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Murder By the Slice: A Fresh-Baked Mystery Mass Market Paperback – September 25, 2007


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Murder By the Slice: A Fresh-Baked Mystery + A Peach of a Murder: A Fresh-Baked Mystery + The Christmas Cookie Killer: A Fresh- Baked Mystery
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Product Details

  • Series: Fresh-Baked Mystery (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451222504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451222503
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Under the names Livia J. Washburn and L.J. Washburn, Livia Reasoner has been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery, western, romance, and historical novels for almost thirty years. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories.

In addition to writing, Livia enjoys photography, arts, crafts, and cooking, but she also loves having a pile of lumber, a circular saw, and a building project. An accomplished carpenter, she has framed houses and built more sets of bookshelves than she can remember, some of which have been filled with the books she's written. A good day for her includes having time to create something new in the kitchen, on a story, and in the garage.

Livia lives in the Texas countryside with her husband, and her dogs. Her websites can be found at www.liviawashburn.com, and she blogs when she can find the time at http://liviajwashburn.blogspot.com.

Customer Reviews

Fun clean mystery.
Ann Chambers
There are some recipes in the back which look pretty good, and a preview of the author's next book, which I can't wait for!
Butterscotch
So I was surprised that I found this book to be too slow in plot development.
AMom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on November 1, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Janelle Martin

October in Texas means Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) fundraising carnivals at many of the elementary schools. Retired teacher Phyllis Newsom always takes an interest in school happenings, but helping to organize the carnival for Oliver Loving Elementary School wasn't part of her plan. However, when a friend of Carolyn Wilbarger comes to her with a desperate plea for help with the bake sale, Carolyn and Phyllis reluctantly agree to assist.

Carolyn suggests a "healthy snack" contest in addition to the traditional cake auction - an idea quickly approved by the PTO board. In a moment of harmony, Phyllis decides to participate in the auction, leaving Carolyn the baking contest. Peace seems ensured, that is, until the obnoxious head of the PTO sticks her oar in their plans, insisting Phyllis enter the baking contest. Competition is again flowing between Phyllis and Carolyn and disaster seems inevitable, until the PTO chairperson is killed at the carnival and the retirees band together to solve the crime.

Murder by the Slice is the second entry in Livia J. Washburn's "Fresh-Baked Mystery" series. This cozy mystery series is the perfect antidote to the preponderance of blood and gore thrillers currently in vogue. Some may choose to stereotype Washburn's books as "sweet" or "wholesome," however; that does her books a great disservice (although there are lots of descriptions of pastries).

Washburn has created a charismatic group of characters who happen to be seniors, an active diverse bunch, far removed from the stereotype of doddering, helpless "grey-hairs." Phyllis and her friends are useful members of the community, valued for what they contribute, and actively embrace life.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Weatherford, Texas, four members of the Retired Teachers Association sell baked cakes as a scholarship fund raiser. When Loving Elementary School Parent-Teacher organization member Marie Tyler comes by their table, she asks the quartet to help her with the carnival that she is chairing. As Phyllis Newsom is about to say sorry, but too busy, Dolly Williamson says yes that they will help with the food.

The ladies agree to have a food contest but all entries must be healthy. However, as the RTO members meet the PTO leader dictatorial Shannon Dunstan, each wants to say no as the woman is outrageous, nasty, and demanding; Phyllis believes that's her better qualities. Still they honor their commitment, but at the gala, someone kills Shannon using a knife that Phyllis believes is one she used on her cake. Besides her fingerprints, telltale frosting is on Shannon's body. Knowing that she is now the prime suspect, Phyllis begins her own inquiry; only it seems to her that the entire state of Texas loathed the late nasty martinet and alarge segment had the opportunity to kill her but who was willing to actually stab her while facing her remains a mystery.

MURDER BY THE SLICE is A PEACH OF A MURDER due to the retired chick lit asides by the heroine whether she sells cake at Wal-Mart or Loving Elementary or during her investigation. The whodunit is fun and the recipes mouthwatering. Putting aside the assumption that the intelligent retired JHS history teacher would hire an expert investigator, it is her bumbling amateur sleuth antics that cook up a tasty culinary mystery.

Harriet Klausner
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Glass on March 1, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I usually like this type of mystery. In fact, the mystery part of this book was pretty good. However, I found myself hating the "heroine", Phyllis, so much, that it was hard to decide who should get murdered, her or the up-coming victim. I could not identify with this charactor at all. And at the end of the book, that's what remained with me more than an adequate solution to the mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Deeth VINE VOICE on January 6, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I discovered cozy murder mysteries relatively recently, and they're perfect for reading on a cold dark winters' night, wrapped in a blanket, warmed by a cup of hot cocoa perhaps. Murder by the Slice by Livia J. Washburn is set around Halloween, so perhaps some seasonal cookies or cake would help too--a slice of jack-o-lantern cake perhaps, with orange and green frosting. The author provides some interesting recipes in the back of the book, and her decorated cake reminded me of days when I used to produce strange edible objects for sons' birthday parties. Of course, the characters in this novel are more likely to produce cakes for grandsons. Their children are grown, including one who's a cop. And their cakes are well-planned, well-rehearsed, while the characters even solve murder mysteries on the side.

Actually, I'd never thought of practicing, before producing birthday cake, which may explain a lot. I hope never to practice solving solving a real murder, but Phyllis does an excellent job in her second case. Following her path through celebration and school, parent-teacher-organization and clues, makes for a really enjoyable evening's read.

There are people in this novel you'll imagine you've already met, situations you're bound to have seen, and children struggling to cope with their parents' vagaries. There's a dead body, multiple suspicious characters, a hint of romance and competition, and, of course, there's cake and a knife to cut it with.
I picked this book up for the title and really enjoyed it, so now I'll have to look out for more.

Disclosure: I bought this book second-hand from a local store to add to my cozies collection.
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