Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – New York
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 24, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250839041
ISBN-13 : 978-1250839046
Kindle ASIN : B09XL7LK9C
In Olivia Matthews’s Against the Currant, the first Spice Isle Bakery Mystery, investigating a murder was never supposed to be on the menu…
Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York: Lyndsay Murray is opening Spice Isle Bakery with her family, and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. The West Indian bakery is her way to give back to the community she loves, stay connected to her Grenadian roots, and work side-by-side with her family. The only thing getting a rise out of Lyndsay is Claudio Fabrizi, a disgruntled fellow bakery owner who does not want any competition.
On opening day, he comes into the bakery threatening to shut them down. Fed up, Lyndsay takes him to task in front of what seems to be the whole neighborhood. So when Claudio turns up dead a day later—murdered—Lyndsay is, unfortunately, the prime suspect. To get the scent of suspicion off her and her bakery, Lyndsay has to prove she’s innocent—under the watchful eyes of her overprotective brother, anxious parents, and meddlesome extended family—what could go wrong?
The first book in the Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries introduces readers to Lyndsay Murray. Her lifelong dream has been to open a West Indian bakery featuring food and using recipes from her Grenadian history. The bakery is set to open in the Little Caribbean neighborhood, of Brooklyn, New York. She is so excited to be working alongside her parents, grandmother, and even her brother who is helping out with the opening.
The bakery’s opening day arrives and is very well received by everyone in the area except Claudio Fabrizi, who owns and operates another bakery a few blocks away. He doesn’t want any competition even though the new bakery is offering very different choices from what he serves at his place. He barges into the Spice Isle Bakery spewing threats and just being nasty. Lyndsay has been dealing with the man for weeks and has had enough. She comes around the counter and has a serious verbal altercation with him in front of a room full of her customers. So when Claudio is found murdered the next day, Lyndsey finds herself at the top of the suspect list, Before her lifelong dream goes up in smoke she has to find the real killer and fast.
I love that this story features a tight closely knit family. Lyndsay starts out pretty meek and mild but over the course of the book her self confidence grows exponentially. It was a pleasure to see this happen. Her grandmother is also a treasure. Sitting at a table crocheting, ready to jump in and help in any way possible. She is not afraid to speak her mind or give a push or a shove to get anyone moving in the right direction. Her parents are hard workers who love their daughter and want to help her succeed. Her father is in charge of the Caribbean music played at the bakery and Lyndsay knows his emotions through the songs he plays. Her brother Dev, a junior partner of an international law firm has taken time off to help during the opening week. Family always comes first and they back it up in both their words and actions. All are cleverly written and evolve nicely throughout the story, leaving plenty of room for growth as the series continues.
The mystery was complex with more suspects than I first imagined. Claudio Fabrizi was not a nice man. He was cantankerous and rude. No wonder his business was going down the tubes. Filled with twists and turns Lyndsay followed the clues, asked some great questions, and did her best to solve the mystery. Like me, she was surprised when the guilty party revealed themselves, but her actions in the showdown were absolutely epic and had me cheering.
I really enjoy Ms. Matthews’s descriptive writing style. She sets a scene so well without getting overly wordy. I could easily imagine each place Lyndsay went. I could hear the music and smell the food. All the food served at the Spice Isle Bakery was new to me but everything sounded so good. Recipes for the popular Currant Rolls and Coconut Bread are included at the back of the book.
The Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries are off to a great start with Against the Currant. The characters are unique and interesting as is the setting of the Little Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn. I am excited to see the series continuing with Hard Dough Homicide which will be released in May. I am eager to see what drama Lyndsay Murray and her family get into next.
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About the Author
OLIVIA MATTHEWS, pen name for romance author Patricia Sargeant, is a national bestselling and award-winning author. The Spice Isle Bakery mysteries are inspired by the author’s family history and the history of her birthplace. As Olivia Matthews, she is also the author of the Sister Lou mysteries and Peach Coast Library mysteries, and writes romance as Patricia Sargeant and Regina Hart.
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.”