When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes. Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff. After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.
There are worse ways to pass the time than waitressing at a pancake house in the cozy little seaside town of Wildwood Cove. One of those worse ways is when your cousin, whom you were helping out with the waitressing, drops dead – with a little help – shortly after being released from the hospital.
To say Marley McKinney didn’t see her time in Wildwood Cove going the way it has wouldn’t even come close. When her cousin, Jimmy called for some help with his diner, the Flip Side Pancake House, Marley was more than willing to help out. As a child, Marley spent her summers in Wildwood Cove and the chance to spend a couple of weeks there as an adult sounds quite lovely. In just a few short weeks, the locals have gotten to know Marley and she feels right at home. Running the Flip Side is tiring but rewarding work but Marley is managing with the help of a few friends and a surly cook who is genius in the kitchen.
When Jimmy is found dead, Marley’s world is turned upside down. By all accounts, Jimmy had no enemies but then there’s the small bit of blood near his front porch, the stolen goods in his suspiciously locked up tight garage, and the ongoing strange happenings with several Wildwood Cove residents. There’s the crazy ex-girlfriend, the uber-wealthy land developer who has made no secret of his plans to “improve” the sleepy little coastal town, and that one sketchy couple that no one really seems to trust. For every question Marley answers, three or four more seem to pop up and at every turn she feels even further away from solving the mystery of Jimmy’s death.
As Marley gets deeper and deeper into the murder mystery, she also has to deal with some big life decisions. She keeps running into her childhood crush who is yummier than ever and quite unexpectedly, she has to decide just how at home she really feels in Wildwood Cove since Jimmy left her not only the Flip Side but his home and cat too. Emotions are high, the danger is real, and if Marley is able to come out the other side unscathed, she might just have a whole new life for herself.
The Bottom Line: Sarah Fox has convinced me of the goodness of the cozy mystery genre. The Crêpes of Wrath is an easy book to fall into and with the constant question asking from Marley, it’s perfectly easy to keep track of all the action and developments. Wildwood Cove is populated with some very nice people, some very weird people, some very crazy people, and one downright cruel person. The mix of personalities that all come together in the Flip Side Pancake House make The Crêpes of Wrath a really interesting and fun read. Now that the groundwork is there, I think the forthcoming books are going to be even better and I’m certainly looking forward to diving in.