|Business at Hanna Denton’s pie shop that she inherited from her Grannie could always be better and the local Food Fair, with a variety of local vendors all showcasing their homegrown and homemade products, may be just the thing she needs to win some new customers.
Unfortunately, nasty food critic Heath Barr (pun intended?) writes a spiteful review of many of the vendors at the fair including Hanna and her pies. Hanna gathers all the maligned purveyors at her shop to decide what to do about Heath Barr when the chief of police, and Hanna’s former high school sweetheart Sam Genovese, shows up on the doorstep to announce that someone has done something about Heath: they have murdered him using one of the serrated edged knives that each one of the Food Fair vendors had access to.
Hanna finds herself on the suspect list with the other vendors and adds “find murderer” to running her business, baking pies and hosting a pie baking contest. In spite of Sam’s admonitions to keep away from the case, Hanna begins looking at her fellow food vendors with a jaundiced eye and learns that all is not fair in love and a food fair and that someone among them is a killer.
The addition of the various food vendors in this sophomore outing adds much interest to the series and creates the feeling of community. Hanna’s Grannie is still very much alive and kicking, moving into a retirement community to enjoy the later years of her life, but remains very much a part of Hanna’s business, the one she started, and Hanna’s life.
Hanna and Sam have a difficult relationship, especially now that she is a murder suspect, as they have a history together and still have very strong feelings toward each other. As Hanna interviews a handsome French cheese maker, an organic chicken farmer and a caramel maker, she learns that not everything is as wholesome and pure as it is purported to at the Food Fair.
A clue in an unexpected source helps all the pieces fall into place for Hanna and she is able to handily turn a murderer over to Sam. Good fun, enjoyable characters, tasty food and many red herrings make this an enjoyable small town cozy.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry