Monday, May 2, 2011

A PEACH OF A MURDER by Livia J. Washburn

Publisher: Kensington
Date published: October 2006
ISBN: 978-0451219749
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via library

Retired school teacher Phyllis Newsom has a big heart and a strong love of her community and friends. After the death of her husband, Kenny, she opened up her home to friends Eve, Mattie and Caroline. And even though Caroline not only wins the peach baking contest every year, and smugly so, Phyllis remains loyal to her friends. While off picking peaches at the best orchard in the county, the owner, Newt, suddenly dies. It isn’t long, however, till what seemed to be an accident turns into a murder investigation. Phyllis wasn’t too fond of the deceased, but proper lady she was brought up to be, she won’t speak ill of the dead. With Newt dead and buried life moves on and she prepares for the peach festival.

The day dawns with Phyllis determined to win first place this year. Just as the head judge, Donnie, approaches her place he keels over dead. Two less than likeable just still popular townsfolk are dead and both suspiciously so. With the evidence pointing toward a direction Phyllis doesn’t like she digs in to find the murderer.

After thoroughly enjoying Ms. Washburn’s later series, her literary tour mysteries I decided to check out her earlier Fresh Baked series starting with A PEACH OF A MURDER. Something about the story just didn’t work for me. I spent a few days trying to figure out just what it was. I was disturbed by who the killers turned out to be. While the reasons behind the murders were valid, I had a hard time with it. There are characters you just plain like and when you find out they aren’t as wonderful as you think, it’s like a real life betrayal.

Despite the fact most of the characters were pretty two dimensional I liked the majority of them. Mattie reminded me of my grandmother; Eve was like Blanche from the Golden Girls, in fact, that’s who the four women reminded me of. And Sam – I really liked Sam. He’s that strong, silent type that despite being retired and getting on in years has something of the debonair hero to him. I hope to see him in future stories.

The competition of the peach bake-off was realistic and left me wanting some peach cobbler myself. I will continue with the series, but am hoping for a bit more depth.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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