the property by digging large holes in the yard. Using the home as a base she beg
Mystereity Reviews
Bran New Death I started this a year or 2 ago and at the time, just didn't get into it.  There's a fair amount of back story that's dumped into the first chapter or 2 of the book and I think it turned me off.  Fast forward to now when I decided to clean out my Kindle of all the books I've started and not finished.  A sink-or-swim clean out, if you will.  Either I could get into it or I wasn't ever going to.
Merry Wynters at a crossroads in her life when her job falls apart in New York City, head
Penny McGill
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy
So great. I knew it would be. Victoria Hamilton is so fabulous that she shouldn't be wasting her time doing mundane things like laundry and frying onions - she should be thinking up new stories and characters for us to love. This one IS lovable. In addition to being a maker of muffins (this is the first in a muffin maker series, thank goodness) Merry is a New York city girl who comes to a small town to decide what she will do with a castle (yup!) she has inherited from a cranky uncle she really ...more
❂ Jennifer
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
3.5 stars. This is a very well written book with an excellent story and plot. It misses that last half star because I just didn't connect well with the main character. Her two friends, yes. Her hinted at future love interest - not even a little bit. So I was left feeling that while I really enjoyed the story, I didn't empathise with the main character at all.

The setting was really well done - Autumn Vale is full of quirky, eccentric folks and I found that the setting was written with realism - t
Mark Baker
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, mystery
Merry heads to upstate New York to claim her inheritance, a castle. However, someone has been digging holes in the yard. After a public fight with Tom Turner, the hole digger, Tom winds up dead at the bottom of a new hole. Can Merry figure out why?

The book got off to a slow start with a bit too much of a back story dump. However, once the book got going, it was great with eccentric but believable characters and twists to the plot. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Read my full review at Carsta
Patty Rodda
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I only found this book to be ok. My perspective was probably influenced by the fact that I had to pick it up and put it down several times due to school nonsense. But even when I was able to really get into the book it just never really came together for me. It often felt as though the author was injecting random facts along the way because she realized without them nothing at the end would make sense. Sometimes this strategy works, but it didn't really seem to here. Not an awful book by any mea ...more
Sue Ross
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book grabbed me from the first page because the main character Merry Wynter is, just like me, directionally challenged. Merry inherits a castle from her uncle in upstate New York. There she is met by an odd collection of people, but one or more of them is hiding a big secret. If you like odd citizens of a strange little town, a treasure hunt, and of course a murder, then you will enjoy this book. I can't wait for the next one to come out.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I know that small towns have their share of quirky people but the setting for this book, Autumn Vale - never Wynter (community joke) - is over the top in "quirkiness". I think I could only describe 3 of the townspeople as normal.

I am not a fan of books that really never end so that you will buy the next in the series and this is one of those.

At least the mystery was resolved and believable.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
VERY much better than her Vintage Kitchen series. About 3.5 stars, but going the extra 1/2 here. Likeable characters in an interesting locale. Good story, too. Have the 2nd in The Pile and will get to it shortly. RECOMMEND!
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked this book and introduction to the Merry Muffin Mystery Series, however, it is not as good or captivating as this author's other series, The Vintage Kitchen series. It was interesting but missing will be forgettable, I predict.
Cheryl Landmark
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review to come soon.
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
Merry Wynter inherited her Uncle Melvyn's castle in upstate New York. While it needs a lot of work, she decided to do just enough to get it sold. But when she arrived she saw giant holes all over the property. With the help of her real estate agent, Jack McGill, who has volunteered to fill in the holes, and the arrival of her best friend Shilo, Merry is determined to make it work.

But what she doesn't count on is the people in town didn't much seem to care for her uncle, nor do they care for her.
Sara Hollingsworth
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I went back and forth through the entire book on what rating I would give this book. I picked this up at my local used bookstore along with the second one in the series because I saw someone I followed was reading it. At times this book felt like it was just the average cozy mystery novel with a decent plot and solid writing. But, there is some things about this book that were very charming and intriguing. And I loved the nuanced examination of small towns and the business side of things. There ...more
Jun 10, 2017 added it
This book has sexist and ageist tendencies. It starts with a cop staring at the main character's boobs, and how he shouldn't be blamed, men "just can't help themselves". As a woman with big boobs, that frequently and inappropriately gets started at, I found this extremely disappointing. A fellow woman author writing a character that portrays the most disrespectful men in society and excusing his behavior! Later, the author nicknamed the elderly residents of a nursing home "oldsters" and frequent ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Drizzled with Death (Sugar Grove Mystery, #1)
  • First-Degree Fudge (A Fudge Shop Mystery #1)
  • Allergic to Death (A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery, #1)
  • Death Al Dente (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #1)
  • Do or Diner (A Comfort Food Mystery, #1)
  • Gluten for Punishment (A Baker's Treat, #1)
  • Peach Pies and Alibis (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #2)
  • All Fudged Up (Candy-Coated, #1)
  • Chili Con Carnage (Chili Cook-Off Mystery #1)
  • Murder, She Barked (Paws and Claws Mystery, #1)
  • Final Sentence (Cookbook Nook Mystery, #1)
  • Going, Going, Ganache (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #5)
  • To Brie or Not To Brie (A Cheese Shop Mystery, #4)
  • Killer in Crinolines  (Consignment Shop Mystery #2)
  • Every Trick in the Book (Novel Idea, #2)
  • The Christie Curse (Book Collector Mystery #1)
  • An Appetite for Murder (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #1)
  • If Fried Chicken Could Fly (Gram’s Country Cooking School Mystery, #1)
See similar books…
Victoria Hamilton is the bestselling author of several mystery series including the national bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She does, indeed, collect vintage kitchenware and bake muffins. She drinks tea and coffee on writing days, and wine other times. It doesn’t do to confuse days. A solitary being, she can be coaxed out of her writing cave for brownies and cat ...more

Other books in the series

Merry Muffin Mystery (6 books)
  • Muffin But Murder (Merry Muffin Mystery, #2)
  • Death of an English Muffin (Merry Muffin Mystery, #3)
  • Much Ado About Muffin (Merry Muffin Mystery, #4)
  • Muffin to Fear (Merry Muffin Mystery, #5)
  • Muffin But Trouble (A Merry Muffin Mystery Book 6)