I’m really going to get back to reviewing cozy mysteries… I’ve said this before, a dozen times over, and this time I’m a bit more serious about it. I've so many on my virtual bookshelves and my Unread list spans... well, you know, the usual number.
This week, we're covering A Trifle Dead.
My summary: Tabitha is a 20-something who bakes blue muffins*, tries to wrangle the local police force into new cuisines, and gets pulled into a murder mystery.
Plot: Zips along like it's had a few too many of the coffees poured at Tabitha's cafe. She spends a good portion of her time concocting new recipes and culinary inventions, and the murder investigation tends to be information and places she stumbles across. There's no list-making brain-storming malarkey going on here. I'm not sure how much sleep these characters actually get, but it doesn't look or sound like much. A suitable mix of seriousness and frivolity happens. Layered well, like the titular trifle.
The murderer: Now I'm rereading the book, I have remembered who it was. First time I read the book, I didn't guess. I actually guessed wrong, which I like in a mystery. If the reader is guessing wrong then the author is doing something right in misdirection.
Characters: You get to know them bit-by-bit. Tabby, as the narrator, does tend to give you chunks of information about herself but they're digestible. Others around her are introduced and given life a little more slowly, but I find this method works. Comfortable. Eases you into it.
Cover and title: Each in the series has a food-pun, which I like. The covers themselves are simple, just one image which is a visual representation of the punny title.
I chucked out the Netflix scale, but this is a book you can put down and pick up a few times without really losing your place. I have read it maybe three times and remember bits and pieces of it well enough to be constructing this review.
Overall 4.1 stars. The murderer is a bit of a backgrounder, but not so much that they blend into the cafe's wall art. Food descriptions aren't just cake, which is good, and they're lingered over a little longer than in other cozies I've read. They don't take centre stage though, which is good. Random little threads of amusing anecdotes make this cozier to read, like you're stepping in to Tabby's life. She's not just going here, there and that other place: she's doing interesting wacky things that manage to not be OTT.
*not a euphemism
Food comparison: Ooh, tough one. A plate of good sushi that you select yourself, with a hot green tea. It's not wildly expensive, but good nonetheless.