Book Review: A Roux of Revenge (Soup Lover's Mystery #3) by Connie Archer

A Roux of Revenge by Connie Archer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Penguin Random House/Berkley Prime Crime

Summary:   Snowflake, Vermont, is known for its skiing in winter—and its soup all year round, thanks to Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful Soup Shop. Autumn brings golden leaves, pumpkin rice soup, the annual Harvest Festival… and murder.
Lucky’s soup shop is busier than usual this October, with groups of itinerant travelers in town to work the Harvest Festival. One newcomer seems to take a particular interest in Lucky’s young waitress, Janie, spying on her from across the street. Is the stranger stalking Janie?
After an unidentified man is found murdered in a van by the side of the road, simmering suspicions about the travelers are brought to a boil. But when Janie is put in harm’s way, Lucky must join forces with the travelers to turn up the heat on a killer…

This third installment of the Soup Lover's Mysteries had good and bad. There's enough good that I'll definitely continue but I'm hoping the bad can be jettisoned altogether.

There's a murder discovered right off this time and a retired investigator is in Snowflake looking to solve a cold case involving an armored car robbery/murder. Adding to the usual town setting is a festival just outside of town and a group of Travellers. I liked the Travellers aspect as it's not something I come across often when reading. Before long there's a kidnapping and another death and Nate has his hands full. Lucky has her hands more full than usual in this book as in addition to her usual sleuthing and running her business, she's also got a lot of interpersonal entanglements to sort. This book felt like it was more focused on the interpersonal relationships than the wider mystery and while some of that was fine, I was really here for the mystery.

The main mystery was resolved with several chapters left to go in the book and I have to admit that I didn't think the culprit was handled deftly enough. As I've read the other two, I'm starting to be able to see the tell in the construct to know who the likely villain is. I'm hoping that's tightened up or hidden better in the next. Also, if there's one thing that really drags this series down it's the supposed romance between Lucky and Elias. It's coma inducing and likely largely owing to the fact that Elias doesn't feel like a boyfriend or anything more than a blank throw away character because it was decided Lucky should have a love interest. I'm quite tired of hearing about her almost life-long crush on him or his being a super-duper caring doctor or whatever. The writing hasn't sold anything about these two being soulmates, or even close friends. They read as casual acquaintances and it's not made for an interesting thread. I had hope we'd be free of it altogether in this book but alas at the very end Sophie prised that dead-end door opened once again for Lucky and I'm still rolling my eyes over it. Make. It. Stop.

Finally, the recipes highlighted here that tickled my tastebuds are the Persian Pumpkin Soup (I'll be sourcing rose petals for this) and the rosemary biscuits. Recommended for fans of the series or to casual pick ups (this doesn't need to be read sequentially as there's so much restatement, new readers will catch up; it's boring to one who already knows the rehashed information though and lends itself to skimming.)

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