Things are looking up for Sarah (Quill) and Meg Quilliam. Their inn at Hemlock Falls is once again in their hands and thriving. Meg's cooking has never been better; Quill is painting again and is certain she has found the love of her life in New York City. The sisters Quilliam are now contending with a meteorologist convention and the Hemlock Falls Chamber of Commerce's desire to get the quaint village on the information superhighway.
A body in the gorge, a mysterious illness that has Quill irritable and worried that someone is slowly poisoning her, a hit and run accident with Quill's stolen car, and a bake-off judged by a nationally known weatherman are all enough to make Quill feel as if she's losing her grip.
Add in a cast of zany townspeople, the eccentric inn staff and a dead egocentric weatherman and Quill is certain she is going over the edge, especially when her longtime friend and doctor suggest that her symptoms may be psychosomatic.
Just Desserts is the latest installment in the Hemlock Falls series starring the talented and neurotic Quilliam sisters. Meg is the quintessential temperamental chef and Sarah is the moody artist. She is very unsure of herself and doesn't trust herself where relationships are concerned. She botched a relationship with the inn's business manager John, has failed in a relationship that may not be over with former sheriff Myles, and is certain she has found love with erratic artist Harker - yet she is still not content with herself.
The blustery, nationally known weatherman and judge of the bake-off may seem very familiar; though Boomer has a nasty side the camera rarely sees. The Chamber of Commerce's obsession with the Internet and advertising on it seems too precious at times; it is hard to believe any modern town is as techno-phobic as this bucolic village professes to be.
The mystery is a little disorganized and it hard to imagine why Quill feels all the deaths are related (it's also hard to imagine how one innkeeper could keep running across this many bodies) though all the clues are there and the answers seem to fall effortlessly into place in the end.
A cast of fun characters provides some laugh out loud moments and readers will route for Sarah's getting her life back on track. The cozy atmosphere of the inn and its surrounding town help to create a light-hearted, quick read.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry