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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber

It’s Halloween and all the witches are out, or at least the Winsome Witches of Crystal Grove, CA, a fund-raising group made of local businesswomen who are sponsoring their annual luncheon. An evening of fun frolicking with party magicians, fortunetellers, and herbalists is planned until the body of the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is discovered, and murder is declared.
In this food-based cozy, (all recipes the characters use are printed for the reader in the back of the book) Jenna Hart, the owner of the Cookbook Nook, is playing amateur sleuth, as well as being mistaken, in this storyline, as a potential killer.
Everyone is under suspicion, from the deceased’s degenerate daughter to the English housekeeper with a mysterious past, to the second-in-command of the fund-raising group and even Jenna’s boyfriend, once mistakenly accused of a crime by the current chief of police, Cinnamon Pritchett. Test your detective skills as false leads and red herrings are sprinkled liberally through the novel, like a game of Clue, only where the whole town rather than just a house becomes the play-board.
A tightly woven whodunit, with a labyrinth of suspects to keep you on your game.

Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline - a review

Mary DiNunzio, head-strong Philly attorney, has finally made partner and fellow attorney, Judy Carrier, feels a little left out; her best friend is now her boss. Not sure where she’s going to fit in with the new pecking order, and overloaded with asbestos damage cases sent over by a New York law firm, Judy jumps at the chance to visit her favorite aunt Barb, even though she’ll have to gear up for some family drama, since her mother, who’s had a frosty relationship with Barb at the best of times, will be there too. 

Little does she suspect what she will discover. Along with the shocking revelation of Aunt Barbara’s diagnosis with breast cancer and impending surgery, there is the matter of Barbara’s close friend and housekeeper, Iris, an undocumented immigrant, who is found dead in her car later that evening of an apparent heart attack.

Judy, with her nose for investigation, suspects foul play. When things take a dark and violent turn as she digs deeper, it looks less and less like a heart attack was the cause of death. Most of the area’s immigrant workers are in the county illegally: the police know it and are looking the other way . . . perhaps, Judy suspects, because they are paid too. When Judy unearths a connection between Iris’s best friend going missing and more questionable financial dealings at the business where she worked, she is lucky to get out alive.

Determined not to let the grass grow under her feet and fall back into the mundane happenings once she’s able to return to her practice, Judy makes some life decisions that have repercussions for everyone at Rosato & Associates, thus setting up an interesting start for the next novel in this exhilarating series.

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