Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies
A Very Cherry Mystery, Book #1
By Darci Hannah
Author’s Website: darcihannah.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Cherry enthusiast Whitney Bloom is furiously baking her way into the heart of Chicago with her fabulous cherry pies when she receives a desperate call from her mother. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival has just kicked off at the Cherry Orchard Inn in Wisconsin, and the manager of the Bloom family orchard has been found dead beneath the cherry blossoms. Worse yet, all evidence points to Whitney’s father as the killer. After racing home to help, things really land in the pits for Whitney when she discovers that Jack MacLaren, her old high school nemesis, is Cherry Cove’s only police officer. Putting her cherry-tastic treats on hold, Whitney matches wits against Jack. But will she have what it takes to clear her father’s name and sift out the real Cherry Cove killer?
From the beginning, I became enthralled with the antics of Whitney Bloom, ex ad-exec for a large Chicago advertising firm, cherry aficionado – running her own online bakery (called Bloom n’ Cherries!) and amateur sleuth. Whitney is the main protagonist in the first book, Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies of the A Very Cherry Mystery series by author Darci Hannah. I found Whitney to be a well rounded, funny, compassionate and caring character. Though her sleuthing skills may need a little work.
Whitney receives a call from her hysterical mother. During the call, her mother informs Whitney that Jeb Carlson has been murdered.
“Are you telling me that Jeb’s been murdered? During the Cherry Blossom Festival weekend? Is this your idea of a joke, Mom? Because if it is, it’s a pretty sick one.”
“No,” she said, and began crying. “No joke. I wish it was. And the worst part…the worst part is…”
Really, how could it be any worse?
“And the worst part is it appears that your dad is the murderer.”
Needless to say, Whitney rushes home to Cherry Cove to support her mom, figure out who really killed Jeb! As an added bonus, she can get away from the catastrophe her professional life has become all due to one ill-timed advertisement during the super bowl. Luckily Whitney’s current work is running her online business, Bloom ‘n’ Cherries!, making cherry pie’s and other creations; this can be done from anywhere.
Once in town, it quickly becomes apparent, well at least to Whitney, that she cannot leave the local constabulary to prove her father innocent. The local Cherry Blossom festival, as well as the family business, are all in peril if this mystery is not solved.
The pseudo swearing had me giggling: Holy cobbler! Or Fudgesicles. I would say it even made the book seem more relatable as don’t we all have a pseudo swear word we try to use? Also made me realize how often some people swear.
Doc Fisker (country coroner and chief medical examiner) is certainly a character. I love his description of an event he witnessed:
“Oh, a mystery! I do so love a mystery. I find there’s always a rather mysterious element hanging around that old orchard. Why, I was up there earlier this spring and do you know what I saw? Jeb had those girls – Jenn, Jani, the Robinson girl and a few of the younger waitresses-dressed in flowing white gowns with flowered wreaths in their hair, holding hands and dancing around the budding trees. Was suspiciously pagan. When I asked him about it he said …”
He was described by Jack as “He’s old but good, and he’s susceptible to bribes.”
Whitney was thinking about her ex-boyfriend – Tatum Vander Hagen (affectionately known as Tate). He seems to be a hunk to be reckoned with:
“He was smiling, flashing dimples-the kind you just wanted to stick your fingers into and wiggle a bit. I had worked hard to resist those captivating cheek-dimples but, for the love of cobbler, they were a powerful weapon.”
Of course – Tate is not the only hunk that Whitney seems to be attracted to! Carlton Brisbane seems to have caught her eye along with Jack MacLaren (local law enforcement and pain in Whitney’s behind from grade 5) and the new hot bartender at the Inn, Finn.
I found the cast of characters quite large and at times difficult to keep straight (well – at the beginning at least – nothing a few notes couldn’t solve). It certainly allowed for a variety of red herring side stories to throw one off the scent of figuring out who the real killer was. In fact, I was not able to determine ‘whodunit’ until it was revealed… and that is just the way I like my mysteries. I also felt that there is enough going on in Cherry Orchard for this series to continue on and hold my interest.
I cannot go into much more detail because I do not want to be one of those reviewers that inadvertently blurt out some key hint that takes away from another reader’s journey when they read this review. But suffice it to say – I am happy I took this journey called Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies.
This is the first book I have read by Darci Hannah and I predict it will not be my last. I cannot wait to read about the further antics of Whitney and all the characters in Cherry Orchard.