Cooking Up A Mystery by Gail Pallotta is a cozy mystery that includes potential ghosts, mysterious gifts, and a handsome, but injured, math teacher. It also has several recipes at the end for dishes served throughout the book.
This cozy is the second by Ms. Pallotta and certainly hit all the cozy tropes, which is definitely a good thing. I enjoyed spotting them as I read along. The final reveal had an interesting twist. Spoiler alert: It’s not George like I thought it was.
Like many of the books I review, the characters (and author) hold a Christian worldview that is expressed throughout the book. I did not find it overwhelming, though, and each reference was in character and perfect for the situation they found themselves in.
Finally, in my opinion only, Cooking Up A Mystery felt like a sweet romance for the first half with some cozy tropes. The mystery wasn’t the main focus, though. It wasn’t until the second part of the book that it became more like a traditional cozy. The writing was simpler than expected, in comparison to other cooking cozy mysteries, with a heavy dose of backstory that slowed the momentum of the story.
Recommended for all ages who want an easy cozy with a good dash of romance.
Goodreads Rating: ★★☆☆☆ It was okay.
About the Book
Book: Cooking Up A Mystery
Author: Gail Pallotta
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release date: April 24, 2020
Laney Eskridge worked to put her husband through dental school. Then he left with another woman. She’s on edge from the emotional scars and her parents’ deaths. Then she hears unexplained noises in her new tea house, and her anxiety is tripled. Add a budding romance with Eric—a guy with a fear of commitment—and it’s all too much to handle. She cuts ties with Eric and plunges into making her business pay off.
When Eric discovers that Laney’s in danger, he vows to protect her. But can he make a lasting promise? Will she trust him? . . .and when they overhear a threat that could cause national turmoil, will anyone believe them? There’s more brewing than herbal tea in Cooking up a Mystery.
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About the Author
Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner and a TopShelf 2020 Book Awards Finalist. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.
More About the Author
In Cooking up a Mystery running a business with no background or formal training in accounting or management overwhelms Laney, the heroine. George, her assistant, tells her she has him and God, who knows her needs. Then he adds, “You … have your mom’s wonderful recipes and you whip them up like a pro.”
I chose the food industry for Laney, a woman entrepreneur succeeding against the odds, because I have lots of cooking experience. I learned the skill at age ten. The reason, according to my father—I’d know how when I got married. I didn’t marry until I was thirty. By then, I’d received lots of instruction, so I knew how to prepare some pretty good dinners. My husband said, “You could start a restaurant.” I wanted to do other things instead, such as write, but I started one in this book.
Mt first woman entrepreneur appears in Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, a romantic comedy about a hairstylist. It’s set in Eve’s Clips, a salon in Triville, a fictitious town in the North Carolina Mountains where Laney opens Laney’s Delectable Delights.
A section in the back of Cooking up a Mystery, Laney’s Chefs in the Making, features over two dozen recipes. Only Laney’s Pineapple Rice is mine. The rest are from a book, Heavenly Delights, authored by my friend, Pam Nichols Griffin, as a fundraiser for Mission Love Seeds, a charity that helps children throughout the world and responds locally after disasters to demonstrate God’s love.
Laney’s Pineapple Rice
- Rice (can be instant, but not boil-in-the-bag)
- Cooking oil or spray
- One small onion (chopped thin)
- Five cloves garlic (or minced gloves equaling five cloves)
- One tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- One cup fresh pineapple
- Small amount of pineapple juice
- One teaspoon sugar
- One lime
Cook rice according to directions on the box, but substitute a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup pineapple juice (depending on taste) for part of the water.
Coat a heavy bottom skillet with oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple and sugar and stir. Add cold rice, break up, squirt with the juice of one lime and stir until heated and blended.
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To celebrate her tour, Gail is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.