Wednesday, July 8, 2015

COZY FOOD MYSTERY: Death of a Crabby Cook/Death of a Chocolate Cheater by Penny Pike


At the San Francisco Seafood Festival, someone is steamed enough to kill a cook.... 

When restaurant reviewer Darcy Burnett gets served a pink slip from theSan Francisco Chronicle, she needs to come up with an alternative recipe for success quickly. Her feisty aunt Abby owns a tricked-out school bus, which she’s converted into a hip and happening food truck, and Darcy comes aboard as a part-timer while she develops a cookbook project based on recipes from food fests in the Bay Area.

But she soon finds someone’s been trafficking in character assassination—literally—when a local chef turns up dead and her aunt is framed for the murder. The restaurant chef was an outspoken enemy of food trucks, and now Darcy wonders if one of the other vendors did him in. With her aunt’s business—and freedom—on the line, it’s up to Darcy to steer the murder investigation in the right direction and put the brakes on an out-of-control killer….



I really enjoy cozy food mysteries like this one.  And while I did enjoy this one, there were a couple of content issues that I didn't like.  I liked the characters including Darcy, the main character, and her aunt and cousin, Dillon.  Darcy's Aunt run's a food truck business that Darcy starts helping out with after being downsized as a food critic at the local newspaper.  Darcy's love interest, Jake Miller, also runs a food truck (cream puffs, yum!).  When a local restaurant owner gets killed after a very public argument with Darcy's aunt, Darcy feels like she needs to find the guilty party before her aunt gets arrested.  The inclusion of luscious sounding recipes and food makes the book that much better.  The characters are enjoyable, the mystery takes a bunch of nice twists and turns, and worked well as a cozy mystery.  I would have liked it better though without the swearing/profanity and sexual innuendo (though nothing more than a kiss happens). I liked it enough though to read the others in the series.



Food truck vendor Darcy Burnett unwraps a murder at the San Francisco Chocolate Festival in this mystery from the author of Death of a Crabby Cook

At this year’s chocolate festival, Darcy and her Aunt Abby hope to win the $10,000 prize in the chocolate contest with Aunt Abby’s taste sensation: the chocolate raspberry whoopee pie. A little friendly competition from Darcy’s sometime-beau Jake Miller, who plans to enter with his chocolate cream puff delight, only sweetens the deal. But things get sticky when one of the judges, Polly Montgomery, is taken out of commission—permanently.

The suspects include every contestant with reason to believe Polly wasn’t too sweet on their sweets, including Aunt Abby’s high school friend. Now Darcy must pick through an assortment of secrets to catch a killer before someone else gets a bittersweet finish.


Darcy and her friends and family return to the food truck business by entering the local Chocolate Festival with Aunt Abby's new whoopee pie.  But once again things get complicated with not one judge but two of the judges for the contest die.  Darcy doesn't intend to get involved until one of her aunt's friends gets accused of murder.  To make things worse, her love interest Jake is helping out his ex-girlfriend with her divorce.  Another mystery full of delicious food (and recipes) with fun interactions between Darcy and the other characters.  I did enjoy this mystery except for the profanity/swearing and mild sexual innuendo.  The twists and turns were fun with plenty of interesting questions being addressed.

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