A Slice of Murder (A Pizza Lover's Mystery # 1) - What will they think of next? ...maybe I don't want to know!

A Slice of Murder - Chris Cavender

It's been awhile since I picked up a cozy mystery without checking any reviews but when I saw this series as ebooks on my library's database, I had to give it a try. I mean, come on, it's a mystery with a pizza place in it. How could it possibly be bad? And other then an inexplicable craving for a good Meat Lover's Pizza, it mostly lived up to what I'd hoped.

 

Eleanor Swift and her sister Maddy grew up in Timber Ridge, NC and seem to know everyone - and in Maddy's case, have them owe her a favor. Eleanor's husband Joe drug her along into owning the pizzeria and lots of other things, not that she didn't mind and didn't enjoy them, before dying two years before the book. While she loves making pizzas, she really loves this tangible connection to her husband she can't seem to let go.

 

However, her business lands her in the Chief of Police's sights when she delievers a pizza (because her employee called in sick) to the house of Richard Olson, the man she just recently publiclly slapped for rudely coming onto her! The Chief, who also stops his son from working at his job with her, seems to be ignoring any other clues, so Mrs. Swift and her sister Maddy, who is fun, slightly flaky, and reads too many mysteries, decide to find out who killed him themselves. To save her restaurant, her last real link to her husband, Eleanor will do anything.

 

While the Chief's focus on her was a bit...short-sighted IMO, there is a plausible explanation eluded to:

Olson was a blackmailer and we learn through his ex-wife that he wasn't afraid of being found out or arrested as long as Kevin was Chief. We find out the Chief himself had been blackmailed by him and he seemed more anxious to not stir up anything or really investigate and have the information get out. He wanted this to be cut and dried and he made it that way. Not admirable but even Eleanor finds it understandable.

(show spoiler)

 

We have a somewhat budding romance; trying to bloom from David's side while Eleanor keeps nipping it in the bud and some almost realistic sleuthing. There were also good suspects, red herrings, and enough other things going on to try and snag your attention. I'll confess, I suspected several people but the one I sorta settled on at the end was revealed to be the murderer. One of the better mysteries I've read in awhile.

 

The writing wasn't perfect and I can see where others found it stilted. Still, I found easy to read and the characters and mystery to interesting enough to keep me occupied. Also, I thought it got better once the introductions were out of the way.

 

I found the characters, even side ones interesting; plausible reasons for not letting the police handle it; and a good mystery. On to the next one...and I hope I can order some pizza tonight or tomorrow!

 

Note: The book also has recipes for pizza dough and sauce that sound heavenly. The sounds very flavorful while the sauce looks easy and yet tasty!