Sifting Though Clues
By Daryl Wood Gerber
A Cookbook Nook Mystery #8
Beyond the Page, 2019
The Agatha Award–winning author of Wreath Between the Lines returns to the Cookbook Nook, where culinary mysteries are giving everyone food for thought . . .
Book clubs from all over have descended on Crystal Cove to celebrate the library’s Book Club Bonanza week, and Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with juicy reads and tasty cookbooks. But she’s most excited about spending an evening with the Mystery Mavens and their moveable feast, when they will go from house to house to share different culinary treats and discuss the whodunit they’re all reading. It’s all good food and fun for the savvy armchair detectives, until one of the members of the group is found murdered at the last stop on the tour.
As if that weren’t enough to spoil her appetite, Jenna discovers that all the evidence points to her friend Pepper as being the guilty party. And with Pepper’s chief-of-police daughter too close to the case to be impartial, Jenna knows she’ll have to step in to help clear her friend’s name before a bitter injustice sends her to jail. Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before Pepper’s goose is cooked . . .
Includes tasty sweet and savory recipes!
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I always enjoy Daryl Wood Gerber’s cozy mysteries, and Sifting Through Clues is a welcome addition to her Cookbook Nook series. Each story gets better as the recurring characters become more familiar, but background is provided so that each story can stand alone. You’ll probably want to read any you’ve missed, however.
One strength of this series is the setting, the quaint little coastal town of Crystal Cove, California. From the picturesque scenes to the enchanting shops, this is a town I’d love to visit. Descriptions are vivid and I loved the small shops with the most creatively descriptive names – Pelican Brief Diner, Beaders of Paradise, Cameo (art house theater), and Vines (wine bistro).
And then there’s the Cookbook Nook and Nook Café (would love to spend hours here), owned by Jenna Hart. Jenna is a great protagonist, easy to like and connect with. Character development is good within the her circle of friends and family, especially with coworker, Bailey, and fiancé, Rhett.
The action begins with what should have been the most delightful evening – a progressive dinner event with Crystal Cove’s local book club, Mystery Mavens – but murder rears its ugly head. Jenna’s involvement in the investigation makes sense and flows naturally, especially as her friend is a suspect. There’s lots of suspects with no shortage of alibis, and a character list at the beginning helps keep them all straight.
My favorite part of any mystery is the step-by-step investigation process, in which the victim's character and actions are slowly unpacked. We soon learn that the victim had enemies and liked to spread gossip. There's the usual red herrings, and I was never quite sure where to assign guilt.
Sifting Through Clues is an enjoyable, satisfying and clean mystery. The only thing I didn’t care for was the mystical element – fortune telling, tarot cards, etc.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries, as well as the French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she pens the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense.
Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in Murder, She Wrote. She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!
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