With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.
The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.
One or two more outings and Wildwood Cove is just going to have to accept Marley McKinney as their town’s lead investigator as well as being the owner of The Flip Side Pancake House 😊
In Marley’s defense, she doesn’t go looking for crimes to investigate, they tend to just fall in her path and her current situation is no different. With a big film crew in town and production set to begin, the last thing the crew needs is a murder of one of their own. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens, and Marley just happens to be on scene when the whole thing goes down. What’s more, in the days following the murder, small acts of sabotage threaten to shut down production, Marley’s boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is arrested for the murder, and a local kid Marley has a history with has gone missing.
Being so intimately tied to the whole situation, Marley can’t help but get involved. In typical fashion, Marley begins asking questions, asking more questions, and trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. With so many unknowns, people and puzzle pieces, Marley must dig in deep, do some real research, and trust people she doesn’t particularly know. The murder victim was a nice lady, but she knew something, something quite significant that got her killed and if Marley can’t figure it all out, others may die too.
The Bottom Line: While I’ve generally enjoyed the Pancake House Mystery series, Of Spice and Men just didn’t have the same bite as the two previous books. For me, the plot in this one is somewhat weak and I found myself wandering a bit as I read. With that being said, one character in that weak plot, Brett’s ex-girlfriend, contributed to my favorite part of this book. My favorite part of this book was the evolution in Marley and Brett’s relationship. For the first time in the series, their relationship is well and truly tested and I was so glad to see how they worked through their issues and came out stronger on the other side. Not every book in a long-running series can be amazing, and while the plot of Of Spice and Men left me wanting, the character development was more than enough to keep me engaged in the book and willing to continue with the series.