Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, characters that grew
Cons: Characters take some time to grow, one aspect of plot not resolved
The Bottom Line:
Body in kitchen
And sweet shop becomes crime scene
Debut shows promise
Tally and Yolanda Find Murder is Not So Sweet
Looking at the books I’ve reviewed in the last month or so, it is obvious why I can’t get caught up on my to be read pile. I keep adding new series that interest me. And, as I’ve already established, I have a hard time saying no to new culinary cozy series that cross my path. And so it is that I picked up Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed it.
Tally Holt has just opened Tally’s Olde Tyme Sweets in the town of Fredericksburg, Texas. She’s using her grandmother’s recipes to create all those sweets you remember from the past like fudge and taffy as well as homemade versions of such things as Twinkies. Her shop is right next door to Bella’s Baskets, run by her best friend Yolanda Bella. The friends plan to use their businesses to help promote each other as often as they can. Tally has been a nomad most of her life, and she is looking forward to really settling into Fredericksburg, a town she lived in a few years during her teen years.
With tourist season about to kick off, Tally is hoping her new business will explode, but things come to a crashing halt when she finds a dead body in her kitchen. Gene Faust was the mayor’s adopted son, although no one in town liked him. He dated multiple women, borrowing money from each and then dodging paying them back. Unfortunately, one of those women is Yolanda, and her scissors are the murder weapon. Can the friends figure out who actually killed Gene before one of them is arrested for the crime?
It is fairly easy to see Gene’s death coming, but the book does a good job of establishing Yolanda’s motive and setting up another couple of suspects before his dead body does turn up. Once it does, Tally and Yolanda are off, collecting clues and trying to figure out which suspect had the motive, means, and opportunity to commit the crime. The way the clues and red herrings are layered into the book is very well done. One aspect of the plot isn’t completely resolved, but the killer is definitely caught, and we understand why Gene was killed.
I’ve mentioned Tally and Yolanda together several times. That is on purpose. The book uses both of their third person points of view to advance the story. While over half the book is written by Tally’s point of view, we do get plenty of scenes from Yolanda’s point of view. These switches are always easy to follow, and it’s a technique I enjoyed. Both of the characters contribute something to the solving of the murder, and I loved watching how things came together.
Unfortunately, I did feel the characters could be stronger at the beginning of the book, and it took me a little while to connect to them. As the book progressed, I did feel like we got to know Tally and Yolanda better, and the suspects developed into strong suspects who continued to confuse me in a good way. This is the first book in the series, and I’m sure we will be getting to know the characters better as the series progresses.
Remember those homemade Twinkies I mentioned earlier? We get a recipe for them at the end of the book. Yum!
Revenge is Sweet is a promising debut. As Tally, Yolanda, and the rest of our new friends continue to grow, this will become a series readers will devour as quickly as Tally’s sweets sell.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.