Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust (Deep Dish Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (April 25, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250792452
ISBN-13 : 978-1250792457
Kindle ASIN : B0B8X3FK6Z
Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust is the second book in Mindy Quigley’s delectable Deep Dish Mystery series, set in a Wisconsin pizzeria.
Newly single pizzeria owner Delilah O’Leary is determined to keep her restaurant afloat in the picturesque resort town of Geneva Bay, Wisconsin. To boost her bottom line, she sets her sights on winning the hefty cash prize in the town’s annual “Taste of Wisconsin” culinary contest. In her corner, she’s got her strong-willed, “big-boned” cat Butterball, her wisecracking BFF, her cantankerous great-aunt, and a nearly-flawless recipe for Pretzel Crust Deep-Dish Bratwurst Pizza. But while Delilah and her team have been focused on pumping out perfect pizza pies, her ex-fiancé has cozied up to a new squeeze, juice bar owner Jordan Watts—Delilah’s contest rival.
When one of Jordan’s juice bar customers is poisoned by a tainted smoothie, Delilah lands deep in the sauce. Accusations fly, suspects abound, and a menacing stranger turns up with a beef over some missing dough. Between kale-juicing hipsters and grudge-bearing celebrity chefs, Delilah must act quickly before another one bites the crust.
We arrive in Geneva Bay, Wisconsin as Delilah O’Leary is working on her entry for the annual “Taste of Wisconsin” culinary contest. She is trying to find the perfect recipe for a Deep-Dish Bratwurst Pizza with a pretzel crust. Delilah’s ex has moved on with Jordan Watts owner of the local juice bar. Jordan is also working on her entry for the contest.
Delilah shares custody of the large lovable feisty cat Butterball with her ex Sam. Sam has put Butterball on a diet and that makes for a very hungry and unhappy kitty. Delilah agrees to meet Sam at Jordan’s juice bar to give him Butterball. While there chaos ensues when a customer is poisoned and dies after drinking a smoothie. Was the victim the real target? How did the poison get in the smoothie? Are other people in danger? Delilah and Detective Calvin Capone are reunited as she finds herself deep in the middle of another murder investigation and on his suspect list.
Then another body is found with a connection to Sonya, Delilah’s BFF, sous chef, and namesake “Son” of Delilah & Son pizza restaurant. The heat gets turned up high. A killer needs to be caught before anyone else gets burned.
I am really enjoying this series set in my home state. Talk of bratwurst and cheese and I am right there. Haven’t ever had bratwurst on a pizza but I guess it could easily replace Italian sausage.
Delilah was a little harsh in the first book mostly due to her OCD tendencies but I didn’t notice that as much this time, but her Aunt Biz sure is acting strange. Sonya was more of a focus in this story when her past catches up with her. All three of these women are strong with their own struggles. They are all also very stubborn and have a hard time accepting help even from each other. That being said, they are cleverly crafted and I was really drawn into each of their stories. I still am not a fan of Sam but by the end of this story, he earned a few points that may change my opinion in the future. I really love Aunt Biz who knows everyone in town having taught most of them.
Readers are introduced to some new characters too. Harold Heyer, president of the Geneva Bay Convention and Vistors Bureau. With the culinary contest, he seems to pop up everywhere. Molly McClintock aka Mac is Melody’s cousin and she is up to something. Jordan Watts, owner of Juice Revolution, and her employee Jarka, who was a doctor in Bulgaria but until her English improves and she can take the necessary tests she can only find work at a smoothie shop. Mac also works at the juice bar. All these characters had a purpose in the story and were fleshed out throughout the story.
Wisconsin has been said to popular with the Chicago mobsters back in the 1920’s and the author draws on that history both in Delilah’s restaurant and in the mysteries which makes them even more intriguing. With plenty of suspects, twists, and turns I was delightfully entertained. I was able to put some of the clues together before Delilah but not enough to not be surprised at the reveal.
I loved all the descriptions of Wisconsin and that the author takes the time to make her characters sound like Sconies. She also adds humor in all the right places.
Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust is a marvelous addition to this series. The characters have grown in ways I like and I am now invested in their lives. The ending sets up a very interesting twist that I am anxious to see play out. The story gets a strong 4 star-fish from me. It was a very enjoyable cozy getaway. I am looking forward to the next book.
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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.”