Cabot Cove has nothing on Crystal Cove, California, where unsuspecting victims are killed in a cute little tourist town. But, when the police won't listen to her wild guesses, Jenna Hart decides to play Jessica Fletcher in Daryl Wood Gerber's latest Cookbook Nook mystery, Inherit the Word.
It isn't everyday that two women appear ready to duke it out right downtown in front of everyone, but Jenna and her friend and assistant, Bailey, have to rush in when Bailey's mother, Lola, is about to swing at Natalie Mumford, the restaurant owner who stole her chef. Unfortunately, Lola and Natalie are both contestants in the town's Grill Fest. This year, the competition is all about grilled cheese, and it's held at the Cookbook Nook. Lola might not be the only chef determined to beat Natalie, the eight-time champ, but when everyone has to evacuate the store following a fire alarm, and the former winner is found dead in the alley, Lola's the number-one suspect. Jenna doesn't need another reason to investigate. "The murder had happened outside my store. My best friend's mother was a suspect."
But, Jenna has two mysteries on her hands. It's been two years since her husband disappeared in a tragic sailing accident. And, it's only now, when her kitten, Tigger, breaks a Chinese lucky cat that she discovers what he left her. Now, she's juggling a search for a killer with a search for answers in her own personal life.
Daryl Wood Gerber has created a delightful setting, filling the Cookbook Nook with enticing cookbooks, mysteries involving food, and food itself. It's fun to recognize the other series by Berkley Prime Crime mystery writers, and, of course, the recipes in the book are enticing. There's a strong cast of characters to support Jenna in her search for answers.
But, Jenna herself can be a problem at times. Although she's almost thirty, she appears to be frantic and reckless as she runs around town with Bailey. It's hard to picture her in her former high-profile marketing job. Even her father tells her she's gullible. And, she admits she's a "Blabbermouth with brains."
However, it's easy to appreciate the setting, and hope that Jenna's findings in the course of this story will lead her to grow up a little. I found it easy to guess what was going on, but that may be because Gerber plays fair with the reader, providing two mysteries that mirror each other in many ways. Kudos to the author for creating a welcoming store with such a strong cast of characters. There's more than one reason to return to the Cookbook Nook mysteries. And, Inherit the Word provides a few hints of mysteries, and relationships, to come.
Daryl Wood Gerber's website is www.darylwoodgerber.com
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.