The last few months, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from the modern Cozy format when doing my reading for my long running series of posts on the most popular and recommended Cozy series. However, that definitely won’t be the case this week, as the mystery I’ve decided to showcase is 2015’s Tastes Like Murder, the first in Catherine Bruns‘s Cookies & Chance Mystery Series.
As stated above, this is definitely a Cozy in the modern mold. Sally Muccio has recently finished up an emotionally-draining divorce from her now ex-husband, who she discovered was cheating on her with another woman. To try to bounce back from the relationship gone bad, she’s set up a cookie shop in her old hometown of Colwestern, New York, a small town in western New York state. This may not have been the greatest idea in retrospect, as Amanda, the woman who intruded in Sally’s marriage, is a relatively important person in the city.
Naturally (at least for the world of Cozies…), it isn’t long before Amanda turns up dead, having come into Sally’s cookie shop to taunt her, dropping dead on the doorstep of an apparent poisoning, which turns out to be bee venom that she was seriously allergic to. Though the police don’t immediately jump to accusing Sally or her shop of poisoning Amanda, the tight-knit nature of small town living where everyone knows everyone else’s business makes it clear that the death is definitely going to cause problems for the shop’s growth, leading Sally to begin investigating on her own.
As is standard in modern Cozies, there is a strong romance subplot, in this case involving the choice between former high-school flame Mike and hunky cop Brian. Many other standard Cozy mainstay characters are present, including the reliable, tough, and supportive best friend/employee, Josie, as well as a wacky family, this time in a decidedly Italian-American mold.
If you’re looking to read a conventional Cozy with a lot of familiar trappings that have become mainstays of the sub-genre in the last few decades, Tastes Like Murder is a solid choice to pick up.
If you’re interested in seeing more highlights of some of the most recommended or popular Cozy Mystery authors/series, visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.
PS: For those interested in that sort of thing, there are some recipes included at the end of the book, of both the Italian traditional foods and bakery desserts varieties.