Book Review: A Spoonful of Murder (Soup Lover's Mystery #1) by Connie Archer

A Spoonful of Murder by Connie Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Berkley

Summary:  When Lucky Jamieson inherits her parents' soup shop, By the Spoonful, she realizes it's time to take stock of her life. Should she sell her parents' house or move in herself? Does she really want to run a restaurant business? And what about her grandfather Jack, who seems to be showing signs of Alzheimer's?

But her life decisions are moved to the back burner after an icy blonde tourist is found frozen to death behind the soup shop. and Lucky is bowled over when her soup chef, Sage DuBois, is led out of the kitchen by the police. As suspicion and speculations snowball, Lucky decides that the only way to save her employee and her business is to find out herself who iced the tourist--and landed her chef in the soup... 

As Mrs. Todd tells Hercule Poirot in The Case of the Clapham Cook, "Well, let me tell you, Mr. High-and-Mighty Poirot, a good cook is a good cook. And when you lose one, it's as much to you as pearls are to some fine lady.", so it's no wonder that when the soup master chef of By the Spoonful Soup Shop is arrested for the murder of a wintering socialite, Lucky is motivated to find the real killer.

Lucky was an interesting heroine. I liked her well enough but she was also fairly obnoxious at times. I didn't really take to her general disdain for the police department of Snowflake (consisting of 2 people) nor did I care for her complaining often about gossip when that's basically how she procured all her intel on the murder. She was as much a gossip as anyone and she really had a hard time keeping anyone's confidence. Not good or cute. Still, I rooted for her to exonerate Sage and save her parents' business. I most liked Lucky when she was interacting with her grandfather. I felt the mystery was, for the most part, well done. Lucky pretty much accused half the town and irked them all, before the obvious finally dawned on her, but this was her first case so I can forgive her lack of finesse, absent sharp critical thinking and terrible negotiation skills with emotionally unhinged parties.

I thought the supporting characters were well done, most especially Jack (Lucky's grandfather), Elizabeth (a family friend & also the mayor of Snowflake) and finally, Sage & Remy. Sophie was brusque in a Peppermint Patty way but I hope she gets more characteristics as the series progresses. I don't read cozies for the romance so I didn't much dial in to the Dr Scott thread.

For the life of me I need cozies to stop having business owners who are in dire straits giving away their profits. There were too many instances here of customers offering to pay and Lucky shooing them off. She lamented all the IOUs her parents had collected from people, she was hard pressed for customers after the murder and for the few that came in, she wouldn't take their money. I wanted to throttle her and it really killed my sympathies. Kindness is nice but it doesn't keep you in ingredients or rent. Also, I wondered why her parents decided to have a soup shop when it seemed that no one in the family was a cook or foodie. It felt very random. I kept hoping/expecting that Lucky would find a clutch of beloved recipes from her parents that the shop was built on or something that explained the passion for soup. The recipes the shop is using seem to be Sage originals & nothing was written down so what did these folks do in the years before Sage? Did they always just go with any cook who could make a serviceable soup since they couldn't afford a high end soup master? I have questions. There are recipes at the end of the book but none of them sound as appealing as some of those mentioned in the book. I need to look up recipes for those.

I'm definitely continuing with the series. It was just the thing to read on a sweltering and humid few days.

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