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Ladle to the Grave
By Connie Archer
Soup Lover’s Mystery, Book 4
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Female Sleuth
Length: 304 Pages
About the book:
By the Spoonful is Snowflake, Vermont’s most popular soup shop, but owner Lucky Jamieson doesn’t have any time to enjoy her success—she’s too busy trying to keep a lid on false accusations against her loved ones…
It’s almost May, and some of the local ladies have organized a pagan celebration in the woods to welcome spring. But the evening goes terribly wrong when one of the attendees winds up dead, apparently poisoned by an herbal concoction prepared by Lucky’s grandfather, Jack.
Lucky’s sure her grandfather could not have made such a tragic mistake. But before she can clear him of suspicion, her best friend, Sophie, is diverted from planning her wedding to By the Spoonful chef Sage DuBois when she finds a dead man floating in the creek on her property. Now it’s up to Lucky to get both Sophie and Jack out of hot water before a killer stirs up more trouble…
EXCERPTWhen Lucky reached Jack’s front porch, she was dismayed to see the windows dark. She heard thumps and banging and Jack’s voice crying out. He was inside, somewhere in the dark.Jack knew it was happening again. He couldn’t block out the screams. The boat was rising and falling in the sea. The water was purple with blood. A hand reached up from the dark waters. Jack grasped it and held on with all his strength. Then a quick glimpse of a shark’s fin, and the man was gone. He was holding a disembodied arm. All around him were the cries of men being torn to pieces. Jack sobbed. He couldn’t help them, no matter how quick he was, no matter how strong. He wasn’t fast enough to save them.Lucky pushed the door open and called Jack’s name. His moans were louder now. He had barricaded himself in the bathroom in an effort to control the memories. The sound of shattering glass came from within. She hurried to the kitchen and grabbed a small knife from the wooden block next to the stove. Just as she slid the edge of the blade into the doorframe, a heavy thud hit the door and Lucky fell back in shock, the knife falling from her hands. Her heart was racing. She pushed the knife into the doorjamb again and finally the lock released.Jack was slumped on the floor in a small pool of blood. Broken glass was everywhere. He was lost in his nightmare.“It’s okay now, Jack. You’re home. You’re safe.”He looked into her eyes, confused. “Lucky?”“You had a spell, but you’re okay now.”Tears spilled down Jack’s face. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”“Nothing to be sorry about. Everything’s going to be all right now.” She prayed her words would make it true.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Penguin Random House (Berkley Prime Crime). A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal, A Roux of Revenge and Ladle to the Grave are set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont. A Clue in the Stew will be released in April 2016. Connie was born and raised in New England and now lives on the other coast. You can visit her at www.ConnieArcherMysteries.com , Facebook.com/ConnieArcherMysteries and on Twitter @SnowflakeVT.
A huge fan of cozy mysteries, I love nothing more than finding a new series to love and that’s just what happened when I was given the chance to read and review Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer. While this is the fourth book in the Soup Lover Mystery series, and I had not read any of the previous installments, I was quickly able to connect with Ms. Archer’s characters and thoroughly enjoy this book. If you like cozy mysteries, mysteries solved by female sleuths or mysteries involving food – then this is a series you’ll definitely want to check out.Although Ms. Archer’s characters are clearly established by this book, she does a very good job of introducing them, and their quirks, to anyone unfamiliar with the series. I really enjoyed getting to know Lucky Jamieson, the owner of By the Spoonful, her friends and the small town of Snowflake, Vermont. A young woman who’s recently lost her parents and taken over their restaurant, Lucky is smart, friendly and loyal to those she loves. She’s definitely the “girl next door” type, who you want as a friend. She also seems to have a knack for solving mysteries that always seem to find her.The secondary characters are also well developed and I enjoyed getting to know Sophie, Lucky’s best friend and the fiancé of Sage, Lucky’s head chef/cook at By the Spoonful. We also get to know Jack, Lucky’s grandfather, who is a sweetheart and helps her run the restaurant. He also manages to maintain a decent size garden and avoid amorous minded older female customers. We get to meet Elias, Lucky’s boyfriend and the town’s doctor/coroner, and Nate, the town’s Chief of Police, who tolerates Lucky’s inquisitive nature.The mystery portion of the story is well handled and there actually turn out to be at least three deaths/murders that will need to be solved. While the author drops some hints, there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. I thought I had identified one of the killers at the beginning and was surprised to be completely wrong at the end when everything is revealed. Besides the mystery, there is also a secondary story involving Sophie and Sage’s wedding, which Lucky and Jack become very involved in.Will Lucky discover who the killer plaguing the town of Snowflake is? Will Sophie and Sage’s wedding go off without a hitch? You’ll have to read Ladle to the Grave to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this series. Especially since I love mystery books that also include recipes!My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns