Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, good mystery
Cons: Pacing could be better
The Bottom Line:
Dead body sidetracks cookbook
Good series begins
War of the Scones
Over the last couple of years, I've become a fan of the Pampered Pets Mysteries written by the writing team of Sparkle Abbey. So, when I saw that one of those authors was launching a series of her own, I had to start it. Plus, I don't seem to be able to resist a culinary theme. That’s why I picked up Game of Scones by Mary Lee Ashford. I'm glad I did.
This book introduces us to Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway, “Sugar” to friends. After losing a job at a food magazine, Sugar goes into business with award winning baker Dixie Spicer to form Sugar and Spice Cookbooks. Their plan is to focus on helping to launch community cookbooks.
Their first project is very close to home since they are working on a cookbook for the centennial of St. Ignatius, Iowa, the town they've set up their business in. Unfortunately, the cookbook project has heated up the long simpering feud between Elsie Farmer, a member of the most powerful family in town, and Bertie, Dixie's aunt. The pair are currently fighting over who has the best scone recipe. There is only room for one in the book, and both think their recipe should be included.
In an effort to find a compromise, Sugar stops by to visit Elsie. However, she finds Elsie in her garden dead. After their very public fight, naturally Bertie is the prime suspect, but Bertie seems to have left town. Or has something worse happened to her? With Dixie distracted by her aunt's disappearance, Sugar begins to try to figure out what has happened. Can she find the truth?
I can't remember the last time I read a mystery set in Iowa, and I found that a lot of fun. St. Ignatius is a charming town with that small-town appeal we love in a cozy. I'm already looking forward to many more visits there.
Likewise, the cast is fun. Sugar and Dixie are a great pair, and they make a formidable duo. We meet an assortment of family and friends, and I felt like we got to know several of them here. I'm looking forward to learning more about everyone in future books. The suspects are strong and kept me intrigued.
I did feel the pacing was a bit off. However, I never lost interest, and it wasn't long before something else intriguing would happen. Things came together for a great climax and wrapped up everything perfectly.
And what's a culinary cozy without recipes? I wasn't surprised to discover that we get both scone recipes as well as a broccoli gratin recipe. I must admit there was one cookie mentioned in the book I was intrigued by, but it wasn't included.
I'm definitely looking forward to visiting Dixie, Sugar, and the rest of the gang again soon. Game of Scones whets your appetite for more mysteries to come.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.