Engagingly Dead: An Ella’s Extraordinary Eats Mystery
Women’s Sleuths/Contemporary Women’s Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – California
Contains Explicit Language
D’Vine Press (December 3, 2022)
Hardcover : 366 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8366870849
Paperback : 366 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8366870481
Kindle ASIN : B0BNYMM62W
Ella McBane is at a crossroads in her life. With her three daughters grown and now out of the house and no more daily kid duties to oversee, she turns to her love of fine cuisine to take her mind off her new life as an empty nester.
With a push from her best friend, Ella begrudgingly opens a catering business to put her self-taught culinary skills to good use. When her eldest daughter excitedly asks her to cater her upcoming wedding to a wealthy shipping heir, she can’t refuse the opportunity, however intimidating. After all, this family isn’t exactly used to old-fashioned home cooking…
But the successful celebration takes a decidedly horrifying turn when Ella trips over a dead body and her bride-to-be daughter is accused of murder. Despite strong evidence, she knows her daughter is innocent and she is determined to clear her daughter’s name, with no idea she’d be stumbling into the seedy and scary world of organized crime.
While tackling this challenging mystery, Ella is also dealing with an ex who still has eyes for her and a sexy former flame who has been reminding her of Paris and afternoons of champagne in bed.
Divorced empty nester Ella McBane is trying to fill her time. Her family and friends convince her to put her cooking talents to good use and open a catering business, Ella’s Extraordinary Eats. Against her future mothers-in-law’s wishes, Ella’s oldest daughter Savannah asks her to cater her engagement party formally celebrating her upcoming wedding to wealthy shipping heir, Mason Jarrod.
The event is well in hand, with no major issues and Ella can finally take a deep breath and join the party. She takes a little sidetrack through the garden to unwind a bit only to trip over the dead body of Mason Jarrod’s ex-girlfriend. The police move quickly and arrest Savannah.
Ella vows to leave no stone unturned to find the real killer with her best friend Noelle on board to help in any way she can.
Ella is also having to deal with her ex-husband that has moved into the cottage behind her house and trying to get back in her good graces. But when Ella’s mind is on romance she is thinking about another old love that has reached out to reconnect.
She’ll have plenty of time to worry about her love life when the right person is behind bars and her daughter is out enjoying her life again.
Because I have read this author’s other cozy mysteries I purchased thinking this was a cozy mystery. It does have some cozy elements but it is so much more.
Ella McBane is a character I can identify with and get behind. When all your children are grown a mother needs to find something to keep her life moving forward. Thanks to a very pushy friend Ella is pushed into that something rather than making the decision on her own. Her friend Noelle is a force and she doesn’t back down. She also swears like a sailor. And she is the perfect best friend for Ella. Her ex-husband Jay also thinks a catering business is a great idea. But he has problems of his own. He has moved into Ella’s art cottage after a huge fight with his girlfriend, the woman he left Ella to be with. Ella also has three independent daughters. Savannah is finishing law school and about to be married. Hailey works for one of the top wineries in Napa Valley. Erin is away at Rice University studying to be a forensic scientist. Michele Scott has created very strong female characters and I love that. The banter between Jay and Noelle is hilarious.
The story is a real whirlwind of one family behaving badly and another taking on whatever is being thrown at them. Ella’s quest to save her daughter has no bounds so she has a real mystery to solve and there is twist after twist as she reveals secrets and digs deeper to serve up the real killer. She has a fantastic friend that helps her get the information she can’t get on her own that helps other clues fall into place. She also butts into her ex’s life to find out what is really going on and get him out of her house. All this while trying to get her business off the ground.
Ms. Scott has penned a wonderful multilayered story with true-to-life characters and takes her readers on a wild ride.
Engagingly Dead kept me on my toes and at times on the edge of my seat. Entertaining, and suspenseful, layered with a lot of humor this book was almost impossible to put down. I hope another book with these characters is in the works because I want to see what happens next in their lives.
*Book Contains Explicit Language
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