Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Pumpkin Muffin Murder -- Livia J. Washburn

As most of you know, Livia J. Washburn cohabits with James Reasoner, and they're one of the great writing teams of the last few decade, working both singly and together. The Pumpkin Muffin Murder is the fifth book in the "Fresh Baked Mystery Series," and it's another good one.

The setting is Weatherford, Texas (a real place), and Phyllis Newsom, who runs a boarding house for former teachers, is getting ready for the Harvest Festival, hoping that she can enter her Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin. Her toughest competitor, her friend Carolyn, is judging, so she won't be entering. Phyllis likes her chances of winning. However, she's taking care of her grandson, Bobby, who has an ear infection. That's a hindrance, but Sam Fletcher, a boarder and friend who's a bit more than a friend, is glad to help out.

So things are going well, until Phyllis and Carolyn notice an askew scarecrow that turns out to be concealing the body of a murder victim, Logan Powell, a real estate agent who was the festival organizer. Powell's wife, Dana, is the chief suspect. Phyllis is persuaded to do a little sleuthing on her own to clear Dana and find the real culprit. Which she does, but she cuts it a little close.

One thing I like about this series is the small-town atmosphere. It's right on the money, and all the characters (not just the major ones) are the kind of people I know and have known for most of my life. I also like reading the recipes (there are a lot of them), but I'll never try to make any of them. My specialty used to be beanie-weenie, but nobody would eat it, even my kids, so I gave up cooking. It's lot more fun to read about cooking than to do it. Anyway, this is a fun book. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

Sounds great. They are gifted novelists.

Livia J Washburn said...

Thanks Bill and Dick for the kind words. I learned to cook from my Momma who was cooking when she was five on a wood burning stove. It's been a real challange to measure everything so I can write down the recipes. I was always a pinch, and a handful baker. Who knew they made spoons and cups for that.