Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lemon Tart: A Culinary Mystery by Josi S. Kilpack

I hadn't known what to expect when I started reading Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mystery, Lemon Tart, or that it would actually be fun to read a mystery. Even now, writing the word fun down, it seems an ironic word to describe this book. It could be a recipe for disaster as many of the story's ingredients were quite dark, after all , a young mother is murdered, a baby is missing, and a man struggles with adultery.
Right away you become aware of the resident baker, Sadie Hoffmiller, who has designated herself as a neighborhood spy because these two detectives, who are completely opposite and troubled as they work together, couldn't possibly solve this case better than Sadie herself. For these are people that she cares about and she can't turn a blind eye without helping by finding any situation where she might gather information whether or not it helps or hinders the investigation. Sadie is merely harmless and downright hilarious too. Even though she is a busybody, she is well intentioned and likeable. I partly expected her to show up anytime at my own doorstep with goodies in hand.
Since it is a culinary mystery, there were plenty of descriptions about food to make your mouthwater. So, for people who love food this is a book you may enjoy. I did make the brownies from the story and they turned out really good. Besides Sadie's personality, perhaps it is the food that makes this book feel fun after all.
It was an easy read and well paced. I have to admit that I thought this book was fairly predictable until the very end and I was wrong. So, you had me there, Josi, that was an unexpected surprise.
This is a book that seemed finished and can stand on its own so I'm interested to read the next installment, English Trifle, to see how Josi is going to make a series out of these. I know three ingredients to look forward to and that is Sadie, her recipes and the mystery, of course.

361 pages, March 2009, My rating: 3 stars


Christina said...

Oops, it looks like I might pick up a new series, already put it on my wish list. There are plenty of food mysteries out there, Joanne Fluke is one huge one with Hannah Swensen who owns her cookie shop, the Cookie Jar. I haven't made any of her recipes out of fear that they might be too good, though I'm awfully tempted. Other people have made some of the recipes and just rave about them. Yet when I read the mysteries, it's hard to tell if I'm reading for the story, the characters, or the food.

Julie said...

Hi Christina,

I'll have to look more into these food mysteries because I had a fun time reading this one.
I love cookies so the the Cookie Jar ones tempt me for sure. Thanks for the suggestion!
I also agree that it is hard to tell why I'm reading these - food, characters or story? :)

L said...

This one sounds similar to the Goldie Bear catering mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson. I really liked her first books. Any story with food gets an A+ in my book!

Julie said...

Those sound really fun too, Lula! Thanks and I agree food is great in stories.

Amanda said...

I love the line: "I have to admit that I thought this book was fairly predictable until the very end and I was wrong."

I've so done that!! Makes you go back and reevaluate everything thought. :D

Julie said...

That is so right. I find I did re-evaluate a lot that I thought.