Rosemary and Crime

Rosemary and Crime - Gail Oust I enjoyed Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust. It is an excellent start to a new series, the Spice Shop Mysteries.

Piper Prescott is recently divorced, after being married to attorney CJ Prescott for 20+ years. He decided to trade up for a newer model -- or beauty queen, rather -- twenty-four-year-old Amber Leigh Ames. Piper put her entire divorce settlement into beginning her dream business of a spice shop, Spice It Up!, in Brandywine Creek, Georgia.

For the big draw of the Grand Opening of Spice It Up!, Piper has scheduled a cooking demonstration of Roast Lamb with Juniper and Rosemary by Mario Barrone, owner and chef of local fine-dining establishment Trattoria Milano. Mario is as renowned for his temper as he is for his cooking, and redhead Piper has a bit of a temper herself.

On the eve of the grand opening, Mario has a big argument with Piper in her shop, about the condition of the juniper berries for his demo. Mario and Piper end up on the sidewalk in front of the shop as the argument draws to a close, with a crowd of passersby to watch the fireworks.

Piper finds Mario's body in his restaurant the next morning, and it appears that he's been murdered. Piper must still proceed with her grand opening because she needs the customers, and their purchases. Since she still needs a big draw, she realizes she will have to do the cooking demonstration.

Unfortunately, Piper has never prepared Roast Lamb with Juniper and Rosemary. Her demo doesn't go quite as smoothly as Mario's would have. The account of her disastrous demonstration is one of my favorite parts of Rosemary and Crime.

Because of the public argument Piper had with Mario, and a few other reasons, the new police chief Wyatt McBride believes that Piper is the prime suspect for Mario's murder. Piper, with her BFF and sidekick Reba Mae, decide to investigate the case on their own and discover the real culprit.

Piper and Reba Mae think they're being Nancy Drew and Bess Marvin, but they're more like Lucy and Ethel with their madcap misadventures, as they sleuth to uncover Mario's killer. Piper's detective work builds to an exciting climax.

I really like the way Rosemary and Crime ends:

"Thanks again, McBride," I called out.

He paused and shot me a killer smile over his shoulder. "See you around. And, Piper, just for the record, I do have a first name. It's Wyatt. Feel free to use it."

Hmmm ...

It leaves me eager to read the next book in the series!

[Note: I received a complimentary copy of Rosemary and Crime in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.]