I love so many elements of Daryl Wood Gerber's Cookbook Nook mysteries. Jenna Hart is a caring, warm amateur sleuth. The Crystal Cove, California setting is charming. The latest story, Fudging the Books has not one, but two appealing young cats. And, the store itself! The Cookbook Nook is filled with cookbooks, and books about cooking and food, including numerous cozy mysteries with recognizable titles and authors. There's constant talk of food, and recipes included. I enjoy most of Jenna's family and friends. But, her best friend, Bailey, drives me nuts.
It's February, time for two celebrations in Crystal Cove, Pirate Week and National Chocolate Month. Tourists and townspeople alike enjoy the antics of Pirate Week. But, oh, National Chocolate Month! Local sweet shop owner, Coco Chastain, invites her publisher, Alison, to return to her hometown, and participate in the chocolate observances. But, when Alison is murdered at Coco's house, the atmosphere isn't quite so sweet. When Coco calls for help, Jenna turns up at the crime scene. But, even Cinnamon Pritchett, the chief of police, admits Jenna's snooping is helpful. "It comes naturally to you. You're good with people, and you care about them." Someone isn't so happy, and tries to shut Jenna's inquiries down. However, Jenna really does care about Coco and Alison's mother, and finding the truth.
Gerber's latest mystery is a non-stop, amusing story with a great cast of characters. And, as I said, I love Jenna and The Cookbook Nook. But, Bailey! While Jenna admires her for her plucky attitude and spunk, I see her as impulsive and pushy, pushing Jenna to ask questions and get in trouble. I'm with Jenna's Aunt Vera, her father, and her boyfriend, Rhett. Jenna needs to be more careful.
Saying all that, the two cats are adorable and heroic. Most of the characters in Gerber's series are appealing. Jenna Hart is an interesting amateur sleuth who continues to develop. There's just the right amount of romance. And, this is my favorite of Daryl Wood Gerber's mystery series. What's better than a bookstore mystery, especially one that specializes in cookbooks and food? Gerber's at the top of her game with Fudging the Books.
Daryl Wood Gerber's website is www.darylwoodgerber.com
Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425279403 (paperback), 287p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.