Book Review: Cherry Pies and Deadly Lies by Darci Hannah

Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies
A Very Cherry Mystery #1
Darci Hannah
Midnight Ink, June 2018
ISBN 978-0-7387-5780-3
Trade Paperback

This is the first book in a new series and for me it will be the last.  In Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies we meet Whitney Bloom, daughter of parents who own a cherry orchard and an inn in Cherry Cove, Wisconsin.  Whitney was recently fired from an ad agency in Chicago for producing a Super Bowl ad for a feminine hygiene product that ruined the manufacturer’s reputation, though the client actually approved the ad.  Desperate to make ends meet, Whitney started baking cherry pies and selling them via mail order in her business that she named Bloom ‘n Cherries!

However, following a phone call from her mother who told her that their old family friend and orchard manager had been murdered and Whitney’s father was the main suspect, Whitney decides to return home to help her parents.  Upon arrival she discovers that Jack MacLaren, her high school classmate is the detective assigned to the case and she, of course, decides he needs her help to find the murderer.  Although Jack doesn’t want her help, he grudgingly allows her to accompany him to the autopsy and gives her some information about the murder that he insists she swear not to divulge to anyone.

Immediately upon returning to her parents’ inn Whitney immediately blabs the information she swore not to repeat to her parents, her grandmother, and her two best friends.  And that is where this book lost me, but Whitney continues to blunder on, repeatedly putting her life in danger (TSTL anyone?), until she thinks she has nearly solved the murder – and then there is what appears to be another attempted murder.  As you have probably guessed, I can’t recommend this book but if you want a quick and light summer read, this might be for you.  By the way, the cherry pie and pot pie recipes at the end are nice.

Reviewed by Melinda Drew, July 2020.

Book Review: Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky Clark

Fiction Can Be Murder
A Mystery Writer’s Mystery #1
Becky Clark
Midnight Ink, April 2018
ISBN 978-0-7387-5332-4
Trade Paperback

Mystery writer Charlemagne Russo is an up and coming, best selling author, who is having a bit of trouble with her agent, Melinda Walter. According to the agent, Charlee’s royalties are falling off, and no one seems to know why. Angry words pass between them. Then Melinda is murdered and the method used is the exact way Charlee’s latest fictional victim dies. Who is the easiest potential murder suspect for the police to glom onto? Why, Charlee, of course.

Afraid she’s going to be hauled in on a murder charge at any moment, Charlee frantically begins investigating on her own. Her interests center on her critique group, all of whom have read the manuscript and may have a reason to dislike Melinda, who is well known for her harsh rejections.

Now, in order to avoid any spoilers, I’m going to say Charlee is one of those TSTL heroines. The surprise at the end when the guilty person is unveiled is a good one, even if getting there was sometimes a bit torturous. And I’m afraid Charlee’s love interest just didn’t turn me on. Awkward!

That said, the writing is good, and the story is paced well, although Charlee’s investigative questions and the answers received became a bit repetitious. And since the story takes place in a Denver winter, I think Fiction Can Be Murder would make a good book for a hot weather beach read.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, July 2018.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder, Four Furlongs and Hometown Homicide.