Monday, November 30, 2020

Review: Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan

by Elizabeth Logan
Release Date: May 5th 2020
2020 Berkley Books
Paperback Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593100448
Genre: Fiction / Cozy / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

When Chef Charlie Cooke is offered the chance to leave San Francisco and return home to Elkview, Alaska, to take over her mother's diner, she doesn't even consider saying no. After all--her love life has recently become a Love Life Crumble, and a chance to reconnect with her roots may be just what she needs.

Determined to bring fresh life and flavors to the Bear Claw Diner, Charlie starts planning changes to the menu, which has grown stale over the years. But her plans are fried when her head cook Oliver turns up dead after a bitter and public fight over Charlie's ideas--leaving Charlie as the only suspect in the case.

With her career, freedom, and life all on thin ice, Charlie must find out who the real killer is, before it's too late.
My Thoughts
Mousse and Murder was a fun introduction to a new Alaskan cozy mystery series.  There are not a lot of mystery series set in Alaska which is why I was interested in this book, and it was fun to learn more about the area and some of the tourist attractions.  I thought the story was interesting, but I did feel like both the characters and the plot line needed a bit more development.
First of all, cozy mysteries are a bit different than your typical police procedural / suspense novel for a reason; they really rely on that connection with the characters and the investment into their lives, so sometimes the build up into the mystery can take a bit longer.  Because Oliver died so early in the book, I didn't get a chance to learn anything about him other than he was a chef.  There was also no connection to him on a personal level so his death really didn't mean anything, other than being sad that someone died in a horrible way.  

The plot was interesting, with plenty of twists and turns, but it was quite easy to figure out who did the actual deed; however, it was a bit more challenging trying to guess the motive, and that I did not figure out.  And I did think the author focused almost too much on trying to create these red herrings, she forgot about developing the characters so they felt almost bland.  And the pace was a bit slow. And while I love cats (and have two of my own), the focus on Charlie's cat became a bit annoying.  How many times do we have to read about Charlie playing with her cat on her phone so the cat doesn't become bored?  Apparently, it can be too many. I did like the role the cat played in the mystery though, and I absolutely loved the cat's name, Eggs Benedict, aka Benny.  So cute!

Mousse and Murder had likeable characters and an interesting setting, but the pace was a bit slow and it was easy to figure out who was the guilty party. I definitely liked learning more about Alaska, and as it's a place I've always wanted to visit, I found the setting quite enjoyable.  I was left with some questions at the end of the book though as not everything was wrapped up as nicely as I would have liked.  This was a pleasant first book in a new series, and I am looking forward to the next book to see what Charlie and the gang get up to next. 


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