Death By Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves (Cozy Mystery Novel, February 2018).
This fun cozy features the amateur detective team from the Home Repair Homicide Series. Set in the same island fishing village up in Maine, “Jake” Tiptree and her best pal Ellie have now opened a chocolate-focused bake shop and they face a make-or-break challenge for this new enterprise, in the form of an ever-expanding commitment to supply the title goodies for the town’s big Fourth of July charity auction. So when the uber-obnoxious health inspector turns up dead on the premises and Ellie becomes the lead suspect, things get complicated.
An array of sub-plots are also in evidence. A looming hurricane threatens the town (including Jake’s seafaring hubby). Sam, Jake’s once-wayward son, is unaccounted for until well into the book and brings home a surprise, in the form of someone who will surely be an addition to the series’ cast of interesting regulars. The main plot takes multiple twists and turns, with deadends aplenty and some dangerous moments. It’s an all-together entertaining effort and the truth when it comes out requires no more of the willing suspension of disbelief than is typical for the genre. At the bottom of page 253, a jarring error snuck past the editors (two characters whose names start with the same letter were involved, with the wrong one named as commiting an evil action). A seemingly small thing, but it messed up what otherwise was a suspenseful and dramatic scene. But one such misstep, though irritating to the copy editor inside me, couldn’t fatally mar this capable and entertaining book.
So “Jake” Tiptree, Ellie and company have embarked on a (nominally) new series of puzzling crime books. And this one is a good, solid and sweet confection (complete with a recipe for the complex title offering after the plot is resolved).