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 www.amypatriciameade.com
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.