3.5/5 Murphy Mercantiles
On The Back:
The town of Jewel Bay, Montana—known as a Food Lovers’ Village—is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family’s century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin’s freshly booming business might go rotten when a former employee turns up dead…
Murphy’s Mercantile, known as the Merc, has been a staple in Jewel Bay for over a hundred years. To celebrate their recent makeover as a gourmet food market, Erin has organized a town festival, Festa di Pasta, featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay’s finest—including her mother Fresca’s delicious Italian specialties.
But Erin’s sweet success is soured when the shop’s former manager, Claudette, is found dead behind the Merc on the Festa’s opening night. With rival chef James Angelo stirring up rumors that Fresca’s sauce recipes were stolen from Claudette, Erin’s mother is under close scrutiny. Now Erin will have to hunt down some new suspects, or both her family and her store might wind up in hot water…
An okay start to a series, Death Al Dente was an Agatha Winner for Best First Book in 2013 and I honestly can say that I expected a bit more. This wasn’t a bad book in any way, however it was simply average for a first book and it started off slow.
The MC, Erin, started off sounding extremely stuck-up. She seemed to criticize many things and thought that her store’s products were the only way to go. However, in the last 2/3 of this book she took 20 steps forward and I found that I really liked her. The other characters were great, I didn’t really have a problem with them; however they lacked the “wow factor” for me.
The mystery was also okay. I didn’t find the killer that surprising, but the mystery was plotted well. The book also started slow, but once I reach that halfway mark it accelerated quickly, and I was eating it up. Jewel Bay sounds like a wonderful place to live; Ms. Budewitz did a stellar job of describing the setting and making me want to move there!
Overall the first half of the book was a solid 3 stars, but the last half was 4 stars which leads me to my rating of 3.5 stars. Not my favorite book, but I’ve heard wonderful things about this author’s work, so maybe it was my mood that made this a simply okay book. Because of the things I’ve heard, I definitely will read the next one!