Kate Carlisle's latest bibliophile mystery combines two elements that are favorites of mystery readers, books and food. A Cookbook Conspiracy, centered around a two hundred year old cookbook, is another outstanding mystery in this series.
Bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is as obsessed with great food as she is with old books. When her sister Savannah, the one who is a chef, asks her to restore a handwritten book, The Cookbook of Obedience Green, she's enthralled with the book. She's not as happy that Savannah is planning to give the book to Baxter Cromwell. Cromwell might be a world-renowned chef who is opening a new restaurant in San Francisco. He's also Savannah's ex-boyfriend, a scum who tried to force himself on Brooklyn years earlier in Paris. As much as Brooklyn hates to see the book go to Baxter, she can't turn down a request from her sister.
Savannah did sweeten the deal. Baxter is holding a grand opening, and each night a different chef is invited to cook. Brooklyn and her boyfriend, Derek Stone, of Stone Security, are invited to dine the night that Savannah is cooking her vegetarian specialties. It's a wonderful night, a celebration of good food and reuniting with old friends. Some of those old friends are not happy with Baxter's bow to the diners, and someone isn't happy when Savannah presents him with the cookbook. So, which old friend is responsible for Baxter's death? Brooklyn refuses to believe it's her sister, even though Savannah was found kneeling over the body, with a bloody knife in her hands.
Brooklyn Wainwright is the perfect amateur sleuth."Let's face it - I was nosy. But why not? Thsi was my sister's life on the line, and I was willing to do what I had to do to protect her." Time after time, Brooklyn has been involved in murder cases. However, unlike many other amateur sleuths, Brooklyn also becomes involved in these cases because of her deep feelings for the victims. It's something her hippie mother knows, and her parents' guru understands. She apologizes for complaining that she's always finding bodies. "I'm not the one who's hurting. It's the victims and those who love them. I think about the people who've suffered so much at the hands of some vicious killer. It's horrifying. And their poor families and friends will suffer forever. They'll never see their loved ones again, but they'll relive those painful moments over and over. That makes me angry. That's what hurts most. That's what I can't reconcile. It's so unfair."
Murder is unfair to the dead and living. And, Kate Carlisle's Brooklyn Wainwright acknowledges that over and over. The best traditional mysteries search for justice. It's a wonderful traditional mystery that celebrates books and good food. A Cookbook Conspiracy is the latest in a series that grows stronger and stronger, as Brooklyn continues to search for justice for victims.
Kate Carlisle's website is www.katecarlisle.com
A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle. Penguin. 2013. ISBN 9780451415967 (hardcover), 305p.
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