Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters and setting and a confusing mystery
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Grilling a murder
In this twisty, complex plot
I'm hungry for more
Who Grilled the Front Runner?
I don't normally read the teasers at the back of books. After all, if I'm already planning to read the next in the series, what's the point? However, for some reason I did at the end of the first Cookbook Nook Mystery, so you can imagine my surprise when I sat down to read Inherit the Word and discovered that the first chapter ended differently. I quickly set that disappointment aside and got hooked on the story author Daryl Wood Gerber decided to tell, which was quite good.
The Cookbook Nook has the honor of hosting Crystal Cove's annual Grill Fest. This year, the theme is grilled cheese, so Jenna Hart has laid in a collection of grilled cheese cookbooks to sell to customers who attend the competition. The presumed winner this year is Natalie Mumford. After all, she's won the last eight years in a row.
However, before the first round even gets under way, Natalie is found behind The Cookbook Nook dead. The murder weapon was a panini grill. Whispers in the small town quickly turn to Lola, Jenna's friend Bailey's mother. After all, Lola had just made a similar threat to Natalie last week. But when Jenna starts trying to come up with other suspects, she finds plenty and more motives then she can keep straight. Who really killed Natalie?
As I said, this was a very strong mystery. Every few chapters, it seemed we had a new clue or a new suspect and certainly a new motive. Yet these were never thrown at us blindly. Everything is laid out so that it makes perfect sense - that is until the next clue sends Jenna (and us) off in another direction. I didn't have things figured out until Jenna revealed the killer, but it all made perfect sense in the end. Meanwhile, there's a subplot that weaves through the book with a very personal connection to Jenna.
That subplot really helped me get to know Jenna better. In fact, I felt we got to know all the characters better in this story, especially her friends Bailey and Katie. The entire cast are people I enjoyed spending time with, and I look forward to many more outings with them. The suspects are just as strong as the main characters, making it hard to zero in on anyone but making us care about the outcome at the same time.
There are seven recipes in the back of the book to try later. Naturally, several of them are for grilled cheese sandwiches, but you will also find an ice cream and a cookie recipe back there.
Plus I love the setting. Crystal Cove is a small
resort town, and I would love to visit it - between murders, of course. Unfortunately, it is fictitious, so I'll have
to settle for visiting with Jenna and company when a murder happens.