Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse
Marygene Brown Mystery #2
By Kate Young
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
On Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, a killer is serving up a two-for-one special . . .
After their mama’s passing, Marygene Brown returned to Peach Cove Island to help her sister Jena Lynn run the family diner, renowned for its homemade peach desserts. But Mama is never too far away–her sassy spirit haunts the island, and more specifically Marygene. Lately Mama has been warning her that the dead will seek her out to solve their murders, an idea Marygene is far from peachy keen on.
But that prophecy appears to be coming true when she goes skinny-dipping off the island and swims right into a woman’s charred corpse floating in the waves. And when Marygene and her brother Sam come upon a second burned body in a wine cellar at an event they’re catering, it appears they have a double homicide on their hands. It soon turns out the victims have more in common than their charred remains, and Marygene will need to double down to find a killer who has no aversion to playing with fire. Good thing Mama has her back . . . (Goodreads)
Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse is the highly entertaining second book in the Marygene Brown Mystery Series by Kate Young. Edgier than the average cozy, it hits all the right criteria for a great read with endearing quirky characters, wonderful descriptions of tasty food, and a finely executed mystery to solve.
Marygene Brown is trying hard to move on with her life as a domestic violence survivor, running the family diner with her sister and brother, dealing with her old sweetheart’s wandering eye, and building a relationship with her biological father. However, she is not the only one working through things – her mother is now haunting Marygene in an effort to make amends and move on to Heaven. With Mama’s attachment to Marygene’s comes other souls seeking justice for their murders. When Marygene literally bumps into a burnt corpse while swimming, and later finds another charred victim, a twenty-five year old cold case bursts wide open. The deceased twins disappeared years ago, and Marygene must investigate a close group of friends, which includes her mother and “aunt”, to find out the truth from all those years ago.
I really like Marygene; she is clever, down-to-earth, and genuinely interested in people. She is relatable in her struggles with her past. All of the characters are carefully drawn, unique, and realistic. Marygene’s friend and employee Betsy and Meemaw are a hoot, and I especially love the family meal scenes when all of the family, blood relatives or honorary, come together and their personalities shine. It comes across as one hundred percent authentic. I do not, however, enjoy Marygene’s old flame Alex. He wants his cake and eat it, too, and is immature and jealous of Marygene’s potential relationship with new deputy Javier. Marygene and Javier are like oil and water when they first meet, and I look forward to seeing how their relationship progresses, be it platonic or romantic.
The murder mystery, and that of the twins’ disappearance, is tightly constructed and plays out with suspense. There are plenty of suspects and secrets to uncover, and with each revelation more secrets and lies. I had no idea who the killer was until they were revealed – that is how well the story is executed. The story is a nice mixture of investigation and Marygene’s personal life, but the mystery is always the top priority. I enjoy getting to know some of the older residents of the island, both their present day selves and in their youth.
Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse is a great cozy mystery, and I cannot wait for more installments in the series. Highly recommended.