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Leslie Karst Writes A Measure of Murder

General Introduction

A Measure of Murder

Another cozy mystery that has cooking as a subplot! I love it! And it’s got great humor. And well written.

Sally tries out for a chorus singing one of Mozart’s famous pieces. Something she always wanted to sing. On top of running a restaurant left to her by an aunt. And helping run her father’s family restaurant. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the two restaurants are not similar, one is more casual, one is more sophisticated. And on top of this, she gets involved in a murder. Again. And I tried THE SPAGHETTI CARBONARA RECIPE, which was wonderful!

Anyway, about the review.

The Characters

Sally is a woman of middle age, who is going through what most women of middle age go through. Leslie Karst was smart and didn’t gloss over it. It became part of her character, like it should. 

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Chicken and Waffles – Pennsylvania Dutch

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles is not all about fried chicken! Not at all! Pennsylvania created the first version! 

My Story

My heritage is pretty boring. The family comes from a long line of people in rural Pennsylvania. Like real rural. Our town has had the same number of people in it for over 150 years. Granted it’s pretty big for a rural area (under 10,000 people), but very few people leave. People die, and their descendants move in. My aunt lived in the same house she was born in until she had to go to a nursing home. My family has lived in that town for going on 300 years. We have one grocery store, who’s headquarters happens to be in town. One hotel. The most popular restaurant is a hot dog palace, with five stools. We have history, but we are definitely small town America.

The biggest thing that we have going for it (outside of having the a first by Thomas Edison) is our Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. No, this does not mean we are Dutch, no matter what anyone tells you. We are German, through and through. And we are very proud of our Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and its cooking.

The History of Chicken and Waffles

Pennsylvania has lots of ‘war’ over the invention of foods. Whoopee Pies with Massachusetts is one. Our biggest one is Chicken and Waffles. There are two types, for those of you ‘not in the know’.  Read more

Leslie Budewitz – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)

Leslie BudewitzLeslie Budewitz – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)

Leslie Budewitz wrote Killing Thyme. It is the third book in the Spice Shop Mystery series. The is a series after this diyhomegoddess’s own heart.  I hope to get to read more. It’s a unique place, a unique sleuth, and loads of fun.

The Characters

I like the idea of the repeating cast introductions at the beginning of the book. That way you have an idea of who is in the story except for the murderers, victims and suspects. The characters are described pretty well, so you can imagine what they look like.

Pepper Reece (no, that is not her real name, but only her BFF, and probably her ex know what her real name is) is a great character. She is struggling with her spice shop she purchased after leaving the corporate world. She stumbles through the mysteries, finding clues and red herrings by accident and on purpose. Just like a true amateur sleuth should. I like that she is not “perfect”, she fails all over the place. 

Tag Buhner is the cop you love to hate. He’s Pepper’s ex. He’s a hottie who seems to be obsessed with her. Why is it the ex-husbands are always falling over the wives. It is happening a lot lately; I think it is getting overdone.

The other cops (yes, there are more than one!) Spencer and Tracy are the annoying cops we love in this kind of mystery. They have different personalities, and their emotions are definitely shown.

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Cleo CoyleShot In The Dark by Cleo Coyle

Shot in the Dark, by Cleo Coyle is the 17th book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. I have been in love with this series since it started back in 2003. This is one of those I don’t want to end. Let me tell you why.

The Setting Description

The descriptions in the books are very well written. There is enough detail to where you feel the energy of the city, and think you can see what is going on. And yet there isn’t so much that you was to jump paragraphs to get back to the story.

The Characters

The characters have been developed over the series. They are growing, not just being the same in each book. My favorites?

Matteo Allegro is one jerk that you hate and love at the same time. He’s protective of his family, but a bit smothering. 

Detective Franco of the police force is coming into his own. He’s in love with Claire and Matteo’s daughter. Matteo wants nothing to do with that! He is trying to do the right thing, but sometimes people just get in the way.

The baristas Dante and Esther are the best. They are recurring characters that are creative, alive, fun, and you want to be their friends.

And let’s not forget the stars, Claire and Mike. Anyone who has read a single episode of this series can see they belong together. But Cleo Coyle is not pushing them together right away, she’s dragging out the tension in the romance.

The Dialogue

The dialogue for each character is unique. No two talk the same. No two are mirror images. Even without dialogue tags, you can usually tell who is speaking, because of the quirks and such of the characters. They sounded like real people from all walks of life.

The Plot

What I liked about this plot is that it isn’t a rehash of the other plots. The backstory is not the same in each of the books either. So you aren’t hearing the same story over and over again. 

The one thing I liked about this plot, is Mike (Claire’s fiancé) kind of took a back seat in the story. Most cozies you have the amateur sleuth and the police hooking up together all the time. But Cleo Coyle did this one different. The amateur sleuth took control of the situation. Most of the cops were taking a back seat to her sleuthing. Which makes you want to root for the sleuth more. Come on, girl, you can solve this on your own!

The plot had serious depth to it. It wasn’t just 5 people, one dog and a cat as suspects. The story, and its subplots were well thought out, were interconnected, and made for some serious thinking of what was going on.

The red herrings and clues were on the money. There were enough of each to make me keep changing my mind about who the killer was. The killer was a surprise to me, but as soon as things started getting explained, I had the “ah ha” moment. There was no, ‘what do you mean?’ or ‘that doesn’t sound right!’ questions.

The one thing I gritted my teeth at was the subplot between Franco and Joy. The man is a police detective. I automatically thought he was undercover, but both Joy and Claire thought he might be cheating. No!!!!

Cleo Coyle

Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze

Bonus Recipes

FYI, each of Cleo Coyle’s books have recipes. And we aren’t talking just desserts. Simple, fancy, main course, dessert, even drinks! 

And yes, I did test one of the recipes in this book, as I try to in all culinary mysteries. I made the Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze. Yum!

More Information

You can read my post that show the list of all the novels in the series, as well as some basic background here.

And check out Cleo’s website here.

The Verdict

I have never had one of these books I didn’t like. I’m pretty tough on giving 5 stars, but this one definitely earned a 5 star review from me! 

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