I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I was dreading this one because of hints of a new love triangle made by my fellow cosy-reading friends. I decided to just pick it up and get it over with lest it sit on Mt. TBR indefinitely.
I have mixed feelings, so I'll start with the mystery it self - very well done. Almost a locked room type-ish mystery in that Mel and her partner had to work with each of the suspects in the kitchen for 4 days while the murder is sussed out. Even so, the mystery was well-crafted with no clear or obvious suspect and the author had me discovering the murderer at the same time Mel did.
Now - on to the characters themselves. The introduction of a possible love triangle is, on the surface, disappointing and annoying. Mel and Joe are good together and it feels like the author is really really screwing with the dynamic that has worked so well in this series so far by introducing Detective Martinez. But I can see why Ms. McKinlay might have done it: a romantic relationship that introduces some sexual tension into the mix as well as involving a detective that gets them more information and possibly more involvement in future crimes. Ms. McKinlay is going to have to treat this storyline carefully so as not to alienate the fans she already has. She's a stellar writer, so if anyone can pull it off, she can.
The writing of this book should be an example to many cozy authors out there - no paragraphs and pages of constant internal dialogue and repetitive summaries of the plot. Lots of snappy dialogue and a fast moving pace that kept me totally involved in the story (dinner's gonna be over an hour late tonight because I couldn't put the book down!) I look forward to the next book in the series to see how all this ends up!