Friday, October 20, 2017

Review + GIVEAWAY: Secrets and Pies

Secrets and Pies
By Jenny Kales
Callie’s Kitchen #3
Self Published, 2017


If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Callie’s Kitchen! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas faces down another killer in the small waterfront town of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!

Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest.

When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past.

Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer!

My thoughts

Secrets and Pies is a delightful cozy mystery and I enjoyed it very much. I have to confess that in the beginning, I thought this was just going to be an average story. However, it wasn’t long before I was pulled right in and found myself wanting to spend more and more time with these characters. If you’ve read the previous two books, then many of the characters in the Crystal Bay community will be familiar to you, whereas I was getting to know them for the first time – but this works well as a standalone also. And best of all, this is a wonderfully clean story with no profanity or graphic scenes.

The Crystal Bay setting, inspired by Wisconsin’s Geneva Lakes, and Callie’s Greek-American restaurant play such a key part that they literally become main characters. Food-related settings are so much fun, and nothing could be more cozy than Callie’s Kitchen with its Greek dishes prepared by Max. And I would love to visit the Crystal Bay community with its lovely historic mansions.

Family is another theme, and the relationship between Callie and her dad, George, is touching. It always brought a smile to my face when he called her “Calliope.” The important characters are well drawn; I enjoyed Max’s personal story and Callie’s romance with police detective Sands. Add in a little historical detail going back to the Guilded Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it all comes together for a great read.

The mystery plot was well crafted, with an emotional touch because the victim was the beloved teacher of Callie’s daughter. I never had it figured out, but everything made sense as it was revealed. Having become fully invested in these characters, I hope for many more Callie’s Kitchen stories.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series. Though she’s worked as a writer and journalist for years, fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie’s Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth.

The setting of the story, “Crystal Bay,” is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot – Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lakes. Kales is an avid reader, cook and baker and she’s addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.

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Winner will receive an e-copy of Secrets and Pies.

To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here letting me know that you did. Are you a fan of cozy mysteries that have a food theme? If so, do you have a favorite series?

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, October 29. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents


  1. I am enjoying your reviews of all the cozy mysteries! They are a big favorite of mine.

  2. New author to me, but I always love a good mystery!

  3. Secrets and Pies sounds "delicious"!

  4. Shared on my Facebook page. I really like reading all types of cozies, especially culinary cozies.

  5. I shared here:
    And yes, I love cozy mysteries with a culinary (or animal) theme! My favorites!
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net