Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Death in the Family by Marlene Bateman

In her debut mystery, Motive for Murder, gutsy private investigator Erica Coleman proved that when it comes to sleuthing, she takes the cake. Now, the fast-talking, food-loving heroine is back, and she’s sure her next assignment will be as easy as pie . . . Erica and her family happily anticipate Grandma Blanche’s eighty-first birthday celebration in the picturesque town of Florence, Oregon. But when the feisty matriarch, a savvy businesswoman, enlists Erica’s help in an investigation of her company, things quickly get sticky. Before the investigation can begin, Blanche’s unexpected death leaves Erica with more questions than answers—and it soon becomes clear that Grandma’s passing was anything but natural: she was murdered. When Aunt Martha, Blanche’s reclusive sister, becomes the next victim of someone with a taste for homicide, Erica uses her flair for cooking to butter up local law enforcement and gather clues. As she narrowly escapes becoming the third victim, Erica is more determined than ever to solve the case—before she bites off more than she can chew.

"A Death in the Family" is a cozy, culinary LDS murder mystery.  It is the second book in this series.  I didn't have the chance to read the first book, "Motive for Murder", and even though I could feel that at some points, especially in the beginning, I don't think it set me back all that much.  This is a book where the characters are LDS and it mentions going to church but there is nothing preachy or overly religious.

This book started off slow for me and took awhile to get into.  That may be due to the fact that I didn't read the previous book, I'm not sure.  About a third of the way through the book, my interest was peaked.  I think I was finally getting a handle on all the characters and who they were.  That always helps.

Erica is one OCD germ freak girl.  But hey, it helps her with her sleuthing so more power to her.  The woman even puts on latex gloves to pet baby kittens.  Where is the joy in that?  You don't get to feel that kitty softness.  Sad.

I think I suspected everyone in the book at some point.  There is no way I, as a reader, could have come up with the murderer based on the information I was given because a lot was left out of what Erica actually does to find out who the murder is.  It's just part of the "big reveal".  What I really liked was how the ending caught me off guard.  I was expecting the end and then I actually got this whole other intense situation that actually made the book for me.  Great ending.

Since this is somewhat of a culinary mystery, there are recipes in the book that go along with the story.  Those were some yummy sounding recipes and I'm hoping to try a couple of them myself.

You can purchase "A Death in the Family" at the following places:

You can find out more about the author, Marlene Bateman, HERE.

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