Monday, March 11, 2019

Cookin' the Books by Amy Patricia Meade

I can appreciate a cozy mystery in which the victim is a library director when the person is as obnoxious as Binnie Broderick in Amy Patricia Meade's Cookin' the Books. That's no spoiler because the flap of the book mentions that Binnie dies. And, any mystery reader who doesn't know who the victim is going to be, as soon as they meet Broderick, hasn't read very many cozy mysteries.

With the help of her friends, Tish Tarragon is opening a restaurant and catering business in Hobson Glen, Virginia. It's called Cookin' the Books Cafe, because she's a "literary caterer" using books as a theme. Her handsome landlord, Schuyler Thompson, recommends her business to Binnie Broderick. Binnie, the executive director of the local library, has a fundraising event in less than three weeks. Schuyler does warn Tish that Binnie can be difficult. That's an understatement.

Despite the warning, Tish takes the job so she can meet some of the local people and, hopefully, pick up business. When Binnie keels over in the middle of the dinner, Tish's hopes are dashed. She's afraid her only hope to succeed with the business is to find the person who poisoned Binnie before the reputation for Cookin' the Books is cooked.

While there are a few too many literary puns for my taste, many readers will eat those up. Cookin' the Books is a promising start to a new series. But, in my mind, Tish isn't developed well enough. However, her friends are quirky, and they shine. And, her friend Julian Jefferson Davis (Jules), the local weatherman, deserves his own book. I'm hoping Jules has a prominent role in future books. Unfortunately, in a cozy mystery, that means he'll probably be a murder suspect. (sigh)

Amy Patricia Meade's website is

Cookin' the Books by Amy Patricia Meade. Severn House, 2019. ISBN 9780727888495 (hardcover), 219p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Sharon said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as I did Lesa. I thought the literary puns were fun. I was more annoyed by the constant description of clothing and shoes. I agree Jules does deserve his own book. I hope to see more of Enid and Opal in subsequent books.

SandyG265 said...

I’m starting that today since I picked it up from the library on Saturday.

Lesa said...

I had another friend who loved it, too, Sharon. I have to admit I'm not really into broad humor. I prefer low-key wit and allusions. My problem, not a problem for other readers. Jules is wonderful, isn't he?

Lesa said...

Sandy, I hope you enjoy it as much as Sharon did.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Having seen a lot of hype on this one in recent weeks, I was wondering about it. Local library system has four copies on order and I have embrace the goal of making the TBR pile reach new heights and just put the first hold in place.

Lesa said...

And, now, Kevin, you're probably even more indecisive since Sharon and Kathy Boone Reel really liked it, and I didn't care for it as much as they did.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

It is all on the continuim. Some books are liked a bit more than others and yet still good.

What turned me off initally was all the book giveaway hype around it. I saw so many promos for it, I felt like it was just like the food ads during a sprorting event. They just beat you over the head with them. And it gets so much worse as the evening wears on.

Lesa said...

You're right, Kevin. And, when I see the same title roll across my screen multiple times, I tend to immediately dismiss it, rather than try to pick it up.