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Southern Peach Pie and a Dead Guy (Poppy Peters Mysteries) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 5, 2015
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About the Author
A. Gardner is a native westerner exploring the sweet bites of the south. After years of working in the healthcare industry, she moved across the country with her husband and adventurous baby boy. She is a mystery and romance writer with a serious cupcake obsession and a love of storytelling that began at an early age. When she is not writing, she is either chasing after her son, out for a swim, trying out a new recipe, or painting her nails bright blue.
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Poppy Peters had to give up her dream (rather her mother's dream) of being a ballerina after a back injury. But her Grandmother Liz, a Calle Pastry Academy alumni and baker extraordinaire, has given her an idea for another occupation - pastry chef. Poppy, against her family's liking, decides to enroll in the same pastry school her grandmother attended. There she seems to find happiness - new friends and even a love interest. But things quickly go awry.
Not the typical murder mystery - the reader is well into the book before a dead body shows up and there is a mystery to solve, there's no list of suspects and the clues are lacking - still Southern Peach Pie and a Dead Guy fits into the cozy genre easily. The characters are typical, but fun. It's set in a small community and amateur sleuthing and good baking abound. (Check out the recipes in the back of the book, they look yummy.)
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
However, for this reader there were a lot of things amiss: Peach pie doesn't actually have much to do with the murder. Poppy, who acts a lot younger than thirty, has a love of coffee that people seem to know about - even before she has one cup of it (I believe she only drinks one cup in the entire book). There's an illegal ring of thieves that seem to have no purpose and there's blackmailing of students it seems, without anything bad to hold against them. Then there's the lack of research by the author which made the book less believable. Gardner writes about a pastry school where the instructors are called "Mr." and "Professor" instead of "Chef." Students are allowed to cook in shorts and high heels (what happened to chef jackets?), and valuable items are stored for some reason in classroom kitchens. But the most egregious miss was how the story surrounded the French founder of the school who immigrated to Georgia "nearly" a hundred years ago. It appears that he soon became disillusioned with the school in the early 1900s and went back to France to bake for the Queen. The last queen of France, Marie Antoinette, died in 1792 (a lot longer than a hundred years ago.) Seeing that France's very last queen was pretty popular (with the saying "let them eat cake," erroneously attributed to her, and having her head chopped off), the author should have gotten the history (timeline) right. Then when you think the mystery is solved and life has gone back to normal for Poppy, without nary a clue from the author to the reader, the case picks right back up, assumingly, as a twist to the story. The only surprise was why the author did that because it's kind of unbelievable. Wouldn't people actually taste (if not smell) weed killer and not eat the food? And why did the killer spray it on the food in the backyard then throw the containers away in the trash cans there? There would be fingerprints everywhere. And where were the people that actually delivered the food?? Did they just hang out while the killer sprayed the poison and then packaged it back up and dropped it off at the door? Even though the book is fictional, it still should be believable.
Not the best cozy mystery book, but a light quick read nonetheless. Three stars.
Has ended her career as a ballerina.
Poppy has enrolled in Calle Pastry Academy (CPA) in
This is where her grandmother learned to bake. Poppy
has very few…ok.. almost no cooking skills so she is in
for a challenge. Her first attempt at a “Southern Peach
Pie” is very discouraging. But she hangs in there
finding challenges at every turn.
Especially when she finds at dead body!!!
Simple, quick read with delicious recipes for “ Southern
Peach Pie", Italian candy, cake, cupcakes pkus at the
This is a quick, light read that quickly grabbed my attention and has likeable characters. There were a few twists to the story that kept me guessing. The transitions to some scenes were not smooth and interrupted the flow of the story. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I would read more in the series.