This is the third entry in the Deep Fried Mystery series. I reviewed the debut novel, Fillet of Murder (click here), the second book, Out of the Dying Pan (click here), and also was fortunate to have Ms Reilly provide two guest posts (click here and here). I confess that I have been a fan since the first book, but by the third book in a series we really get an idea of how the series will fare in the long run. Check out my thoughts.
Copyright: April 2017 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 3rd in Deep Fried Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy
Main Character: Talia Marby, new owner of a Fish 'n chips shop-Fry Me A Sliver.
Setting: Modern day, Berkshires Maryland
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
The town of Wrensdale is abuzz with excitement when Steeltop Foods sponsors a cooking contest to promote its new product, the Flavor Dial. With a $25,000 prize at stake, all the contestants are on edge, including Talia Marby, owner of Fry Me A Sliver. She hopes her mini deep-fried apple pies (recipe included) will win her the money to pay off the renovations on her restaurant. But when Norma Ferguson - long-time resident with a nasty demeanor and widely disliked - wins with her flaky-top chicken stew, the tensions dial up even more.
After Norma is found dead at her cooking station and one of Talia's employees is knocked unconscious, the police suspect a losing contestant got a little too hot under the collar. Now it’s crunch time as Talia works to catch the killer and clear the contestant's name before another cook gets burned.
Talia is kind-hearted and compassionate as well as nosy. I find her easy to identify with. Ryan Collins, an old high school classmate now a software designer, is her boyfriend and I continue to appreciate the break from the cop-boyfriend cliche. I have to say that there just isn't enough of Ryan and Talia on a romantic side, seems the sizzle died once they started dating. Molly is a fill-in employee while Lucas recovers and she is a good addition too. Best friend Rachel from the first book is back in a larger role and I enjoy her character. The new police detective, Patti Prescott is front and center - haranguing Talia to not even think of getting involved.
The plot is classic cozy material with the suspect's secrets coming out and emotions running high. Pacing is steady as the investigation progresses. The climax has some excellent suspense that I enjoy so much.
One thing I would like more of in the story is the Berkshires integrated as part of the story. I enjoy when the setting becomes a character and I think the Berkshires would easily be a great character. I would like to see more romance rather than seeming like an already settled-in couple. These aren't huge deals and certainly not deal breakers, but they would make it shine more. This is another great addition to the series and a sure bet for cozy lovers.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch lis.
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