#FlashbackFriday A Catered Murder (A Mystery With Recipes) by Isis Crawford #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

A Catered Murder (A Mystery With Recipes)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher: Kensington (December 1, 2003)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 157566710X
ISBN-13: 978-1575667102
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1575667258
ISBN-13: 978-1575667256

Bernadette Simmons wasn’t sure what to expect when she left L.A.–and her no-good, cheating boyfriend–to move back in with her family in New York. And her sister Libby had no idea what she was in for when she hired Bernie to work for her catering business. But in between cutting up canapés and dishing up desserts, the two find themselves in the midst of a mystery they can really sink their teeth into. . .

It’s only been a few days since Bernie and Libby started working together at A Little Taste of Heaven, and already they’ve got their hands full–baking cookies and slicing rare beef tenderloin to serve at a high school reunion. The dinner has a “Dracula” theme and a very strange guest of honor: Laird Wrenn, a New York Times bestselling author of vampire novels. Libby and Bernie know this will be an evening unlike any other. And they’re proven right when Laird pours a glass of water, takes a long sip–and drops stone-cold dead. . .

Now, with murder on the menu and Libby under suspicion, the sisters will have to put their heads together to figure out whodunit–in a mystery that promises to be deadly to the very last bite.

Includes 7 Delectable Recipes for You to Try!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bernadette Simmons escaped from Los Angeles leaving her cheating ex behind along with most of her belongings to return home to New York. There she starts working with her sister Libby at A Little Taste of Heaven, a store and catering company. They have been hired to cater a high school reunion with a Dracula theme. The guest of honor, author Laird Wrenn, even arrives with his own coffin. Sadly, before the night ends he is going to need it because after a big drink of water he keels over dead. Since Libby provided the bottled water she becomes a prime suspect but everyone at the reunion had access to it so the suspect list is wide open and Bernie and Libby are going to find who sucked the life out of the popular vampire . . . author.

I found the family dynamic interesting in this first book of this series. The sisters are as different as night and day but both seem to attract jerks and deserve better. In addition to working together, they are also taking care of their father, Sean, the former police chief. He is in a wheelchair but no real story as to why as been revealed as yet. Truthfully the author has not given any of the core characters much depth so there is a lot to be revealed in subsequent books.  I did like the interactions between the sisters and with their father. They came across as realistic and true.

The girl’s investigation into the murder was fun to read. Taking along treats when visiting the suspects did loosen some tongues. In fact, the heat was soon off Libby and onto one of her friends. I also liked that they talked things over with their dad to get his expert opinion. His replacement at the police department is a real tool and needed to be put in his place.  I was able to pull all the clues together before Bernie and Libby and the police but enjoyed following along to the end.

This story was good but I wish the characters were more fleshed out so that I would feel more invested in them. I identified a bit with Sean because I too spend a vast amount of time in a wheelchair but want to know more of his story. We did learn Bernie has an eidetic memory which can be annoying and Libby is a really hard worker but again I wanted more.

For me, the book is A Satisfactory Excursion, but I am not writing the series off. I have book #2, A Catered Wedding on my Kindle so I will be giving this author another chance. It is a long-running series, book #15, A Catered New Year’s Eve was just released so I am assuming the flaws I found in this story have all be ironed out.

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About the Author

ISIS CRAWFORD was born in Egypt to parents who were in the diplomatic corps. When she was five, her family returned to the States, where her mother opened a restaurant in Upper Westchester County and her father became a university professor. Since then Isis has combined her parents’ love of food and travel by running a catering service as well as penning numerous travel-related articles about places ranging from Omsk to Paraguay. Married, with twin boys, she presently resides in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where she is working on the next Bernie and Libby culinary mystery.

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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.”