The Kielbasa Killer (A Kielbasa Queen Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – New York
Severn House (July 4, 2023)
Hardcover : 208 pages
ISBN-10 : 1448311187
ISBN-13 : 978-1448311187
Kindle ASIN : B0BVR2N7TK
Lydia Wienewski can’t wait to open her dream Polish-American cafe and bakery in Cheektowaga. But while her father recovers from a stroke, Lydia helps manage the family business, Wienewski’s Weiners & Meats, over the busy Easter holiday. She’s soon preparing a huge amount of their famous kielbasa – and dealing with her father’s rogue meat supplier, Louie McDaniel.
When Lydia finds Louie dead next to the kielbasa in the family’s private smoker, her great-great-grandpa’s antique sausage pricker sticking out of his neck, her problems are about to get much worse – especially as she seems to be the police’s prime suspect! Who would commit such a terrible act? Lydia quickly enlists the help of her irrepressible Grandma Mary to find out. Can the sleuthing duo catch the killer and prove Lydia’s innocence before more grisly deaths occur?
Set in New York in 1982 right before Easter, Lydia Wienewski puts her dreams of opening a Polish-American cafe and bakery on hold to run the family business, Wienewski’s Weiners & Meats, while her father recovers from a stroke. Easter is a big holiday for kielbasa and Lydia has prepared plenty. But when she goes to get the meat that she prepared in the family’s private smoker she finds her father’s meat supplier, Louie McDaniel, dead with family heirloom sausage picker stuck in his neck. A man who had been shaking her down for money just hours earlier. Lydia and the rest of her family top the list of suspects so Lydia and her Grandma Mary decide they must catch the killer on their own to save themselves and the family business.
I thought the theme of the book was unique so I was excited to read it but it just didn’t really work for me.
The characters felt flat. This Polish family needed a lot more development so that I could find someone to root for. Lydia and her grandmother live together in a flat over her parent’s garage. Her grandmother was very supportive of her dream and even invested so she could get the property she wanted but apparently, the family meat business was in the red. This just felt strange to me. Why use the money to start a new business when a current business is failing? The failure did play a part in solving the mystery but it still felt off. Also, Lydia is a worrier, big time. I was assuming she is in her twenties but at times she came across as much older. I thought the grandmother would be a character I could get behind and of all the characters she was my favorite but she lacked depth.
The murder mystery was a very easy solve. I pegged the killer early in the story. Lydia and her grandma’s investigation was all over the place, more than almost any other amateur sleuth I have read in their first go at searching out a killer. There was also one huge clue that someone should have caught immediately especially a family immersed in a butchering business for as long as the people in this family. Heck, I knew it from biology classes in school.
I found the Polish theme interesting and I did enjoy learning more about Polish culture and the food, but I just wanted more.
Now, this book could be hindered by what I call “first-book-itus”. This is when the author has to introduce a whole slate of characters and encase them in a mystery that will keep the pages turning all in a certain number of pages. With this book coming in at just over 200 pages there isn’t a lot of room to do that. I think if the author had come closer to the 300-page mark the mystery could have been more complex and the characters could have been more fleshed out.
The Kielbasa Killer was okay. I would be open to reading another book in this series in hopes that the characters would be more fully developed and that mystery was more complicated.
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About the Author
Geri Krotow is the award-winning author of over thirty novels, including the Whidbey Island contemporary romance series and the Silver Valley, PD romantic suspense series. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Intelligence Officer, Geri left her Navy career after nine years to follow her heart and focus on her dream of becoming an author. When not writing or reading, Geri loves to knit and go on long walks with her beloved dogs. A native of Buffalo, New York, she relishes frequent return visits.
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.”