In Tastes like Murder by Catherine Bruns, Sally Muccio owns the Sally’s Samples Bakery, where she has to deal with some frustrating clients. Then one day Sally’s personal longtime enemy walks into the shop. The exceedingly rich Amanda tormented Sally throughout high school, and Sally was happy to get away from the bully when she married and moved to Florida. At least, Sally escaped Amanda until the day she walked in on Amanda in bed with her husband. And now he is Sally’s ex-husband, and she lives once again in her hometown near her crazy family and owns a bakery with Josie, her best friend. With anxiety over Amanda’s visit to the bakery, Sally goes to a bar with her friends and ends up drunk after only three beers. Running into Mike, the love of her high school years, Sally lets her intoxication influence her to make out with him until she vomits on his shoes. The day after that proves especially miserable, and then it gets worse when Amanda walks in to the bakery for the second day in a row. When Amanda seems inclined to linger past closing time, Sally makes her leave. But only a few minutes later Sally goes to leave her building only to find the body of Amanda lying on her stoop.
As rumors spread fast and wide within their New York community that Sally killed Amanda, the bakery keeps busy with customers but no actual business. The resulting loss of income really upsets Sally and Josie, influencing them to decide to investigate for themselves. In the meantime, Sally finds herself the source of attention of Brian Jenkins, the new detective on her case. But what about Mike? Which of her two suitors does she focus on? And who is trying to frame her for murder?
I enjoyed this book, with its mixture of mystery and romance. I enjoyed the characters of Sally’s crazy family, including her father, who is obsessed with his impending (or so he wants to believe) death; her mother, who seems to think she is a teenager again; and her grandmother, who is the sensible one around. I did find myself reading the romance narrative through the lens of my own experience, interpreting the pros and cons between Mike and Brian differently than the other characters interpret their actions.
The audiobook is narrated by Karen Rose Richter. For the most part, I enjoyed her performance. But I found her voicing of Josie to be a little inconsistent at times, sometimes not sounding as clearly like her usual voice of Josie, with the New York accent occasionally coming more strongly than at most times. The voice of Kate, the mother of Amanda, also doesn’t sound the same to me throughout the book. The voices of the men occasionally have the same issue, but in general they work pretty well.
I had a good time listening to Tastes like Murder. The book is often guided in its plot with fortune cookies that are popular in Sally’s bakery. I like the way they help to create an outline for the plot without doing so very obviously. Just as most fortune cookies that we get in Chinese American restaurants contain fairly obscure messages that can be interpreted many ways, the messages in this book do the same so that the plot does not become immediately obvious. The characters are fun, as is the plot. My only concern is that I’d like to have seen a bit more depth and detail to the book, but otherwise, it was great. I give it four stars.
< strong>Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from the author, but that had no effect on the content in my review.
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