Pros: Great to return to the fun characters
Cons: Mystery could have been twistier
The Bottom Line:
Renaissance Fair death
Means new visit with Jenna
So great to be back
Verily, Thee Shalt Enjoy This Tale
Over the last couple of years, Berkley has dumped the vast majority of their cozy mysteries. As a long time reader of their books, it has saddened me to see so many character I love disappear like that. However, a few authors have found new homes for their series. One of those is Daryl Wood Gerber, who is continuing the Cookbook Nook Mysteries with Pressing the Issue.
It’s April in Crystal Cover, California, and that means the Renaissance Fair has come to town. Okay, so it’s a smaller fair than in many places, but it has taken over the town pier, and everyone is looking forward to a good time. Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with a variety of cookbooks based on the theme, and she is looking forward to having a good time as well.
A local vineyard owner, Nick, is the king of the fair, something he gladly does every year. He and his family have been well respected for years in the community. So, it is a shock when Jenna and some friends find his dead body one evening. Despite Nick’s good reputation, someone didn’t like him. Can Jenna figure out who it was?
The last book in the series ended on a bit of a somber note, so I was glad to revisit Jenna and her family and friends for that reason alone. It also means that there is a spoiler warning here. The events of the previous book will be spoiled for you if you jump in here. That just means you need to read the previous book in the series, right?
Fans of the series will be as delighted as I was to return to these characters. Jenna has a real community around her, and I enjoyed seeing them all again and watch how their lives and relationships are flourishing. Yes, there is plenty of room for the new characters as well.
Plus there’s the town, which always has some kind of fun festival going on. I haven’t been to a Renaissance Fair in years, but reading about it here was enough to make me want to visit one.
The first couple of chapters spent some time introducing the suspects and victim as well as updating us on the lives of the series regulars. It was nice to be able to ease back into their lives. It isn’t that long before Nick is killed, and then we are off and running with an ever-changing set of motives, clues, and suspects. I did figured part of it out fairly early, but there were still many pieces of the puzzle I needed to fully understand what was going on, and I was having such fun with the characters that I didn’t mind that much.
And, of course, there are recipes. We get a variety of dishes, including Cornish Pasties, Ginger Cheesecake, Shepherd’s Pie, and Sin-in-a-Cup Frozen Cheesecake Bites to name a few. Your mouth will be watering long before you get to them, so it’s nice to be able to try these treats.
Fans of the series will be thrilled to see Jenna and the gang again in Pressing the Issue. There may be a new publisher, but the characters are as charming as ever.
Need more Jenna? Here are the Cookbook Nook Mysteries in order.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.