Title: Cookies and Scream
Author: Virginia Lowell
Series: Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery
Sleuth: Olivia Greyson, owner of The Gingerbread House
Setting: Chatterley Heights, Maryland
Animal: a rescue Yorkie named Spunky
Phew. That seems like a lot of information before I’ve even started the review. I know my memory, though, especially when it comes to cozy mysteries. A year from now all I’ll remember is some nagging detail like “cookie cutters!” so my only hope of sorting out what I’ve read is to record all that stuff.
I always wonder, reading these, whether these niche businesses actually exist in the real world. Is it just part of the cozy mystery fantasy, or are there really people making a go of cookies or snowglobes or whatever?
Anyway, this was a competent, entertaining mystery. It’s also NOT the first one in the series, because I never manage to read things in the right order. The B story involved the apparent love interest, but he was off doing his own thing (helping his ex-wife escape her abusive husband, and then sticking around when she was charged with murder), so the interruptions to the main plot to check in with him were fairly interesting. Enough so that it never felt like padding, anyway.
The dog (because pets are a Thing in cozy mysteries) only disappeared once that I noticed. In an early scene, much is made of him accompanying his mistress to Pete’s Diner and sitting on a realtor’s lap while they ate, but then both women depart the diner with no further mention of the dog. But the rest of the time he was reasonably present, being fed and walked and so forth. (I can’t help it: when books make a huge deal out of including a pet, but then no one is ever shown looking after said pet, it grates on my nerves. So I make a point of praising authors who remember they’ve written an animal into their character’s life.)