Business at the bakery may have slowed down, but Val Harris isn’t about to eat humble pie–not until a reality cooking show decides to whip the struggling Pie Town into shape. If Val can tolerate criticism from an abrasive pastry chef during filming, the free publicity might turn the unusual opportunity into the sweetest deal she didn’t know she needed.
Except no one in San Nicholas has an appetite for dessert once murder steals the spotlight. When the show’s bossy producer gets pushed to her death, Val and her flaky, septuagenarian pie crust expert, Charlene, follow crumbs in hopes of finding the killer. But with cameras still rolling and the shocking identity of the victim’s replacement a guaranteed recipe for disaster, Val needs to stay cool long enough to solve the crime and keep Pie Town from falling apart–or else she just might go up in smoke before she ever graces the small screen.
Val Harris loves owning her own business even if it eats up most of her time, life, and energy. Baking pies, filling bellies, seeing happy faces, and working with her staff brings Val such joy. What would bring her even more joy, the bakery bringing in a larger profit and sustaining itself financially. As ever, Val keeps her worries to herself and her crust maker, Charlene interferes.
As far as interfering goes, Charlene has really outdone herself this time! With no input or even consent from Val, Charlene has signed Pie Town up to participate in a reality show. To that end, the producers, cameras, and stars will come into the shop, assess Val, her staff, and her products, and (hopefully) not make her out to be a fool on national television. Oh, and if Val is really lucky, the entire production will help her find new and inventive ways to improve her products and her shop. Unfortunately, Val has yet to be really lucky 😊
Before Val knows it, she’s committed to the show, her kitchen is filled to capacity, one of the “experts” is kind of mean, and another one ends up dead. Just as fast as everything else happens, Val is drawn into yet another murder (or two) investigation and her limited free time is spent not sleeping, worrying about her shop and her safety, and what shenanigans Charlene is going to get up to next. There’s also the matter of her kind of boyfriend, the sexy police officer who may not be her kind of boyfriend much longer since Val’s involvement in the current case got him kicked off the case. Yeah, there a lot of crazy in every one of Val’s days and nights.
The Bottom Line: I’m just going to put this out there right now, the Pie Town Mystery series is getting stronger with each additional book. This time through, Val is more confident in her investigative skills, Charlene is even crazier, they have an investigative intern (YAY!), and the plot is the strongest yet. In point of fact, this particular plot seems to be intended to set up the continuation of the series for the foreseeable future. Without giving anything away, the use of and the results of the Pie Town participation in the reality show sets Val and Charlene up for a very nice and successful indeed. In addition to professional evolution, there is also evolution on the personal side and I so love that for these characters. In completely cheesy fashion, I am ready for another slice of pie 😊