Pies & Peril by Janel Gradowski – the first in the Culinary Competition cozy mystery series, set in Michigan – is a fun read for foodie mystery fans. Readers with a sweet tooth will drool over the descriptions of the prize-winning baked goods made by the main character Amy, such as Bumble Apple Crumble Pie, Lemon Cheesecake Muffins, and Hot Fudge and Pound Cake Trifle.
As in all cozy mysteries, the person found dead at the beginning of the story was someone who wasn’t much liked and won’t be missed much by anyone, but friendly, generous Amy, the perennial baking contest winner in town – at first a suspect, herself – quickly finds herself in danger of becoming the murderer’s next victim.
Here’s a short paragraph from the early part of the story, where Amy’s friend Carla is trying Amy’s latest “chocolate therapy” – a fresh-out-of-the-oven batch of Quadruple Chocolate Muffins – the morning after Amy discovered the dead body of her main competitor in the annual baking contest:
“Carla peeled the paper wrapper off a muffin and took a bite. Heavenly was too weak a word to describe the taste. Tender, intensely chocolate cake studded with pockets of gooey, melted chocolate. If there was a more decadent thing to eat for breakfast, she couldn’t think of one at the moment. Poor Amy was exhausted and stressed out, but she still turned out muffins that were ten times better than anything Maxson’s Bakery ever served.”
The recipes in the back of Pies & Peril are not on my diet, so I haven’t tried them, but they sound delicious!
Fruit & Nut Brownies
Savory Parmesan & Salami Muffins
Tomato Pies for Two
Spicy Maple Dipping Sauce
The Culinary Competition Mysteries series titles in order so far are:
- Pies & Peril
- Chicken Soup & Homicide
- Christmas Canapés & Sabotage
- Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes
- Fudge Brownies & Murder
- Banana Muffins & Mayhem (June 14, 2016)
Pies & Peril
Gemma Halliday, 2014
Disclosure: I won a free SmashWords download from the author in a Novel Meals giveaway in July 2014. I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but I like culinary ones the best, so I’m glad I finally got around to reading Pies & Peril!
Other opinions on Pies & Peril:
Joy’s Book Blog
Happy Weekend Cooking!