Rosemary and Crime
Gail Oust introduces a spicy new mystery series, wrapped up in a cozy, Southern comforter. Piper Prescott, newly divorced from a rich and sleazy local lawyer, has invested everything she has in the settlement, and then some, to plunge into her dream come true. She is about to open her own business, Spice it Up!, in the heart of a boutique business district in Brandywine Creek, Georgia.
The grand opening is just hours away. Piper has landed local celebrity Chef Mario of the Trattoria Milano to demonstrate to a standing-room-only crowd how to use her spices to prepare a leg of lamb. Chef Mario storms into her shop the afternoon before the big opening and loudly threatens to cancel his performance over the lack of quality of a key ingredient. Mario and Piper take the shouting to the sidewalk as Mario storms off in one of his infamous fits of temper.
Later in the evening, Piper steps down the block to see if he has cooled off, and finds that he definitely has. He is laying stone-cold dead in the middle of his kitchen. On her way in, she had picked up a knife in the grass outside the back door, and well, you can guess the rest.
"ROSEMARY AND CRIME is equal measures of romance and whodunit, mixed with tasty cooking tips. Mix with your favorite hot beverage and a crackling fire, and bon appetit!"
Piper becomes the number one “person of interest” as a murder investigation is launched under the direction of a brand new chief of police, Wyatt McBride. Her prints are all over the murder weapon, the public argument was noticed by several witnesses, and her alibi doesn’t hold up. Chief McBride hauls her down to the precinct for questioning as Piper realizes she is in deep trouble, especially when she finds out that McBride and her ex-husband were former sports rivals in school and remain enemies.
Piper and her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, who owns the beauty shop next door, are convinced that the new police chief, as gorgeous and experienced as he is, has lived in Miami for 20 years so is totally clueless about current affairs in Brandywine. This includes not only who is sleeping with who, but who doesn’t pay their bills, and who benefits if the restaurant is shut down --- all the not-so-closely held secrets of a small town. Half the town seems to hold a grudge against Chef Mario, and who but Piper and Reba Mae can set the new chief in town straight? Their knowledge of police tactics stems from too much television, so they know less than nothing about investigating a murder. They jokingly compare themselves to Lucy and Ethel as they stumble into hilarious obstacles in their stab at clearing Piper’s name.
Sometimes a cozy is even better when it’s a bit predictable, especially if it’s filled with funny, well-rounded characters, and a bright and sassy narrative. Add a heartwarming pooch, a huge cast of suspects and local scandal, and you have yourself an enjoyable weekend read.
ROSEMARY AND CRIME is equal measures of romance and whodunit, mixed with tasty cooking tips. Mix with your favorite hot beverage and a crackling fire, and bon appetit!
Reviewed by Roz Shea on December 20, 2013