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Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery by Olivia Matthews #Review


Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery
Cozy 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?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.


Coming May 23, 2023

Also by Olivia Matthews

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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Murder by Page One: A Peach Coast Library Mystery by Olivia Matthews #Review – Great Escapes Book Tour

Murder by Page One: A Peach Coast Library Mystery
by Olivia Matthews

About Murder Page One


Murder by Page One: A Peach Coast Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing (March 23, 2021)
Print length: 328 pages
Digital ASIN: B08KHPBDBS

If you love Hallmark mystery movies,
you’ll love this cozy mystery with humor, intrigue, and a librarian amateur sleuth.

 

Marvey, a librarian, has moved from Brooklyn to a quirky small town in Georgia. When she’s not at the library organizing events for readers, she’s handcrafting book-themed jewelry and looking after her cranky cat. At times, her new life in the South still feels strange…and that’s before the discovery of the dead body in the bookstore.

 

After one of her friends becomes a suspect, Marvey sets out to solve the murder mystery. She even convinces Spence, the wealthy and charming newspaper owner, to help. With his ties to the community, her talents for research, and her fellow librarians’ knowledge, Marvey pursues the truth. But as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?

 

This first in series cozy mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Classic Peach Cobbler.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Do you have a library card? is a question you will be asked if you meet Marvey Harris. Her job is to increase community involvement at the library so the council will continue to fund it and hopefully increase their budget and she takes her job very seriously.

Marvey has made two great friends since her big move from Brooklyn, Spence, publisher of the Peach Coast Crier, and Jo, owner of the To Be Read Bookstore. The bookstore is where this story starts off for a book signing for local authors. One of the authors wanted to handle her set up herself but fails to do so before the event begins. In fact, it appears she never left the storeroom where her books were kept. When Jo, Spence, and Marvey try to track her down they make a horrific discovery. Author Fiona Lyle-Hayes is dead. She was brutally murdered right there at To Be Read. They are all stunned when the police quickly decide Jo is the killer. Jo begs for help and Marvey and Spence vow to find more relevant suspects. The killer starts to feel the heat and sets up some chilling events to try to get Marvey off the case. But she doesn’t back down, she gets even more determined to catch the killer.


As a cozy mystery lover Hallmark’s Movies and Mystery channel is a popular one on my television. I can easily see Murder by Page One as the start of a new series on their channel. I love that they are now publishing books.

Peach Coast appears to be a typical Southern town filled with genuine people including those that like to gossip and get all mixed up in everybody’s business. New girl in town, Marvey Harris already has a daily routine that puts her in the heart of gossip central. After the murder, a few folks are not afraid to speak their mind without any facts and get right in Marvey’s face to do so. All the characters are cleverly crafted. I really enjoyed Marvey’s confidence in almost everything she does. She is a little uncertain about getting involved in a murder investigation at first but she soon has the support of not only her friends but the entire library staff.  Ms. Matthews has done an excellent job of fleshing out her characters while leaving plenty of room for them to grow over the course of what I hope will be a long-running series.

There was a very interesting subplot woven throughout the story. Marvey has a gray tabby cat named Phoenix who not adjusting well to the move from Brooklyn. His behavior was unique and at times funny but his person is taking the behavior to heart seeing one veterinarian and then another to try to find answers and ways to help her pet. It really gives us insight into Marvey but more so how what we do in our lives affects our lovable cats and dogs.

I found the police handling the case to be simpletons that took the easy way out without really doing any investigation or following leads to didn’t agree with their theory. Of course, that set up Marvey and Spence’s investigation nicely. The author plotted the mystery with plenty of twists and a few red herrings. My thinking was on the right track and the lead-up to the reveal refined everything for me. The pace was comfortable at first and then became more intense the further we read into the story.

I do have a couple of peeves. The book is full of southern charm and well-known sayings. Marvey is a very intelligent woman so I couldn’t believe she needed to keep track of the classic sayings and their true meanings and that she had to refer to her notes often. I also noticed that there was an overabundance of peach references from food, to clothes, and even the way people looked. And don’t get me wrong I know peaches are a big thing in Georgia and Peach Coast and I love peach cobbler but there is no way I could eat it every day. I did like that it was even part of a race event, but I think the reaction by Marvey proves my point.

I do love mysteries with libraries as a theme. Murder by Page One has set the Peach Coast Library Mysteries off to a splendid start. The core characters are very engaging and I want to get to know them better so I am looking forward to the second book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Olivia Matthews 

Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym for Patricia Sargeant, a national best-selling, award-winning author. Her work has been featured in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.

Author Links –  Website   Facebook   Twitter   BookBub

Purchase Links

Amazon – Hallmark Publishing  –  Apple  –  Barnes & Noble – Bookshop –  Fantastic Fiction  –  Kobo – 

Also by this Author

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
March 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 18 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 19 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
March 19 – Books to the Ceiling – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
March 20 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 20 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
March 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
March 20 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 22 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
March 22 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 22 – Reading Reality – REVIEW
March 22 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
March 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
March 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

 

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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.”