Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review: Do or Diner by Christine Wenger (Comfort Food Mystery #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Plot that builds; interesting characters
Cons: A few things that need to be ironed out in later books
The Bottom Line:
Comfort food poisoned
With extra ingredient
Mostly fun debut

As If Taking Over a Business Weren’t Hard Enough

Comfort food.  The very term brings to mind food that isn’t good for you, sometimes served in a greasy diner on the side of the road.  That’s exactly the setting for Do Or Diner, the first in the Comfort Food Mysteries.  While I did take a few issues with the book, overall I did enjoy it.

Looking to change her life, Trixie Matkowski has agreed to buy out her aunt from the family diner.  Located in the town of Sandy Harbor, New York, the diner is a popular place for those looking for old fashioned comfort food.

Her first day as the owner, the health inspector comes to call and dies from poisoned mushrooms in a complementary meal he was eating.  However, the diner has never served mushrooms.  With her new business losing customers fast, Trixie springs in to action to find out who really killed Marvin Cogswell.  Being relatively new to town, can she do it?

I had heard some people complain that the plot was slow, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all.  Yes, the early part of the book did focus a bit more on Trixie not really knowing how to run her new business, but the murder was never really in the background, and as the book continued, the murder took center stage more.  It builds to a suspenseful climax that I only partially figured out.

The cast of characters could have been a tad better developed, but I’m being picky here.  They were strong enough to keep me engaged in the story and care about the outcome.  I’m sure as the series progresses, the characters will get stronger.

Having said that, I do have some issues with the book.  Trixie’s constant discussion of how good Ty, the deputy and her new neighbor, looks and then commenting on how she wasn’t paying attention, got old.  It was cute at first, but not by the end.

I really felt like the time in the book was fluid.  At times, it seemed to rush by, and at other times Trixie had time to interview multiple suspects in the same morning.  Or maybe I was just distracted by the fact that Trixie hardly slept.  Honestly, she would have collapsed by some point before it was over.  (Or maybe that’s just how tired I get.)  I will point out the timing of the epilogue was certainly off for what was supposedly happening.

And yes, there are recipes.  There are several delicious sounding desserts but the pot roast and pork and scalloped potatoes sound equally good.

Overall, I’m glad I didn’t listen to others and read Do Or Diner for myself.  My complaints are really minor; this was a fun debut in what could become a strong series.


  1. I enjoyed this one as well. I actually picked up the second in the series. It reminded me a lot of the Connie Archer Soup mysteries which I also like.

    1. It's funny you say that. I read the first Soup shop mystery, and I didn't really care for it.

  2. I love cooking and cozy mysteries and always enjoy when the two are combined. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I'll definitely have to look for it.

    1. There are so many culinary series out there right now, it's hard to read and keep up with them all, isn't it?