A Fatal Family Feast
Farm-To-Fork Mystery, Book #6
By Lynn Cahoon
Author Website: lynncahoon(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Angie Turner’s Idaho restaurant, the County Seat, is the perfect site for a picturesque country wedding, but the party planning skids to a halt when the groom-to-be is implicated in a murder investigation…
When Angie’s best friend and business partner, Felicia Williams, picks the County Seat to host her upcoming nuptials, Angie wants it to feel like a family affair–especially since Felicia is set to marry the farm-to-fork restaurant’s talented sous chef, Estebe Blackstone. Unfortunately, the bride’s actual family is far less enthusiastic about the union. They’re pulling out all the stops to cancel the couple’s wedding, even arranging for a surprise visit from Felicia’s ex-fiancé (and her father’s current lackey). But when her ex is killed days before the ceremony and Estebe is framed for the crime, Angie and the County Seat crew must scramble to solve the murder and save the wedding. (Goodreads)
This delightful mystery is the start of a new chapter in the lives of Felicia, co-owner of the County Seat, and Estebe, the sous chef and a property investor. The County Seat is a Farm-to-Fork restaurant in southwest Idaho. Angie, the other owner of County Seat and the chef, loves being part of the family they created with their exemplary staff. I really enjoy the eclectic characters, how they each contribute to the business, Angie’s pets, a Saint Bernard and personality plus goat, and the one-of-a-kind mystery.
Estebe and Felicia are getting married, and tension runs high when Felicia’s family and Jason, her ex-fiancé arrive. The Williams family made their displeasure in her choices of the past few years clear. She left the east coast years ago to attend college in Boise, then chose to live in Idaho and run a restaurant with her best friend instead of returning to her parents and learning her father’s business. She is marrying a chef instead of Jason, the man her father chose for her many years ago. Her father refuses to walk her down the aisle and may not attend the wedding, which will take place at The County Seat.
Jason invited Felicia to have coffee with him. Angie went with her and listened as Jason urged Felicia to return to Boston. Estebe’s cousin Javier ran into them and heard Jason trying to get her to leave. He has words with Jason, and he and the girls leave. When they got back to County Seat, Estebe was preparing lunch for them and her surprise guests. Her parents did come to town, but the luncheon isn’t as pleasant as Estebe hoped. He is hurt and unhappy; he has never met anyone quite like Royce and MaryEllen, who are close to having a relationship with him. They are planning to stay through the week and be there for the wedding.
Later that evening, Jason was found murdered in an alley. Days before the wedding, the assigned police detective had attended school with Estebe and still held a resentment against him. Despite Estebe’s verifiable alibis, the detective chose Estebe as the only suspect in Jason’s murder.
Felicia’s half-brother, Carter, came to town. Carter has been working for their father for several years. Carter and her mom tried to talk Felicia into returning to Boston. Especially with Jason gone, her parents need her. Again, she refused to leave her fiancé, her home, her business. The day of her shower, they stopped by to give her and Estebe a gift, as they decided to leave early to reorganize the family business.
As Felicia’s best friend who has helped solve several murders, Angie must find the bad guy fast, so that nothing will keep Felicia and Estebe from getting married. To find who killed someone who lived all their life across the country is difficult. For her best friend’s happiness, Angie will do everything possible, even as she struggles to stay out of the vengeful path of a temporary chef she had to let go.
The author is excellent at creating and defining three-dimensional characters that as a reader, I became engaged with the first book I read from this series. One doesn’t have to be a foodie to appreciate the men and women who work at County Seat. The characters, while passionate about cooking or providing fresh produce to the public, have rich, full lives.
I was fascinated with the searching process and information Angie found about Jason and some of the people in his past. Some of the tie-ins she found were things the local police weren’t even considering. The tale kept me guessing throughout, even as I strongly considered a couple people that Angie was looking at. Plot twists brought surprises and changes, but it still appeared that, even if Estebe and Felicia were able to marry, they might have to postpone their honeymoon. The ending was very satisfactory, with no outstanding loose ends. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and others in the series!