Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Drizzled with Death by Jessie Crockett (Sugar Grove Mysteries #1)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Dani and the cast; entertaining mystery
Cons: Could use a better sense of place; maple syrup cravings
The Bottom Line:
A series debut
Sweetened with characters and
Humor that pleases




Dani Finds Herself in a Sticky Situation

When I spotted Drizzled with Death in coming soon listings, there was no doubt in my mind I would read the book.  You see, I love maple syrup - the real stuff, forget those imitations that they sell in stores and taste horrible.  So a mystery series themed around a maple syrup grower was something I had to support.

The Greene family has owned a maple syrup tree farm in New Hampshire for generations.  Also part of the family tradition is providing the syrup for the town’s annual All You Can Eat Pancake fundraiser for the local fire department.  Never mind that Dani’s Grampa wins every year, people still love to attend.

At this year’s breakfast, Alanza Speedwell and Grampa are the last two eating when Alanza flops face first into her plate.  No, it isn’t a food coma, it was murder, and people begin to suspect that her syrup was poisoned.  Dani has been working hard to grow the family business, and this could be a huge setback if it doesn’t shut the place down all together.  And it's not like Alanza hadn't made plenty of enemies in the short time he'd been in town.  Can Dani find the killer before the business is the next victim?

Let's get my one complaint with the book out of the way right away.  I felt like we were plunked down in the story with little to no context or description to aid us.  References are made to regular events, and we have to infer what they are from the scene eventually set there.  Either the author got better with this or I got the setting because by the end of the book, I wasn't having this problem at all.

So let's get on to what I did enjoy, starting with the characters.  They are an eccentric and fun bunch, just the kind you'd expect in a small town setting in the middle of New Hampshire.  And yet they always felt real.  Okay, maybe one or two were out there, but they were such fun I didn't care.  Dani herself is a wonderful main character who grows in some surprising ways over the course of the book.

The plot was great fun.  The book is filled with a wide variety of viable suspects, and I didn't zero in on the killer until Dani did.  And yet the solution was completely logical with a wonderfully done climax that had me turning pages quickly.

Which brings us to the humor.  Between Dani's love life and the exotic animals roaming the area, there was actually quite a bit of humor in the book.  I wasn't expecting it, but it was a touch I really enjoyed.

I mentioned loving real maple syrup, right?  Then you will understand that I had maple syrup cravings while I was reading this book.  They were so powerful that I had to go out and buy some and have waffles for breakfast over the weekend.  (Waffles are one of my favorite maple syrup holders.)  If you are like me, you'll be glad to find two recipes in the back.  I don't drink, so the Maple Magic Martini doesn't interest me, but the Who'd a Thunk It sounds divine.

Just like having one pancake (another favorite maple syrup holder), just reading the first in this series isn't going to be enough.  Good thing the sequel just came out this month.  You can bet I won't wait to read it as long as I waited to read Drizzled with Death.

4 comments:

  1. I love pancakes, so the maple syrup would top it off! Thanks for the review!

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    1. I just had maple syrup for breakfast. (Does it really matter what it was on?) Glad you enjoyed the review.

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  2. I will have to put this one on my list to try. I have been really happy with a couple of the food specific mysteries I have tried lately, so I am more open minded about them now:)

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    1. I've always enjoyed the culinary cozies I've read (well, most of them anyway), but I seem to be reading more of them than normal this year. I'm not sure what changed, but I sure am enjoying them.

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