Book Review: A Broth of Betrayal (Soup Lover's Mystery #2) by Connie Archer

A Broth of Betrayal by Connie Archer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Berkley

Summary:  Even a town called Snowflake, Vermont, has a summer season. In August, Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful serves chilled soups—celery and green onion, cream of asparagus—and salads. The shop also serves as a gathering place to talk about cold-blooded murder… 

A protest to stop the construction of an ugly car wash in the middle of the town’s picturesque Village Green is interrupted by the discovery of a skeleton that may date back to the Revolutionary War. While the remains pose a historical mystery, a present-day murder shakes the town to its core when local auto mechanic Harry Hodges is found dead in his shop. 

Straining the patience of Chief of Police Nate Edgerton, Lucky soon finds herself in the soup again when her dear friend Elizabeth, the Mayor of Snowflake, goes missing. No matter how much trouble she has to stir up, Lucky is determined to use her noodle to uncover a killer and recover her friend… 

This one zipped right along and had quite a lot going on. There's a skeleton found on the town green that's being dug up for the construction of a car wash (of all things), Harry the autobody repair shop owner is found murdered in his office and Elizabeth Dove, Snowflake's mayor, has gone missing. As if that weren't enough, someone else dies by immolation. There's a lot to be sorted out with all the dead but there's also some historical artifact theft going on. With all this, the two person Snowflake P.D. definitely needs a few more hands. It's the State Police and Lucky that assist in their own ways.

It was nice to see familiar characters from the first book. Sophie and Lucky's friendship has been reestablished, Sage is happily ensconced in the kitchen conjuring epic eats, though Remy was completely absent & not mentioned, Jack's health is on the upswing as is business at the Spoonful. Also to the good was Lucky's somewhat improved relationship/opinion of local law enforcement. She sneered less and really only seemed to have a problem with one of the two officers now. On the downside, she seemed to feel it was fine for her to do a little B&E of someone's cabin, in her quest (not cool) & her lips are still playing fast and loose with confidences she's asked to keep. There were a host of new people to meet and some that stood out best were Rowena, local reporter, Guy Doucette, worked for Harry at the autoshop and the Ranks (Norman owns lots of Snowflake properties including The Spoonful & his wife, Cordelia, is a Daughter of the American Revolution).

I enjoyed the pace for the most part but there was a little too much recapping for the reader of events that have already taken place in the mystery. It's not so long a book that readers would lose the threads of the mysteries so that was a bit annoying.

For the main mystery, I enjoyed the reveal but I'm going to need the guilty not to keep being the one Lucky never suspects or the very last people Lucky chats to and seems to avoid speaking with in depth for the whole of the book until the end. It's tedious and turns into a tell while reading. And I'm hoping that Lucky will have a bit more safety sense as the series goes on. If this book wasn't a PSA for being sure to tell someone where you're going just in case something happens to you, I don't know what it is. Still, I will continue on with the series because it has more good points than bad. I very much enjoyed the game of cascading dominoes of murders and murderers this one had. I would've liked Lucky's access to crime scenes and police inquiries to be a little more hard won so that you don't hate the other characters for giving her things they reasonably shouldn't/wouldn't. For the life of me I can't understand why Nate, the chief of police would let her accompany him on an inquiry, even if they are getting along. Elizabeth had one of these strange access for Lucky moments too with the only reasoning of it being okay that she knows and likes Lucky. It's no way to show procedure and makes all involved look bad.

This time Sage's recipes mentioned in the book had me highlighting to look up similar recipes for real life. He makes a really interesting African inspired soup with peanut butter that piqued my interest & the recipe is included. Recommended for cozy mystery fans.

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