Last night’s reads include these two that I checked out from my local library, the wonderful Mercer County Library System. I checked out Gail Oust’s spice shop mystery, Kill ’em with Cayenne because I recently read one of Leslie Budewitz’s spice shop mysteries and it piqued my interest in spices.
This spice shop series is set on the opposite coast of Leslie Budewitz’s series, in Georgia to be precise. The mystery involves a not very nice woman who is murdered when the town is all in a frenzy already due to an upcoming barbeque contest. Piper stumbles across the body while walking her dog and of course sticks her nose into the investigation. The mystery was made interesting because of the number of people who were potential suspects. Piper investigated digging up clues the police missed. I did find the police incompetence, a little over the top in this one, stretching my ability to suspend my disbelief. I did like the resolution and the fact that the stereotypical blonde baracuda proved to be not that and was really a victim. There is a romantic triangle subplot here that seems to be just warming up, with Piper, her vet and the Chief, that will probably play out in future books. Interesting read with information on chili peppers and some recipes as well.
A Finer End is the next book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series that I love and this one was in some ways completely different. The attempt/murder is not what drives this book at all. The story centers around an architect, Duncan Kincaid’s cousin, who is receiving messages in the form of automatic writing in Latin, no less. He brings together a group of aquaintances including, a love interest, a pagan worshipper, a teen runaway, and an academic/author to attempt to understand what is happening. There are other paranormal type happenings, people experiencing euphoric feelings and losing time, people experiencing drives or uges to do things, and a painter driven to paint the portrait of a child she has never met over and over.
The threads of all these characters become tightly wound together, until the tension becomes too much and violence erupts. I enjoyed the first half of the book which just had small snippets of Gemma and Duncan, but I liked it much better once they intersected with the architect and his group. I felt that the pacing picked up them and the flow of the story became much more natural feeling, that might be because at that point it became more like what i would expect in a mystery. The resolution was well done and not what I expected which I liked. The romantic subplot for Duncan and Gemma is moving along very nicely, as is the subplot of Duncan and his son. Very enjoyable read, a mystery with paranormal/spiritual elements.