Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust

Release Date - December 17, 2013

Gail Oust
Minotaur Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

It really isn't a secret that I adore culinary mysteries. I used to be a sucker for Diane Mott Davidson's novels, though they've gotten a little stale for me at this point. I also adore Joanne Fluke, Joanna Carl, Joanne Pence, and I could go on and on, but...

Gail Oust bursts onto the culinary mystery scene with a pretty intriguing starter. I see shades of many of my favorite authors in the story line, but by focusing on spices, I found Rosemary and Crime had enough of a unique quality that I didn't want to put it down, even though there were a few niggles along the way.

Piper Prescott is newly divorced. Her ex seems happy with his new, much younger plaything, and Piper is about to launch her new start, a spice shop in the heart of the southern town she's come to adore. With her best friend cheering her on, Piper is all set for the grand opening of Spice It Up. Unfortunately, things go awry when the renowned chef who is supposed to do a cooking presentation winds up dead. Worse, Piper finds his body and unknowingly touches the murder weapon. When the local veterinarian, who happens to be alibi, disappears, Pipe becomes the prime suspect and needs to clear her own name before it's too late.

Like many other culinary mysteries, the author sets up a love triangle for Piper, and I'm sure it will become more of a focal point in future books. The crime itself, there were times I really didn't get Piper. She was so slow to reveal things to the detective, that it almost seemed like she wanted to be a suspect. If I ever found a body and knew I'd touched a knife outside that could be the murder weapon, I certainly wouldn't leave that as an afterthought when telling the detective everything. This wasn't the only time I found myself groaning that she left out a pertinent detail until after the fact. Hopefully, she'll be a little smarter in future books.

Otherwise, I did thoroughly enjoy Rosemary and Crime. It has the romantic angle I enjoy, a few sassy characters who add humor to the storyline, and a murder that wasn't easy to solve at first. All in all, this is a series I'll be keeping my eye on.


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