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Pie a La Murder (Della Cooks Mystery)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Della Carmichael, owner of a cooking school and star of a cable cooking show, has just learned that her boyfriend Nicholas has an 18-year-old daughter, Celeste, whom he hasn't seen since she was a baby and who now wants to live with him. Celeste wants to be an actress and arranges to have photos taken by a celebrity photographer who then tries to exploit her. When he is discovered murdered, Nicholas becomes the prime suspect. It is up to Della to clear his name as she deals with a surly Celeste, Nicholas' ex-wife Tanis, organizing a baking contest for charity, and trying to stay alive herself as she becomes the target of the real killer.

This is the first book I've read in the Della Cooks Mystery series and I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one day. The story moved quickly and kept me interested from start to finish without bogging me down with too many details and I enjoyed the characters. I look forward to reading future books in this series, as well as catching up on the past titles. Anyone who enjoys the "cozy mystery" genre will like this one.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Della's boyfriend just informed her he has an 18 year old daughter. Her mother has sole custody and she lives in Europe. However, she's asked to move in with him. Della's dumbfounded at the idea. Still she hopes to make the best of it.

She invites Nicholas and Celeste to her cooking show. She debuts easy to make pies.

Hoping to make it in Hollywood, Lindy and Della invite her to a luncheon. There Celeste meets a prominent photographer. She makes an appointment to have her photo taken.

Before long, Della finds Celeste's mother fuming on her doorstep. Apparently the photographer took a very risque photo of Celeste holding a pie.

Now her parents are fuming and want to confront the photographer. It's unfortunate that Nicholas finds his body and Della arrives at the house soon after. Now the police are sure Nicholas murdered him. Can Della keep the police from arresting the wrong man?

My Thoughts: This is the 4th in this delightful series. I love Della. I love her cooking show and her prep work for it. With her connection to the police force, she's very good at figuring out clues and poking her nose in dangerous situations. I love her friendships with her honorary daughter and her two girl friends. Plus there are yummy recipes to try! The romance between Nicholas and Della go through some real ups and downs in this book, but remain true to their characters. Another wonderful addition to the series!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
I appreciate knowing titles in a series in order of publication, don't you? The titles in "a della cooks mystery" are: (1)Killer Mousse (Wheeler Large Print Cozy Mystery). (2)Death Takes the Cake (Della Cooks Mystery). (3)The Proof is in the Pudding (Della Cooks Mystery). (4)Pie A La Murder (Della Cooks Mystery).

The publisher's blurb sets the scene: "Della is in the middle of Operation Pie, a bake sale contest to raise money for charity, when her sweetie pie, Nicholas, drops a bombshell: He has an eighteen-year-old daughter named Celeste, whom he hasn't seen since she was a baby, and she's coming to live with him. When Celeste becomes embroiled with a Hollywood photographer who intends to exploit her, her father flies into a rage. And when Nicholas is discovered at the scene of the man's murder, he becomes the prime suspect."

Wells writes wonderfully detailed physical descriptions of her characters. Here is the murder victim:
"He was attractive in a kind of bland way, an older version of one of those surfer-type actors in movies from the sixties with names like Tab and Troy. His nicely chiseled face wasn't familiar, which made me {Della} wonder if he'd come to California to be an actor but it hadn't worked out and he'd become something else." {Large Print, Page 54}.

Wells cares about her characters. They are flesh-and-blood, and the reader cares as well. One of Della's best friends suffers from a mental illness, and, here are her landlords: "The Trans, refugees from South Vietnam, had spent years either trapped in war or waiting in camps for their turn to emigrate to the US. In spite of the horrors they must have endured, Mrs. Tran's demeanor was always sunny. Mr. Tran, frail from what she had told me were his several years of imprisonment in North VIetnam, spoke little, but his eyes were warm and kind." {Lare Print, Pages 220-221}.

And Wells's sweet animal characters are back. Tuffy, the black standard poodle, based on her real life puppy, and Emma, the gold and gray calico rescue kitten: "Tuffy came to the studio with me. He was a fixture on the set which had been built as an exact replica of my basically low-tech yellow and white home kitchen, right down to a duplicate LL Bean dog bed. The camera operators photographed Tuffy watching me curiously, ready to taste anything I might drop. Those shots resulted in Tuffy getting his own electronic fan mail. {Large Print, Page 23}.

Wells educates her readers with bits of pie history in Egypt, for example. And, of course, her recipes are simple and delicious. I personally appreciate the sweet potato pie recipe.

And finally, touches of humor are always part of the mix. The interview scene between Della and a sports guy is LOL-funny. Thank you, Melinda Wells.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just read "Pie a la Murder" by Melinda Wells. Move over Agatha Christie, Della's on the job. She can catch the the murderer AND make a great pie! A mouth-watering great story. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
Melinda Wells delivers another excellent mystery in the 4th Della Cooks Mysteries. PIE A LA MURDER focuses primarily on Della's relationship with Nicholas D'Martino and the reappearance of a teenage daughter she never knew he had. What I like most of all about the series is the way Melinda Wells presents her protagonist as a woman with real-life issues that are completely relatable. I love Della's self-assured confidence. No one messes with Della. She's an intelligent and sexy woman and a loyal friend. This book is definitely edgier than it's predecessors as Melinda Wells really hits her stride with a fast-paced and clever murder plot. I couldn't guess whodunnit and I couldn't put the book down. I can't wait until the next installment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
This was a quick, fast-paced, adventurous dash through Los Angeles to discover a murderer. I found myself at times, shocked, dismayed, worried about our sleuth, Della, and finished up feeling there was a true Champion.

The police are looking at Della's gentleman friend, Nicholas for a murder that involves a racy photograph of his newly-found daughter, Celeste. Della is amazingly mature about how she is treated by Celeste, and even Nicholas. I was, at times, feeling she was too tolerant.

Delicious recipes flow throughout the book as Della is a Television cook with her own show. This was very interesting and exciting.

I cheered at the ending. I do recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
What a scrumptious read! I have never read this genre but am thrilled I took a chance. With Pie a la Murder, I found myself enthralled from page one. Melinda Wells has created 3D likeable characters, a fast-paced plot, compelling prose, all mixed into a first-rate murder mystery. Do yourself a favor and put the Della Cooks series on your must-read list. Kudos! Or should I say Bon Appétit!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This series is fast paced, fun, though fairly predictable. I love them - I've read them all. Would recommend them for relaxing after a hard day at work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Once again Melinda Wells has produced a wonderful installment in her Della Cooks Mystery series. As usual, the story is engaging and fast-paced, with endearing three-dimensional characters that are a pleasure to cozy up to. A wonderful escape. I am glad to recommend it.
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on July 6, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
After I discovered the first book in this series ("Killer Mousse") I've read every one since. TV cooking show host Della Carmichael and her friends never let me down. The circle of friends and colleagues continue from book to book, but each one includes delightful new characters. (If I was 20 years older, I'd fall in love with her cooking student and amateur poet, elderly Harmon Dubois.) "Pie" starts with a shock: Della's boyfriend Nicholas tells her that he has an 18 year old daughter who's coming from Europe, where she grew up, to live with him. Della is happy for him, even though friend Liddy is sure the girl will be BIG trouble. It turns out Liddy's right, but not in the way she predicted. I don't want to say more (I hate "spoilers"!) In "Pie" we get to meet an arrogant Hollywood photographer, a dangerous "life coach," a young woman reporter who's after Nicholas's crime reporter job on their paper, and the aforementioned love-struck poet. Plus some delicious-sounding recipes, including some for the calorie-conscious. This is my favorite kind of mystery: fast-paced, but also takes time to let readers get to know the characters. I hate it that I've got to wait another year for the 5th book in what has become my favorite semi-cozy mystery. (Semi-cozy because it has more sexuality and bits of violence than in the usual "cozy.") In a couple of weeks, I'm going to read this book again. Even though I know "whodunit" now, I just want to spend time with Della and her friends again. (Note to Melinda Wells: write faster!)
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Killer Mousse (Della Cooks Mystery)
Killer Mousse (Della Cooks Mystery) by Melinda Wells (Mass Market Paperback - February 5, 2008)

The Proof is in the Pudding (Della Cooks Mystery)
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Death Takes the Cake (Della Cooks Mystery)
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