Published: July 5, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Jennifer (J.J.) Tanner keeps busy working with her friend Skye as an event planner in Half Moon Bay, Vermont at Make It Happen. On top of that, along with her friends she’s a member of Culinary Capers—a dinner group that meets every month with each member picking a dinner theme. While cooking isn’t her strong suit, J.J. does her best. It’s her turn to plan the dinner theme and she’s chosen Italian. She considers asking famous chef Antonio Marcotti who she’s hired to cater a major event she’s planning for Make It Happen. But the temperamental Marcotti is far from approachable. In fact, he’s darn right argumentative. So much so that a number of J.J.’s friends clue her in to how many people he’s gotten into spats with. But when he turns up dead after his event with J.J., the police have no doubt she’s suspect #1.
Can she find the killer before the police lock her away for good?
I had a great time reading Linda Wiken’s TOASTING UP TROUBLE, the first in her Dinner Club Series. She has some great characters who are fully fleshed out, a fresh theme with her dinner club and a solid mystery. There is the token gay couple – who could be any couple with a good relationship. Missing from the “usual” cozy checklist are the disabled character and inter-racial couple so pleasantly the focus was on J.J. finding the killer. Wiken does a great job of weaving together J.J.’s day to day life of balancing work and friends along with her own insecurities over cooking her main dish. While that may seem a minor point, it goes to how well developed the character is from the git go. The sub-mystery of the stolen event ideas was a nice twist—although I knew who was behind it as soon as it happened. Most particularly I enjoyed how she led J.J. to solving the mystery of who killed Marcotti.
Cozy mystery readers will enjoy this one for many reasons. If you are new to cozies, this is a great series to start off with. Definitely one to add to your TBR.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.