Cookie Dough or Die-Virginia Lowell

Cookie Dough or Die

Virginia Lowell

Berkley, Apr 5 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425240670

In the Baltimore suburb Chatterley Heights, Sheriff Delroy Jenkins visits The Gingerbread House co-owners and BFFs Olivia Greyson and Madeline Briggs in the middle of the night to inform the former that her friend Clarisse Chamberlain died from an apparent accidental overdose.  Stunned by the pronouncement of Clarisse’s death as the woman was the influence who persuaded Olivia to open the cookie shop following her divorce from controlling Ryan the surgeon.  However, the autopsy reveals alcohol in the victim’s stomach that seemed like it was guzzled in record time; out of the ordinary behavior by Clarisse, which leads Del to reconsider suicide or homicide rather than accident.

At the reading of the will, Clarisse leaves a stunned Olivia with money and her valuable antique cookie cutters.  This grand gesture to her friend makes Olivia a person with a motive.  At the same tome that Del reluctantly looks at Olivia as a person of interest, Clarisse’s sons Edward and Hugh suspect her.  When Sam the letter carrier becomes deathly ill from The Gingerbread House cookies, Olivia becomes motivated to prove her innocence on all fronts.

Olivia and Maddie make an amusing amateur sleuth tandem as they bake a new recipe to uncover the identity of a killer who at a minimum tainted their reputation and at a maximum may send the two female cookie makers to join Clarisse at rest.  The whodunit is well done as the killer is in plain sight yet just outside the reader’s peripheral vision.  Fans of cozies will enjoy this Maryland small-town family affair.

Harriet Klausner

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