by Gail Oust
Cinnamon Toasted: A Spice Shop Mystery
(Spice Shop Mystery Series)
3rd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Minotaur Books (December 15, 2015)
Hardcover: 320 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00Y7S5222
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Case in point: Piper Prescott’s former mother-in-law Melly. Beneath her twin sets and pearls beats the heart of a geek―a geek whose programming changes for the point-of-sale software in Piper’s shop have the owners of the program ready to make her an offer she can’t refuse. “Trusty” Rusty Tulley and Chip Balboa swing by Brandywine Creek―just in time for the town’s annual Oktoberfest, which has cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom flying off Piper’s shelves in record numbers. News spreads faster than a text message, and Melly is the toast of the town.
But it isn’t long before Melly’s status changes to public enemy number one when Chip’s body is found at the foot of her basement stairs. Questions start to pile up when handsome police chief Wyatt McBride arrives on the scene and the coroner sets the time of death for the previous evening. McBride wants to know why it took Melly so long to report the incident―especially after she admits to arguing with Chip about the contract he wanted her to sign. Piper knows Melly would never hurt a fly, so she enlists the help of her BFF Reba Mae to clear her name―but can they find the real killer before Melly gets sent away for good? A mouth-watering entry in Gail Oust’s delicious Spice Shop series, Cinnamon Toasted is sure to delight cozy fans of all stripes.
In this third Spice Shop Mystery Piper’s ex mother-in-law gets to spend a lot more time with Piper. You see a dead man has been found at the bottom of Melly’s basement stairs and her home is a crime scene so she is forced to move in with Piper in her apartment above her shop. Of course she could go stay with her son in his McMansion but he his fiancee is doing a bit of redecorating. Then there is the fact that Melly is the prime suspect. The dead man was in town with his partner to buy an upgrade she had designed for their point-of-sale software. It seems Melly is a computer whiz. The fact that the man had died the night before and Melly called Piper first before the police has Chief McBride pretty suspicious. It doesn’t take long for Piper to enlist Reba Mae’s help in trying to find out what really happened.
Fall is a busy time in Brandywine Creek with Oktoberfest, high school football and a production of Steel Magnolias at the opera house. Piper is stocking up on spices for all the upcoming festivities, including a huge party featuring German cuisine, her daughter is a cheerleader who is sweet on the quarterback and Reba Mae has been cast to Truvy in the play. Now the have to add a murder investigation.
Gail Oust has created a mystery that is spiced up with quite a bit of humor too. Piper and Reba Mae’s hi-jinks will have you laughing out loud.
All the characters have grown since the start of the series. It was a joy to get to know Melly better. She really is quite a lady. Piper is so self assured. She has a great relationship with her former mother-in-law and her ex husband too, even though he left her for Amber, a much younger woman. She does struggle with her daughter wanting to spend so much time with Amber but they are pretty close in age. 🙂 Her relationship with Doug, the veterinarian is starting to warm up although she and McBride have a little vibe too. Everyone needs a best friend like Rebe Mae. She follows Piper lead and they get in some crazy situations.
With a great plot and subplots that work Oust has given us an upbeat story cozy readers will truly enjoy. We learn more about spices too. There is also a gingersnap recipe in the back of the book I can’t wait to try.
About The Author
Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington. It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words, “maybe it’s a dead body,” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series originally published by NAL. In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries complete with new titles and a whole new look. Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s. When she isn’t reading, writing, or sleeping, she can usually be found on the golf course or hanging out with friends.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”