Willow was on to her fourth husband. Each of the first three had died around Christmas time. That was because marzipan icing on a Christmas cake has a strong enough taste to disguise any other ingredient that might lurk within.
Each husband had asked the same thing: “How come you’re not eating any Christmas cake?” Willow always replied that she didn’t like the taste of marzipan. It was too strong and sweet.
The fourth and current husband, Leo, had survived a good seven months of marriage. Unlike his predecessors he didn’t like marzipan. Leo had not told Willow of his distaste and so Willow had made a big Christmas cake with thick poisoned marzipan.
Leo didn’t want to offend Willow by not eating it after she had gone to so much trouble to make the cake look pretty, so he would discreetly pretend to eat while wrapping it carefully in a paper napkin for disposal.
All three of Willow’s prize pet chickens died, followed by the sudden death of Ms Sadie Walker, a neighbour on one side, who absolutely refused to accept any payment for services except perhaps a slice of delicious Christmas cake. Her death came as a shock to all: “I was just talking to her yesterday,” said Leo.
Then Ms Adeline Ackroyd, two doors up, passed into eternal bliss, followed by Ms Riley Crum from over the road and Ms Faith Swanson of North Dakota who was visiting for the last month or two the man who owned the corner shop.
It was then that Leo realized that the culprit was perhaps the Christmas cake. He didn’t say a word. It just so happened that Willow was partial to whipped cream-filled meringues. May she rest in peace.