Kill It By Skillet (A Kitchen Shop Mystery #1) by Mary Birdie
Belle Meyer, the proprietor of The Wild Goose culinary shop in Walnut Creek Square, knows she sells some great cookware but never thought it was killer cookware until one of her customers is found dead – smacked with a frying pan from her shop. Belle can’t help but do a bit of poking into the matter, much to the consternation of Detective Hawkes.
What a fun, charming little book! It puts the “cozy” in cozy mystery with a cute small town, an adorable cat, fun characters (many of which had food related names, which made me smile. Nathan Eclair!) and lots of food related quips sprinkled liberally throughout. I enjoyed the plot, there were a lot of suspects, some who seemed more likely than others. There were lots of twists to keep me guessing and the reveal at the end was a little surprising and very satisfying.
A very enjoyable book and I look forward to reading the next one in the series. I would’ve loved to see a few recipes at the end of the book, some of the demos Belle made in the shop sounded divine and I love a good baking project. And the measuring spoon necklace given to Belle by her boyfriend Kenneth made me realize this was something I never knew I needed in my life!
The Lacemaker’s Secret (Chloe Ellefson #9) by Kathleen Ernst
Curator Chloe heads to Green Bay to consult on the restoration of an old Belgian-American farmhouse. When she arrives, she can’t help but check out a historic summer kitchen – and discovers a dead body in the bake oven! Alongside the the bake oven mystery is the tale of Seraphine, a Belgian immigrant skilled in art of making lace. The hardships she faced forging a new life in Wisconsin in the mid 1800s provided a background for the events in the modern day mystery.
I can think of 2 authors off the top of my head who wreck me with their books and #1 is Kathleen Ernst. I just know this review won’t do the book justice, it’s so hard for me to detail why this book was so remarkable without giving away what makes it so remarkable! The author’s ability to weave an emotionally haunting old-world story with a gripping modern day mystery is hypnotic! Just like Memory of Muskets, it will stay with me for a long, long time. Seraphine’s strength in the face of such adversity and heartbreak was inspiring and the very detailed descriptions brings it all to life. It’s one thing to read about life in earlier times, but the events are narrated so vividly, it’s like being there.
There was a lot packed into this book without feeling burdensome or overwhelming, from Roelke’s struggles to Seraphine’s heartbreak to Chloe’s tenacious investigating, and the lessons are all the same; strength, faith, and family will help you through any hardship. There’s no better message for anyone to take away from this and I think it’s what sets this series apart from so many others; that it effortlessly entertains, thrills and inspires.
Oh dear, now I’m waxing poetic but really, this was an excellent 5 star read that kept me glued to the pages. Can’t wait for the next one!
In For the Kill (DI Fenchurch #4) by Ed James
It’s always a pleasure to sit down with an Ed James book, because I know it will be a deftly plotted, action packed thrill ride and In For the Kill lived up to the hype. Fenchurch has a lot on his plate at the moment, with dealing with the aftermath of finding Chloe, his long ago abducted daughter, his wife nearing the birth of their second child, and a the terrifying case of a college co-ed found murdered in her bed at the same university Chloe attends.
This was a great read, I loved the thrilling fast paced chase through London solving this complex crime. There were one or two points where the pace slowed a bit, but not by much and there was a lot of action to keep my pulse racing and the tense atmosphere kept me turning pages, impatient to see the next bombshell. Although I missed a few books in the series since I read the first book, I was able to get right back into it. Thanks to the great character development and the consistency of the writing, I remembered many of the principal characters, making me feel like I was catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while. Fenchurch is developing as the sort of hangdog character you can’t help but root for; intense, persistent, stubborn, and fallible, there’s a little Fenchurch in everyone I think. I enjoy watching him methodically pick at the threads of the crime until it all unravels alongside coping with the struggles in his personal life.
Overall, a great read with a fascinating case full of twists and turns to keep me guessing. Definitely recommend for fans of dark and gritty police procedurals.