Review: Blackberry Crumble by Josi S. Kilpack

13 Apr

Blackberry Crumble by Josi S. Kilpack
Desert Book (March 9, 2011)
Trade: $17.99
ISBN: 978-1-60641-941-0

Favorite Lines: “Not all things broken could be fixed; Sadie knew that from her own experience with loss and with life in general. She’d been reminded of the same thing in spades as she’d watched the depth of human suffering this week and tried to comprehend the evil that could rot men’s—and women’s—souls And yet, as the sun came up every morning, as the roses bloomed every spring, she was reminded again that there was healing even in a world so full of confusion and pain. There was hope. There was love.

And love, above all things, was worth the battle. (p. 362)

The word is out about Sadie Hoffmiller’s amateur detective work, but it’s not exactly the kind of publicity Sadie wants. In the newest culinary mystery from bestselling author Josi Kilpack, Sadie accepts her first investigation-for-hire and travels to Portland, Oregon, at the request of a woman who has suspicions about her wealthy father’s untimely death. Putting her detective skills to the test, Sadie delves into a past business partnership that didn’t end well, discovers some unsavory family secrets, and exposes more than a few motives for murder. When the investigation leads to threats against her safety, Sadie pretends to crumble under the pressure. But secretly, she is more determined than ever to uncover answers that seem to be buried in shocking scandal, insatiable appetites, and pure greed.

I’m a little surprised to say this, but I really enjoyed Kilpack’s Blackberry Crumble. It’s a feel good mystery featuring a 56-year-old widow. When I put the book down, I felt lighter…happier. The book is fifth in the Culinary Mystery series, but it is the first Kilpack book I’ve ever read and I had no problems. Enough is explained about the past to make it possible to read Blackberry Crumble as a stand alone.

First I you need to be warned. Don’t read this book when you’re hungry. The food sounds delicious and will have you craving…wait for it…blackberry crumble. The book has 11 recipes: blueberry muffin tops, potato salad, crab dip, cherry chocolate chip cookies, triple-berry summer salad, salmon and wild mushroom casserole, loaded bread dip, bacon ice-cream, bran muffins, blackberry crumble and second-chance baked potato soup. I can’t wait to try most of them. If you weren’t hungry before you stated the book, odds are you will be before you set the book down. But back to the story.

In previous books Sadie, the heroine, stumbled upon different mysteries and helped solve them. This time she is approached by a woman requesting Sadie investigate her father’s death. Apparently the morning newspaper featured an article about Sadie and her past. It questioned her character and the whole town seemed to be speaking about it. Going to church becomes a trial as the congregants whisper behind Sadie’s back. In addition, while Sadie thinks her relationship with Pete is leading toward love, commitment and marriage, there are signs that Pete may not agree. Sadie makes it clear that she is not a licensed PI, but when the woman persists in wanting to hire her, she agrees. It will get her away from town for a while and give her a chance work on her PI skills.

Blackberry Crumble has a few Bible quotes and religious comments, but they aren’t over the top or preachy. Religion is both a way of life for Sadie and a part of her. She’s not embarrassed or ashamed of her beliefs, yet she doesn’t force them on others. It all plays into how she lives her life: with integrity.

In regards to the mystery, I thought I knew who the killer was. I was partially correct, but in mysteries it’s all or nothing. Or maybe all or you’re dead. Dysfunction is at its best in Blackberry Crumble.

Conclusion: It’s refreshing to read a book about a mature woman whose kids have flown the nest. I liked her reaction to dating and the world around her. The situations she found herself in were both amusing and fascinating. I’m not going to read previous books in the series, but I do see myself picking up the next installment, Pumpkin Roll which will be released in this fall (2011).

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