Six Feet Deep Dish
Deep Dish Mysteries #1
By Mindy Quigley
Author Website: mindyquigley(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Fresh mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and murder: the perfect recipe for a delicious first entry in Mindy Quigley’s Six Feet Deep Dish, a delectable new series…
Delilah O’Leary can’t wait to open her new gourmet deep-dish pizzeria in Geneva Bay, Wisconsin—a charming resort town with a long history as a mobsters’ hideaway, millionaires’ playground, and vacation mecca. Engaged to a hunk with a hefty trust fund, Delilah is poised to begin a life that’s just about as delicious as one of her cheesy creations.
Just before opening night, though, Delilah’s plans for pizza perfection hit the skids when her fiancé dumps her and leaves her with a very large memento from their relationship—Butterball, their spoiled, plus-sized tabby cat.
Delilah’s trouble deepens when she discovers a dead body and finds her elderly aunt holding the murder weapon. Handsome local police detective Calvin Capone, great grandson of the legendary gangster, opens an investigation, threatening to sink Delilah’s pie-in-the-sky ambitions before they can even get off the ground. To save her aunt and get her pizza place generating some dough, Delilah must deliver the real killer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this funny, exciting, suspenseful opening to the Deep Dish Mysteries series! It has many things I appreciate in cozy mysteries: engaging, likable characters, a complex mystery, cats, pizza, and summer in a Midwest lakeside town. It has recipes, including Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
Delilah had paid her dues as a chef, having worked with the best, most temperamental, and most eccentric talent in the fine dining industry. She recently moved from Chicago to Geneva Bay, Wisconsin with her fiancé, Sam. She wanted to be near her beloved great-aunt Biz and keep eyes on her live-in help as her health declined. Sam had earned a ridiculous sum of money for an app he created in college, so he offered to pay for their move and invest in a restaurant for Delilah. Living in a town she loves and opening her own upscale Chicago-style deep dish pizza restaurant is a dream come true. They named it Sam and Delilah’s Deep Dish Pizza, and her Type A+ personality made her check every detail, except the tasks Sam wanted to handle.
One of those things was getting the new sign installed on time. When the sign arrived saying Deep Dutch pizza…Sam did what Sam did best. Delilah’s perfectionism and upset at the situation messed up his serenity, so he packed his bags and left. The Prohibition-era Queen Anne mansion he purchased and was remodeling wasn’t ready to move into yet, and he didn’t tell her where he was going. She and her staff were on their own for that evening’s soft opening.
The evening’s opening began very well. Auntie Biz’s caregiver, Jeremy, dropped her off in her wheelchair and disappeared. When Jeremy reappeared, Delilah asked him to take Biz out for some fresh air. Only minutes later, Jeremy lay dead, with Biz leaning over him. In her hand was the handgun she kept in her purse, but she had passed out before Jeremy was shot, and had no idea what happened. The Grand Opening, scheduled for the following night, was not going to happen until the crime scene was cleared. Biz could be arrested for a murder she was incapable of committing, and if Sam didn’t return to pay the vendors and make payroll for the new staff, they might never open.
The author has given us a wonderful cast of characters who were described with care. Delilah is a breath of fresh air. She is like many of us, with positive traits, flaws, and scars. At times, being privy to her thoughts was like listening in on my own internal dialog. Once her shock and anger wore off, Delilah got into action, refusing to play victim. She listened to suggestions from best friend Sonya and took stock of her own shortcomings while trying to find the killer. Auntie Biz was a feisty little thing! After years of teaching high school and volunteer teaching at a nearby prison, she cared enough about others’ future to tell them what they needed to hear. It was hard for Delilah to see her mental decline.
Delilah had not known about Sam’s huge bank account until they dated for months. There wasn’t enough money to keep someone unreliable around. When the going got tough, he went to yoga retreats. Delilah tried to have a good, solid staff, and with one exception, was successful. One wild card, the very handsome Detective Calvin Capone of the famous Capone family, was intelligent, listened to Delilah’s ideas, and was determined to solve the case. I was rooting for him from the first scene he appeared in. I love Butterball, the overweight orange tabby, Sam’s cat who began to adore Delilah.
Plot twists kept throwing in surprises while adding and subtracting suspects. Delilah wanted the killer caught, knowing her auntie didn’t do it. When Biz was hospitalized in serious condition, she wanted whoever was responsible for that caught, also. She, Sonya, and their staff couldn’t re-open yet, so what did they have to lose? Detective Capone didn’t want Delilah involved with the investigation, but it wasn’t his auntie on the suspect – or hit – list. This is such a good mystery that kept me guessing throughout, yet I didn’t want to see it end! I was fully satisfied with the resolutions and conclusion, and am eager to read the next in series. I highly recommend this cozy mystery!