I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
A strong follow up to the first book in the series, Kneading to Die.
This book takes place during Autumn, in the lead up to Halloween and Stan (short for Kristan) is catering a dog party being thrown at the farm hosting the annual haunted corn maze. Before the maze can start for the first time, however, the owner of the farm, Hal, if found murdered in the corn maze by some of the employees.
Everyone rallies 'round the widow, Em, and tries to help out to keep the farm going, as evidence that Hal was better at spending money than making it begins to emerge. Stan is roped into overseeing the financials for the farm in the short term, putting her in the perfect position to find out more about the murdered man and who might have wanted him dead.
I've never thought one way or the other about living in Connecticut, but I have to say, Frog Ledge sounds like a great place to live. The author draws it so clearly it's quite the picture in my mind. The only thing I can't quite make work is a farm that faces the town green. Seems incongruous.
As I've said in my earlier review the characters in this series are great; likeable, unique - you wish these people were your neighbors. The author did something sort of unique here: instead of sending the MC 'away' and bringing in a whole new cast of characters, she had the whole new cast come to Stan, in the form of the farm co-op members that are each pitching in to help keep Em's farm running. Each might have a reason to want Hal dead, but so do quite a few members of Frog Ledge.
The mystery plot was really well done. I didn't feel like there were any give-aways, and there were more than enough suspects to keep everything delightfully muddy until the very end. (Oh! I just punned without intent! But you have to read the book to see how...) The climax of the story was just that little bit more suspenseful than a run-of-the-mill cozy; nothing crazy, just better than average.
About the only thing in this book that just didn't click with me is the whole concept of throwing big parties for dogs. I love animals to an almost insane degree, but never would it occur to me to worry about whether or not my dog had a costume for a costume party, thinking if he didn't, he'd feel embarrassed in front of the other dogs. That's just taking anthropomorphism that bit too far for me. But that's purely subjective, and while it had me rolling my eyes and thinking "are you kidding me?!", I know there are those that will find it hilarious and will empathise.
Overall an excellent second book. I look forward to the third book and to trying some of these pet treat recipes included in the back!
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and Kensington in exchange for an honest review.