Excerpt from Murder Under the Tree: Kay Driscoll has Phil's relatives over for Christmas dinner. (After reading this, it may surprise you that Margo was not the murder victim.)
Around noon, the door bell rang. "They're already here?" I said in disbelief under my breath. I took off my apron and went to answer the door just as Phil came down the steps, all showered and looking handsome in a suit.
"Surprise! Merry Christmas! We're early," Phil's brother Tommy said, standing on the porch.
I smiled at Phil. "Yes, you are." Great surprise. Phil's brother Tom and my obsessive sister-in-law Margo. Their arms were loaded full of plastic Tupperware containers, plus a fruit cake. "Merry Christmas!" Phil and I said.
"Kay, Margo's looking forward to helping you out with Christmas dinner." Phil looked over at me raising his eyebrows. Andrew and Will, who were now at the front door, stood grinning.
I clenched my jaw. More like take over Christmas dinner. "How thoughtful, Margo, it's so sweet of you to want to help. But, I'd appreciate if you'd just enjoy your Christmas. Guests should be guests. Please, just enjoy yourself." I forced a smile. Would she buy it? My sister-in-law thought she was queen-of-every-kitchen. Everything had to be done her way. It wouldn't be so terrible, if she knew how to cook. Kay, remember it's Christmas.
Tommy looked towards Margo and she at him. "Something smells good in here," he said as handed me the fruit cake and walked into the house. "Nonsense. Margo wants to help you."
"I insist!" Margo said without a smile.
"Let me help you with all of those containers. You shouldn't have brought all of this food. We have plenty." An extra hour with Margo. My menu, ruined. Of that, I was sure.
Margo went straight into the kitchen. I followed with the containers and the fruitcake and put them on the counter. She took off her coat, handed it to me, and took a Christmas apron out of her large purse. I wondered if she had a chef's hat in there as well. She put on her apron and proceeded to lift up each lid of the pots on the stove, systemically tasting everything. "Well, we can rescue that," I heard her say under her breath as I left to hang up her coat.
Going into the living room, I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door to find Deirdre and Mike, Elizabeth and John standing on the doorstep, with packages in their arms, singing.