Series: Read 'Em and Eat #3
Published by Kensington on July 5, 2016
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The national bestselling author of Caught Read-Handed revisits Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where the proprietors of a local bookstore café occasionally take a stab at solving murder...
At their seaside Read ‘Em and Eat bookstore café, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work…
With their book club season wrapping up with The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, Sassy and Bridgy decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieland, who’s known for his colorful stories and love of the café’s Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history.
After a lovely excursion, the club returns to the café for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is found dead in his van. The sheriff’s deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don’t find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.
I received a review copy of this book from .
A spunky heroine, a bookstore-cum-cafe, a host of interesting secondary characters, and Florida’s West Coast — this series is a lot of fun! Read to Death is the third book*, and Moran is on a roll. Sassy makes a delightful heroine, and Bridgy is a stalwart if not always enthusiastic friend, business partner, and sidekick. In this case, though, Bridgy finds the body, putting her near the top of the suspect list. And while the local police force is perfectly competent, Sassy’s loyalty to her friend puts clearing Bridgy’s name at the top of her to-do list. Luckily, she’s curious, clever, and creative enough to come up with some useful information.
I suspected the killer pretty early on, but was so entertained that I had to keep reading, not only to see if I was right (I was) but to enjoy the unfolding story. There were several incidents and clues that made me wonder if I had the wrong suspect, so I wouldn’t say that the mystery is too easy to solve; I could certainly have focused on a different person.
Two of my cozy-mystery bugaboos are heroines with TSTL syndrome (that’s too stupid to live, in case you’re wondering), and unbelievable police, whether it’s because they are portrayed as incompetent or because they share too much with the heroine without a legitimate reason. Moran skirts close to the line regarding TSTL, particularly in book one, but so far, almost everything I’ve seen Sassy do is in character, and this time around, she’s smarter about taking backup with her. As for the police, for the most part Sassy respects them, and while she doesn’t always get along perfectly with them—particularly the police chief—she does have a reasonable and believable relationship with them, and vice versa.
One of the things I liked most about Read to Death is that it introduces Sassy and Bridgy’s mothers. If you think Bridgy’s Aunt Ophelia is a tad eccentric (albeit a lot of fun), wait ’til you meet Sassy’s mother! Bridgy’s mom is a bit more traditional, but all three older ladies are sure to make you smile. There’s a strong theme of loyalty to family and friends that runs through this series—something I really relate to and appreciate. I also really enjoyed the teen book club’s yarn bombing; it’s always fun when knitting makes an unexpected appearance in a book (or in real life!)
I was expecting some sort of romantic relationship to have developed by now, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it hasn’t. That’s not to say there aren’t some potential love-interests for one or the other of the main characters, but so far, everything seems to be staying on a friendship level, and I’m just fine with that. Not every series has to include romance!
If you’re looking for a cozy series with with warmth, humor, and just a dash of whimsy, give Read to Death and the Read’ Em and Eat cafe a whirl. I think you’ll thank me.
*I read the first book, didn’t get to read the second (something I plan to rectify next time I get to the library), and thoroughly enjoyed the third without feeling I was missing anything, so you could start with this one if you wanted to.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Summer Vacation 2016
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2016