Pudding Up With Murder (Undercover Dish Mystery #3)
Author: Julia Buckley
Author website: http://www.juliabuckley.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Secret chef Lilah Drake has a killer casserole to deal with in the latest Undercover Dish mystery from the author of Cheddar Off Dead….
Customers trust Lilah Drake to keep her mouthwatering meals under wraps, but when a millionaire meets his untimely end, some sinister secrets become the main course. . . .
Spring is right around the corner, and with the warmer temperatures come plenty of food requests from Lilah Drake’s covered-dish clients. Lilah pulls out all the stops with a sweet new casserole for the birthday party of Marcus Cantwell, a wealthy curmudgeon who has some angry ex-wives and more than a few enemies.
When he’s found face down in Lilah’s casserole, it’s anyone’s guess as to who might have wanted the old man dead. A possible new heir to Marcus’s fortune adds some unexpected spice to the investigation, but Lilah fears that the old adage is true, and “the proof is in the pudding.”
I absolutely love Lila Drake and the cast of characters in author Julia Buckley’s “Undercover Dish Mystery” series. It is always a joy to take a trip to Pine Haven and see what trouble Lila and her friends are getting into, including her wonderful dog Mick. Lila has a reputation for helping her friends/customers when they need a killer dish, but lack the time or talent to make it. She is hired to do the deed and then secretly get the dish in the hands of her coconspirator. One of her first customers was Ellie who just happens to be the mother of Lila’s police boyfriend Jay Parker. And yes Ellie did have a big hand in the couple’s coming together. Ellie is going to the birthday party of her rich and not too friendly neighbor, so she calls Lila to fill the bill for a wonderful dish to bring.
Ellie informs Lila that Marcus Cantwell is a huge dog lover and since he has heard so much about Mick, Lila and Mick are also invited. Well this party is not the normal fete. Not only is Marcus extremely wealthy, but he has been married quite a few times, has 5 kids (and maybe more) and they all sort of get along. They are all in attendance. Meeting Marcus is kind of a bust as well. He does not seem interested in anything, not even meeting Mick. Then a fight breaks out and luckily Maria Grimaldi (police detective and Jay’s partner in crime solving) is also there. Lila wants to high tail it out of there and she does. Unfortunately not soon enough.
As Lila and Ellie (with Mick of course) go to say goodbye to the absent Marcus, things really fall apart. Ellie attempts to get things back in some order by serving up the wonderful sweet casserole Lila has made for her to the kids. Marcus stumbles in and mentions it reminds him of his childhood and falls face forward into the yummy treat. He dies at the hospital. The family comes together pointing fingers. Of course Lila is very observant and she notices somethings out of ordinary at the home. When Ellie becomes a suspect due to her dish, Lila has to step in and find out who could have done the old man in. His money is definitely a motive, but who had the means and the desire to see him gone. The friends, including the police of course, have to wade through the sticky wicket of the odd family of Cantwells. It is a wild ride, but in the end Lila and gang are able to set things right.
I truly enjoyed Pudding Up With Murder. As with the other 2 books in this series, I was pulled in immediately and could not put the book down. Author Julia Buckley’s writing style is so riveting and just never lets go of your attention. The characters are fantastic, all the way from the protagonist Lila to the minor characters like Cash, one of Marcus’ children. They draw you in to their world and the mystery intensifies. Even if you have not read any of the other two books in this series, you will be able to jump right in and feel at home in Pine Haven. I recommend this fabulous book to all cozy lovers and mystery fans. Buckley never lets the reader down. She always delivers a truly delightful read that satisfies everything you could want in a cozy mystery. The mystery kept me guessing and when I just knew I had it figured out, the author peppered it with more clues that could lead in different directions. I cannot wait until the next installment is released.