While I have made last minute changes to this bookish menu, the main fictional feast has been a very tasty and relaxing time indeed.
For this next to last page turning meal, Daryl Wood Gerber’s Inherit The Word (the second entree of her Cookbook Nook series) had plenty on the plate to chew over. Jenna Hart, the widowed co-owner of the culinary themed bookstore set in the beachside town of Crystal Cove, is busy enough with playing host to the annual Grill Fest competition without a small mystery of a personal nature to deal with.
Her playful kitten Tigger happens to knock over a Lucky Cat statue given to Jenna by her late husband David (whose unusual death once had her suspected of doing him in), breaking it to reveal several gold coins and a key.
While she has no idea about where the coins came from or what this key unlocks, Jenna is given the perfect excuse to take her time finding out. During the first round of Grill Fest, whose theme this year is grilled cheese, one of the most contentious contenders, Natalie Mumford, is found dead right behind the shop!
Due to Natalie’s less than friendly nature, plenty of suspects abound but when the focus is on Lola, the mother of Jenna’ longtime friend, Bailey, Jenna finds herself looking into the case.
Granted, there were a good number of folks on hand that day who knew how to handle a panini press, which was the weapon of choice here. However, the grilled cheese contest may not have been the motive for murder:
As Jenna looks more into the case, Natalie’s family is appearing to be less than innocent. From melancholy daughter Ellen and her spendthrift lout of a husband Willie to Norah, the newly arrived older sister, money might truly be the cause of Natalie’s demise.
Meanwhile, Jenna has to ultimately face the mystery that David left behind and the solution to that puzzle spells out a shocking secret that changes her memories of him for good.
What I am really liking about this series so far is the setting of this small yet viable town that offers both lively activity and a peaceful retreat all at once.
Crystal Cove may be in California but it has Stars Hollow energy, with these Gilmore Girls worthy characters such as the eternally cranky Pepper Pritchett, Jenna’s Aunt Vera ,who always is ready with a healing crystal and fortune telling based advice and Katie, the quirky chef at the Cookbook Nook’s cafe.
One of the nicest subplots in this story is a budding romance between Katie and Keller, an ice cream maker who sells by bike. I hope that this spark of love grows into something more with each book in this series: