Author: Livia Washburn
I got into a muffin baking mood, and with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching this book seemed perfect. The included recipes where mouth watering to just read. Tired of jumping from Halloween right into Xmas? Enjoy a little Harvest and Thanksgiving time with this book.
Copyright: November 2010 (NAL) 272 pgs
Series: 5th in Fresh Baked Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy
Main Characters: Phyllis Newsom widowed retired school teacher
Setting: Modern day, small town Weatherford, Texas
Obtained Through: Library
The premise is simple for this cozy, it is the big fall festival and Phyllis discovers one of the scarecrows scattering around the grounds for decoration is actually a dead man, realtor Logan Powell. To make matters worse, the victim has one of Phyllis' pumpkin muffins she was entering in the baking contest crammed in his mouth. The police are looking solely at this wife, a teacher and acquaintance of Phyllis'. Phyllis begins asking questions because she doesn't feel it is so simple. A side story is Phyllis caring for her young grandson Bobby throughout the investigation. Did Logan cheat on his wife, or was he involved in a lucrative but unethical real state deal that got him killed?
Phyllis lives with several other retired teachers in her large home, does community service, and bakes delicious goods like muffins. But I could not tell you about her inner struggles of feelings. Carolyn seemed to be a live-wire and passionate about people. Dana, the accused seemed too downtrodden to get a sense of anything else about the character. Sam, who everyone in Weatherford considers Phyllis' boyfriend, was nice, kind, easygoing...and rather bland - in this book at least.
The setting is standard small town fare with the common festival/fair as the social event for the murder. The plot is to prove the innocence of an accused, who really looks guilty from the circumstantial evidence. The plot remains uncomplicated and true to a cozy. The pacing remained steady, although it was a bit tame for my taste (not enough sense of urgency or tension). The climax had some good moments.
If you want a light cozy to curl up with, this is a good standard cozy that will deliver the expected characters and small town drama. No surprises for those who like a more wholesome mystery.
Rating: Good - A fun read without complications.
Here is a Pumpkin Muffin recipe video for your Thanksgiving dinner enjoyment.