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A Pie to Die For Book Review

Picture of A Pie to Die For

I don't normally put out a review on a book that I did not particularly care for; as we all have different opinions, and when you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all. However, I also wanted to show that I don't end up loving every book I choose to read (does anyone?). And I strive to give more constructive criticism, rather than just opinionated nonsense. So here goes...

I first picked this book up, not just because of the cover, but also due to the pie theme, and the back blurb. It intrigued me with its hint of magic in an isolated town off of Lake Huron, in Michigan. Unfortunately, what was once perceived as a promising start to a series, soon turned into a pie stuffed with more filling than actual fruit. The writing flowed rather nicely, and the characters were relatable enough, but that is where the magic of this book ended for me.

Throughout the novel, the reader follows Lucky Pie Diner owner, Este March, who runs the family business with dedication and a lot of passion for her craft. When a new produce man suddenly shows up, instead of the regular guy who has been delivering to them for years, and at an exorbitant price. Tempers flare up over the costs, on the last day of the season for the small town of Split Pine, leaving the owners wondering if they are going to be able to remain in the black until Spring. The next morning, all of the boats have left for the winter, except for one, and the dead body it was holding.

Este is under suspicion right from the start. Not only was she seen arguing with the deceased over her latest delivery, missing quite a few packs of strawberries nonetheless, but her invoice was also found in the dead man's hand. What begins as a way to point someone else into the limelight, and to keep a harmful decline of customers at bay, turns into a search for the killer so she can begin to feel safe during her commutes to and from work each day.

While I do respect it when a character cares deeply for their craft/trade, I have to draw the line at having at least one and a half, to two, pages on how to make a pie, more than six times before I was midway through the book. The story was so heavy laden with baking, and food instructions, that I was beginning to wonder if the author wanted to write a cookbook instead of a cozy mystery.

The mystery aspect was more or less, on the back burner of the stove, and there were parts to the story that did not make any sense. For instance, if someone has been delivering produce to your store for years, even back when your parents owned it, and then suddenly, a different guy turns up, without any prior notice from the company, the prices are raised extremely high, and half your order was not there, would you sign for the receipt and not call in to see what was going on? No one calls the company to make sure that the prior guy, Denny, is alright, and no one calls the company to see what was going on with the cost of their supplies (no one makes a simple phone call to check it out during the entire book). Such a quintessential detail like that, paired with Estes's lack of detecting until the second half of the novel, added up to a book that I skim read to the end, after giving it to 164 pages of roughly a 298 paged story. (If you are looking at the total number that is over 300, fourteen of the back pages contain recipes.)

Now, I am fully aware that a first in series book can have some issues, and I do give leniency for that. But, this was not the first book written by this author, as it is a pen name, and based upon the structural flow of the story line, I feel that it would be better suited for general, or women's fiction, as opposed to being listed as a cozy mystery.

As a side note: For a traditionally published book, there were a remarkable number of misspellings, and a few formatting issues. I know that these mechanical errors are not on the shoulders of the author, which is why I wanted to make a comment separately on the matter.


Thanks for tuning in, and I will see you on the next book review! #books #mysteries #cozymystery #pies #bookreview #culinary #baking

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