Food Mysteries For Your Easter Reading Feast

Apr 9, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy & Cynthia Chow

This week we have a group of food mysteries for your Easter reading feast-Cheddar Off Dead: A Cheese Shop Mystery by Korina Moss, Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake: A Death by Chocolate Mystery by Sarah Graves, Pleading the Fish: A Seaside Café Mystery by Bree Baker, and Batter Off Dead: A Country Store Mystery by Maddie Day. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 4 books and links to purchase them at the end of each review–you may not be able to see the Amazon links if you have ad blocker on.

Cheddar Off Dead: A Cheese Shop Mystery by Korina Moss
Review by Sandra Murphy

As a cheesemonger and new store owner, of course, Willa Bauer wants everything to run smoothly, customers to stream in, and to introduce those customers to new cheeses they never knew existed. When a food critic wants to come to the store, she’s a nervous wreck, arranging and rearranging displays to make sure they’re perfect.

The man is a no call, no show. She’s got a cheese making class to teach and will have to worry about the critic later. Too bad he bursts in during the class, under the influence, behaves like a jerk, and once he sees who is in her class, announces he doesn’t like the company she keeps so don’t expect a good review. Nothing will change his mind.

When Willa leaves her upstairs apartment for the shop the next morning, she sees the critic’s car parked in the alley. He’s slumped against the door, but he’s not sleeping off a bender. He’s dead.

Considering he’s written a bad review for every place in town, there are quite a few suspects. Too bad the murder weapon was a cheese knife, one Willa had in baskets for the cheesemakers to take home with them. After the outburst, she forgot to hand them out. Although many have a motive, since the knife was the murder weapon, only the people in her class have the means.

In order to protect her store from a ruined reputation, Willa decides to ask a few questions here and there, just to see if she can discover who also had opportunity. It could be her undoing.

This is the first in a new series. Readers will love the cheese shop employees, Mrs. Schultz and Archie, as well as Willa’s neighbor, Baz. There’s a lot of information about different kinds of cheeses, but it doesn’t distract from the story. Plan ahead and have a cheesy snack on hand while you read.

Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake: A Death by Chocolate Mystery by Sarah Graves
Review by Sandra Murphy

Living in Eastport, Maine, means tourists in the summer months and darn cold weather during the winter. Without the tourists, many businesses close for the season. Jake and Ellie, owners of The Chocolate Moose, want to stay open year-round. Expenses like heat, insurance, and electric go on, open or closed.

Jake is trying her hand at chocolate chip cupcakes with a cream filling that isn’t being cooperative. Ellie has decided chocolate pizzas are just the thing to take the chill off winter. Still, they need income.

Enter Ingrid Merriweather, movie queen. She’s bought an old house out on the peninsula, Cliff House, the one that’s got the reputation of being haunted. The owner a couple of generations back is supposed to have killed quite a few people. It’s been vacant since.

She hires Jake and Ellie to cater the dessert portion of the party she’s throwing and pays them, not only in advance, but an outrageous amount of money. The catch is…they have to stay overnight since some of the guests will, too.

When a sudden storm comes up, Jake and Ellie are stuck at Cliff House whether they want to be or not. The high wind crashed a huge pine tree and it totally blocks the driveway—the only way off the property unless you climb down a rickety set of stairs to a boat. Given the rough seas, that’s just crazy.

Creaks, moans, and groans, with the occasional scream thrown in, prevent sleep. That and seeing someone go over the edge of the cliff. When they investigate, there’s no body. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay that way for long. Like a Christie mystery, guests are dying faster than Jake and Ellie can keep count. There’s no cell service, no way to escape except by sea, a high risk move. High risk defines a lot of what Jake and Ellie do in an effort to solve the case and get back to their homes in one piece.

This is book five in the spinoff series from Jake’s original Home Repair Is Homicide series. There are a lot of changes in Jake’s life—the shop needs more business, her father’s frail, and her son and his family live with her, but for how long? Despite their willingness to take extreme risks, I like Jake and Ellie. After all, they shared their recipe for a chocolate pizza at the back of the book. That’s a risk worth taking.

Pleading the Fish: A Seaside Café Mystery by Bree Baker
Review by Sandra Murphy

Everly Swan owns an ice tea café on the beach. She’s lucky enough to live upstairs so she can sit out on the deck and enjoy early morning visits with Lou the seagull and Maggie the white cat. Add in that she’s in love with Grady, a police detective, and all’s right with the world—or is it?

The Swan women have been cursed in love. The subject of their affection suffers an early death. Rather than kill the man who means so much to her, Everly is willing to stay single forever. It’s up to him to convince her the curse is just folklore, built up to epic proportions over the years.

Susan, a local researcher is poring over Swan family records to disprove the curse. She tells Everly she’s found information proving they’re on the right track.

During a community fish fry, Everly hears a scream and rushes to an old wishing well, only to find Susan’s body. Is it because of the curse or related to Susan’s job or personal life?

Everly’s curiosity runs wild, and despite anonymous threats and warnings from the killer, she investigates. Grady hates that she does, but hasn’t been able to stop her. After all, she’s just asking a few innocent questions. If that’s so, why are the threats ramping up?

This is the seventh and last book in the series. Readers will find out if Everly and Grady marry, if the curse is real or not, what happens with friends and family, will have a glimpse into the future, and will be sad to see the stories end. Check the KRL archives for reviews of the previous six books. At the back of the book are recipes for pina colada pie, blueberry lemonade cake, and the famous protect-against-the-curse lemon cake Grady loves so much.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Batter Off Dead: A Country Store Mystery by Maddie Day
Review by Cynthia Chow

Pans ‘N Pancakes owner Robbie Jordan is enjoying South Licks, Indiana’s outdoor summer fireworks show with her husband of six months, Abe O’Neill. Also taking advantage of the weekly Friday night entertainment are residents from the Jupiter Springs Assisted Living residence, one of whom is Grant Bird, the father of Police Lieutenant Buck Bird. Grant is there with his lady friend Vi Perkell, but when she tragically collapses during the festivities, Robbie immediately notices that it was not due to her age. Vi was stabbed in the neck, and when the weapon is described as needle-like, antique cookware specialist Robbie has an idea of what it could be.

Having been involved in a number of murder investigations, Robbie and her friends immediately set out to help Buck solve a murder that hits so close to home. Vi’s death eerily resembles that of another murder many years ago, and the unsolved murder Yolande Bird haunts Buck and Grant to this day. That their mother and wife was murdered in a manner so close to that of Grant’s new friend would seem to make them the common link, but Robbie soon learns that there are quite a few secrets being held within the assisted living complex. When not preparing delicious pancake recipes along with an assortment of breakfast treats in her restaurant, Robbie, Abe, and their friends follow a trail of clues that include Grant’s 100-year-old mother-in-law, a gambling ring for seniors, and a possibly lethal knitting club. It is at the bookstore once owned by Vi that Robbie encountered the aptly titled Stitch and Bitch knitting club, where Vi ensured that the club lived up to its name.

This tenth in the series encourages readers to embrace all of the charming characters and characteristics of this small Indiana town. Regulars to the Pans ‘N Pancakes meet to gossip, check out the antique cookware, support one another, and, of course, provide information that will help Robbie solve her investigation. The cooperative relationship she has built with Buck and the State Police effectively propels their investigation as they question locals and follow the many clues that lead back to a decades-long mystery. Readers should be prepared for an abundance of mouth-watering descriptions of Robbie’s creations in her kitchen, which are as tasty as the gossip that flows at Pans ‘N Pancakes. Having achieved her professional goals to own and run a successful restaurant and country, newlywed Robbie is ready to focus on her personal life and maybe even expand her family. Recipes, entertaining characters, and all of the quirkiness that abounds in South Licks make this another light-hearted and very enjoyable read.

To enter to win a copy of all 4 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “easter” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 16, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT MAY TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase any of these books from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:
mysteriousgalaxylogo

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

14 Comments

  1. Another great batch of books! Count me in!

    Reply
  2. Sandra and Cynthia,

    Great reviews! I love cozy mysteries and these sound like fun reads. Happy holidays and best wishes to each author.

    Reply
  3. Great collection of cozies. Would really like to read all of them.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  4. All these four books sound like wonderful and enticing reads. I love food themed cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  5. Such enjoyable series, I’m especially interested in checking out the new cheese shop series.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for the giveaway! All great authors.

    Reply
  7. These sound wonderful. Thanks for the chance.

    Reply
  8. Amazing selection. Thanks for the chance.

    Reply
  9. These all sound very good. Love cozies

    Reply
  10. These books sound great! Thanks for the chance!

    Reply
  11. They all look great and I do not have these authors. As I’m a cheese head from Wisconsin I love the title Cheddar off dead.

    Reply
  12. How exciting!!! Not only 1, but 4 cozy culinary books, and they are all so enticing!!!! Love cozies, and these are my ‘cuppa’ tea! Thank you so much. We are all winners because we get to enter these author’s worlds and enjoy hours of fun! Happy and Blessed Easter!!

    Reply
  13. I absolutely love mysteries!!! these all look like a yummy and fun way to enjoy reading!!!

    Reply
  14. We have a winner!

    Reply

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