Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Solid mystery and characters
Cons: One sub-plot didn’t pull me in
The Bottom Line:
Sarah must save twin
While fighting to keep her cat
In tasty debut
Sarah Blair’s Tasty Debut
It doesn’t take much for a culinary cozy mystery to catch my interest. When I heard that Sarah Blair, the main character in One Taste Too Many, is a cook of convenience, that immediately caught my attention. After all, cook of convenience describes me perfectly. (And I prefer that to lazy, which could also describe my cooking. And house cleaning. But we don’t go there.)
Sarah is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from her twin sister Emily who exclaims that Bill is dead and the police think Emily is responsible. Sarah isn’t that upset that her ex-husband is dead, but she is surprised that Emily is the chief suspect. But Emily was found with Bill, who had eaten her rhubarb crisp despite the fact that he hated rhubarb and avoid the nuts Emily used because of his allergies. What is really going on?
Meanwhile, Sarah gets a shock when Bill’s current girlfriend, Jane, produces a will that claims Jane gets custody of RahRah, the Siamese cat that Sarah has had ever since Bill’s mother died several years ago. Can Sarah prove she should keep RahRah while clearing Emily of murder?
While I introduced Sarah as a cook of convenience, Emily is working as a line chef at a local restaurant, and all the action takes place against a backdrop of a culinary festival taking place in the sister’s town of Wheaton, Alabama. So there is plenty of talk about food to make your mouth water. And we get two recipes at the end, both from the cook of convenience side of the cooking spectrum.
The mystery starts strong with us learning of Bill’s death on the very first page. I did find the storyline with RahRah to be a bit harder to get into since I’m not a huge pet person. If I had had a few books to grow invested in Sarah and RahRah’s relationship, I think I would have been more concerned with the outcome there. Still, I did find myself caring by the end. Both storylines get resolved satisfactorily, with Sarah making some surprising connections in the murder case to wrap everything up.
There is a solid foundation for the characters here. They definitely have room to grow as the series progresses, and I’m sure they will. However, I felt we got to know the main characters well here, with the suspects being just as strong.
One Taste Too Many proves to be a solid debut. For those who love culinary cozy mysteries, one taste might not be enough.