Monday Book Review: It Cannoli Be Murder

Today, the third installment of Karoline Barrett's "Bread and Batter" series: It Cannoli Be Murder. Possible spoilers ahead.

In short, Molly and her baking partner Olivia get sucked into a new mystery when a dude with alleged mafia ties shows up in town, buying up a winery and wine-and-dining their good friend Emily. When a Senator - and then her twin sister - show up dead, all fingers point to the mob. Needless to say, theories run wild, and Molly gets drawn into the mystery. Again.

At around 417 pages, there's a bit of heft, more than I expected in a story like this. Normally I'd expect it to sort of hover around 300, maybe the low 300's at a stretch. Either way the length is pretty good, I don't think I remember there being much that could be cut. I may've skimmed in a place or two, but then that might have had more to do with being on a train and near my stop than actual, you know, plot impatience. I read this over 2-3 days, because this sort of word count doesn't fit into one of my evenings. Good for a weekend, I imagine, or a slow rainy day.

So. The plot. I really enjoyed the way it moved at a quick clip, taking no prisoners with who gets it and how. Molly's involvement became a little more above-board, with her getting permission from the authorities to do a bit of noseying around - with the blessing of her detective boyfriend. Typically cozies have the MC sneaking and snooping around, so it was a nice change of pace to twist that around.

The mystery was solved quite near to the end, I was starting to get a little nervous. Have to say, I didn't cotton on to whodunnit. There were also a few snazzy twists added into the mix, making me slow down (normally I tear through a book like... like how I tear into a cookie) and the final reveal was something I wasn't expecting. At least two of my clever theories were wrong. (Side note - one of the theories was mistaken identity. Spoilers.)

There was also development of the bakery further (reading about the baking experiments is always fun, I don't recommend it on an empty stomach though), and some of the background/supporting characters from earlier books stuck around and made themselves at home. It's always nice to see when that happens. It's also good to see when the backgrounders get their own smaller storylines tucked in, not just the main.

If I were to say one thing, I'd like the page count to have come down a bit further. While the length did work, and the longer story meant longer suspense, I found that time constrictions meant I was picking it up and putting it down. Made it a bit harder to stay in it - however, like I said, that's my own time-poor self talking. Overall I really enjoyed it.

4 stars.