Series: Southern Pasta Shop #1
Published by Gemma Halliday Publishing on August 21, 2014
Genres: Cozy Mystery
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Andy Buckland has always dreamed of being a chef. But after a live studio audience is stricken with food poisoning during her debut cooking show, she finds herself blacklisted in the culinary community. The only job open to her is working in her family's southern pasta shop, and, to make matters worse, her first assignment is serving baked ziti to her former lover and his spoiled bride-to-be at their engagement party! But a broken heart and a bruised ego are the least of Andy's troubles when she discovers a dead body at the party with the words "welcome home" written in flour next to it. Is it a warning? A threat? Or a frame-up job? Andy is determined to find out. With the help of her over-the-top Italian family, Andy will prove that she has what it takes to not only cook the best dish in town but also catch a killer, too!
I am amazed at how well Murder al Dente combined two of my favorite things – pasta and mystery. The romance was nice too, kind of like cheesecake for dessert after spaghetti and sauce. And parts are laugh out loud funny – no wonder I liked it.
Looking at Murder al Dente solely as a mystery, it doesn’t fare that well. There aren’t really enough clues and not that much actual sleuthing goes on. The whodunnit was a bit of a surprise, mostly because we don’t have enough background to have even come close to guessing. Thankfully, the killer gives the requisite speech so we know why things happened like they did, while our female amateur sleuth’s life is in danger because she went out on her own without making sure someone knew where she was going and who she was meeting. Why do they all do that?
But, overall I really enjoyed it. The characters are great. Andy is fun and caring. Her family is awesome. Her love interest is sexy and has a few secrets of his own. The town is supportive of her, even if she did poison an entire studio audience. It’s a good start to a series, but it’s just as much a romance as it is a mystery.
And there’s lots of food – and recipes. I actually tried the Chunky Tomato Mushroom Sauce and it was pretty yummy. I’ll probably try a couple more of the recipes – I do love pasta. For the record, though, your husband and daughter will look at you funny if you tell them you got the recipe from a murder mystery book.