Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yeast of Eden (A Pancake House Mystery #4)

Author:  Sarah Fox
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback; Digital Book; Audio CD
ISBN #:  9781516107773; 9781977367495
Lyrical Underground
208 Pages
$15.00; $4.99; $24.99 Amazon
October 30, 2018


Winter has come to Wildwood Cove, and riding in on the chill is Wally Fowler.  Although he's been away for years, establishing his reputation as the self-proclaimed Waffle King, the wealthy blowhard has returned to the coastal community to make money, not friends - by pitting his hot and trendy Waffle Kingdom against Marley McKinney's cozy pancake house, The Flip Side.  Wally doesn't see anything wrong in a little healthy competition, until he's murdered in his own state-of-the-art kitchen.

Marley isn't surprised when the authorities sniff around The Flip Side for a motive, but it's her best friend Lisa who gets grilled, given her sticky history with the victim.  When a second murder rocks the town, it makes it harder than ever for Marley to clear Lisa's name.  Marley's afraid that she's next in line to die - and the way things are looking, the odds of surviving her investigation could be stacked against her.


Marley McKinney owns the Flip Side pancake house.  She does a brisk business with plenty of regulars.  When she's arriving to work one day she sees a flyer on the ground behind her business and picks it up, then sees that it's an advertisement for The Waffle Kingdom, a new restaurant that is opening in town by an ex-resident just returned, Wally Fowler.  When she goes inside she sees two more taped to the front of her restaurant windows.  Irritated, she tries to let it go but later that morning when she's got a full house, Wally shows up with a man and a woman and announces to all and sundry about his grand opening and even invites Marley and her cook Ivan to come by that evening and see how he makes ice cream with liquid nitrogen. 

After he leaves, she sees her friends Lisa is extremely upset, and learns that Lisa blames Wally for getting her brother into drugs many years ago while in high school.  After she calms Lisa down she reminds her that it's Ladies' Night at the local hardware store and they plan to meet there.  But when Lisa doesn't show, Marley texts her and Lisa said she wasn't up to it.

Later that evening Marley is going home and notices that Wally's tires are slashed and knocks on the back door of his business to tell him.  Receiving no response, she goes around to the front and finding it unlocked, enters.  What she does find is her Ivan, and he tells her to call 911.  Marley, her innate curiosity getting the better of her, goes into the kitchen and sees Wally's dead body.

It's a given that he had enemies all over town and no friends.  But it's also apparent that Lisa or Ivan, or maybe both, are the main suspects in the murder, and Lisa asks Marley to help her find the killer because she's afraid they'll suspect Ivan of the crime.  But it soon becomes apparent that Lisa's the one the police want, so Marley decides to investigate on the down low, hoping to flush out a murderer.

But to make things worse, her boyfriend Brett's father has had a heart attack and is in the hospital out of town; she needs to stick around to take care of the pets and while she misses him terribly, she has other things on her mind that will keep her busy - like murder.

Then while looking for Christmas decorations in the attic she finds an old trunk full of journals and a scrapbook, and discovers that a distant relative disappeared decades ago without a trace.  Now she has another purpose - to try and find out what happened to the woman and also a young maid in another household who disappeared around the same time.  Were they killed by the son of the mayor at the time?  Or is there a more sinister answer?  It's a diversion she needs right now, but finding a killer is taking first and foremost - that is, if the killer doesn't find her first...

While I felt the book started out a tad slow, it picked up quickly and I found myself engrossed in the story.  I loved the fact that there was an old mystery to solve also.  It was basically a two-for-one in this book, and quite enjoyable to read.  Marley, without Brett by her side, needed something to occupy her time at home, and when she found the journals it added a 'mystery lite' to the tale; I enjoyed it as much as finding Wally's killer.

I felt that the clues were hidden well and while there were plenty of suspects, there wasn't anything that directly pointed to any one person...until nearly the end of the book, which is how it is supposed to be.  When she finally figured it out, there was just the right amount of suspense going on while you watched as she tried to figure out how to get herself out of danger (as we know she will).  It added that last bit of 'oomph' that kept everything moving to the final climax, and made for an entertaining book indeed.

But it didn't end there as we still had the second mystery of the journals to discover, and I am glad to say I was pleased in that outcome too.  All in all, when the ending came and the killer was discovered, it was a complete surprise as it was, of course, meant to be; and although I have only read one other in this series it is apparent that Ms. Fox is indeed a talented writer and I will go back and read the other two.  I look forward to the next book in the series.  Highly recommended.


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