Killer Comfort Food
Farm to Fork Mystery, Book #5
By Lynn Cahoon
Author Website: lynncahoon(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Angie Turner’s Idaho restaurant, the County Seat, is known and loved for its fresh food. For Angie, it’s also meant a fresh start. But when big agriculture comes to town—along with whispers of foul play—Angie could lose more than the farm . . .
A soybean processing plant is trying to buy up the land around the small farm Angie’s beloved Nona left her. If Angie doesn’t sell, she’ll be surrounded by the plant and the congestion that comes with it. On the other hand, it’s Nona’s farmhouse. What is Angie supposed to do without it? Move into a condo in town with Precious, Mabel, and Dom—respectively, a goat, chicken, and dog. Worse, a troubling rumor is circulating about the lawyer who’s heading up the development: His socialite wife seems to be missing. When Barb, owner of the local bar, asks Angie to look into the woman’s disappearance, she’s hesitant—until Barb reveals her surprising connection. Now it’s up to Angie to find the woman, uncover a shady plot, and hang onto her home—before she becomes a criminal’s final course. (Goodreads)
I had the most fun being back with the Scooby-Doo gang! The staff of the County Seat takes pride in all they serve at this popular farm-to-table restaurant. Angie and Felicia, owners and best friends, have made the most wonderful family with their staff. The characters could step out of the pages into real life. It is January, and they are looking forward to spring. Crime never takes a break, even for snow, however, and Angie and Felicia are put to the test this time.
Angie inherited Nona’s farm, in the family for generations, when her beloved grandmother passed. It is now wanted for a soybean plant for Taylor Farms. Treasured memories are in every square foot, and she doesn’t want to give up an acre of it. She still has one of Nona’s hens, Mabel, and added Princess, a goat that adopted her, and Dom, her Saint Bernard.
Barb, owner of the Red Eye, the neighborhood bar, asked Angie for a favor. Angie and her friends have helped the sheriff’s office solve more than one murder since opening the County Seat. Barb’s daughter Sunny, adopted by her sister when the girl was very young, was missing. Barb’s sister has since passed away, and she has acted as aunt for all these years to her brilliant daughter. Barb thinks maybe Sunny’s husband killed her, as he said she had left a note that she was going to Canada to visit her birth mother who is not in Canada! Barb has surgery scheduled for lung cancer. She wants to see Sunny, but she would also like to change her will if something did happen to her, not wanting the son-in-law to inherit.
Who else could Sunny be but Susan Ansley, the wife of attorney Jon Ansley…the attorney working on the deal for Taylor Farms to take Angie’s farm? Felicia knows Susan from the yoga class she attends and may be able to get leads to her disappearance.
The ex-husband of Nancy, one of Angie’s chefs, turned up at County Seat with his new wife. Nancy has been working three jobs to care for herself and their three children without a penny of child support and paying all the debts the loser left her with. When he breaks into her home and makes many prank phone calls, she fears the worst for her family.
A woman is found murdered behind the park across from the restaurant. She had disappeared several months ago when walking home from a yoga class but had not been dead long. Before she was identified, there was concern that it could be Susan, but thankfully, it was not.
Felicia, Angie, Ian, Angie’s boyfriend, and possibly Estebe, Angie’s second-in-command in the kitchen, are seeking leads to try to find Susan/ Sunny. With Nancy’s ex in town, who may also be involved with the soybean plant deal, a missing woman, and a murdered woman, the Scooby-Doo gang have much to do as they handle the restaurant and for Ian, his job with local farmers. To keep things interesting, Bleak, the foster daughter Ian’s uncle and aunt have taken, may be in trouble of some sort. Bleak at 16 is an excellent student and part-time employee of Angie and Felicia.
Family is not forged only by blood, but by the close relationships that characterize Angie, Felicia, Ian, Estebe, and the staff at County Seat. Angie doesn’t have any blood relatives nearby, but she has a huge family in the County Seat employees. Each is defined as well as necessary befitting their roles. I am happy to see Bleak thriving in her new environment, and how the gang works together to help Nancy with her ex-husband. One of my absolute favorite characters is Dom, and yes, I know he is a huge pup! One of the things that makes these characters attractive, I think, is how a reader can see a little of him/ herself in many of them. Another is how each genuinely wants the best for each other.
The challenges in this novel seem overwhelming! It was a first when Angie admitted complete defeat on finding Susan. I love watching this group work – and play – together! They each have expertise and creativity to help with new recipes or leads for mysteries. They roll with the plot twists, and even with tucking Nancy’s children in at the restaurant while she is working. The stakes are high for Angie, Felicia, and their staff, especially when Angie is in the crosshairs of an anonymous killer. All loose ends are tied up in the very satisfying ending, and I highly recommend it!