Welcome to Bar Harbor, Maine, one of New England’s most idyllic coastal towns. But as new food writer Hayley Powell is about to find out, the occasional murder can take a bite out of seaside bliss…
Single mom Hayley Powell is barely keeping her leaking roof over her head when her boss at the Island Times gives her a new assignment—taking over the paper’s food column. Hayley’s not sure she has the chops—she’s an office manager, not a writer, even if her friends clamor for her mouth-watering potluck dishes. But the extra income is tempting, and Hayley’s chatty first column is suddenly on everyone’s menu—with one exception.
When rival food writer Karen Appelbaum is found face-down dead in a bowl of Hayley’s creamy clam chowder, all signs point to Hayley. To clear her name, she’ll have to enlist some help, including her BFFs, a perpetually pregnant lobster woman, and a glamorous real estate agent. As she whips up a list of suspects, Hayley discovers a juicy secret about the victim—and finds herself in a dangerous mix with a cold-blooded killer.
I actually wasn't planning to write a full review of this novel. I planned to put this book in the "Meh Books" Part 3 list. However, by the last part of the book so many things annoyed me that it moved past "Meh" into awful. I'm not going to go into everything, but here's my top 3 things I hated about this book.
#1. On page 130, the main character describes another character: ""Liddy had a flare for the dramatic." Yes, "flare", not "flair". Like Liddy was on fire. What's really irritating is that another character had a "flair" for something on the next page- flair spelled correctly. Normally, I let minor kinds of spelling mistakes slide, but this one just got under my skin.
#2. The police chief, Sergio, is from Brazil and the author portrays him as a Brazilian Ricky Ricardo. Except he doesn't mispronounce things so much as engage in the constant spouting of malapropisms. This is an example of one:
"Puff was growing morally obese." (Puff is the murder victim's cat)
"I'm sorry, what?" Haley asked.
Sergio said, losing patience.
The first few times were kind of cute, but the author made Sergio engage in this every time he opened his mouth. So, she turned a character into a caricature. Oh, and milking a cute character quirk is annoying. (Tips for authors, right here) Oh, and here's a clip of Ricky Ricardo butchering the English language. Because when Ricky does it is funny and I pretty much need a mental palate cleaner after reading this book.
#3. The murder victim set up a kitty cam to catch her catsitter overfeeding her cat. (See the morally obese quote above) I'm not going to giveaway any spoilers about what got caught on video from the kitty cam. I'm not a detective, but I've read enough mysteries and seen enough police shows to know that evidence needs to be secure- there needs to be an unbroken chain of custody so a defendant can't claim evidence was tampered with. However, in this book the chief of police (Sergio) keeps potentially critical evidence- the kitty cam tapes- in his home in an unlocked desk drawer. Um, no. I don't care how small town a police department is, this does not happen except as a plot device in badly written books.
If you really like cozy mysteries and culinary mysteries, I still think this book would annoy you. But if you must read it, I'd suggest getting it from the library.
Overall Rating: 1 1/2 stars
Genre Rating: 2 magnifying glasses