Date published: November, 2011
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher
Retired school teacher Phyllis Newsom is looking forward to Weatherford’s first annual Harvest Festival and not only because her friend and housemate Carolyn isn’t going to be competing against her in the baking contest. The festival is going to support a good cause with the entry fee being a bag of groceries. With thanksgiving around the corner, Phyllis is brimming with plans. Phyllis’ entry into the contest will be her pumpkin cheesecake muffins. Eager to help out where she can, Phyllis joins Carolyn in preparing for the festival by delivering a dozen scarecrows to the site. Arranged in various locations they add to the atmosphere. But as the festival opens, something goes awry with one of the scarecrows. Just when Phyllis thinks her days of finding dead bodies are over, she makes a startling discovery. This time even Phyllis is stymied, especially when it looks like the victim ate one of her pumpkin cheesecake muffins. Not that the police are looking at Phyllis as a suspect; but murder does seem to turn up everywhere she goes.
I’ve been following Ms. Washburn’s Fresh Baked series and except for a less than satisfying ending in A PEACH OF A MURDER I’ve enjoyed this series. Not as much as her literary series but enjoying it just the same. Her literary series focuses predominantly on one character where as her Fresh Baked series has a wonderful cast of characters that appear in each of the books. It’s been fun seeing what man-hungry Eve is up to in each book, how Carolyn breaks a little more out of her role, watching grandson Bobby growing up through the different books and the chances in Phyllis and Sam’s relationship. THE PUMPKIN MUFFIN MURDER has some great character development, especially for Phyllis. The contrast between Phyllis and Carolyn is realistic and a great look into how each character as his or her own well developed personality.
One of the things I particularly like about Ms. Washburn’s characters is they are your basic, every day kind of people. They could be your neighbour or friend which makes it easy for a reader to feel like he or she is part of the action. Phyllis is written in such a way you feel either know her or perhaps even be her as she goes about solving crimes. The recipes at the end of each book are unique and at the same time easy to make.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.