Here we are on Monday again. Has Fall settled in where you live? I love this time of year, the crisp mornings and cool evenings, fall leaves, pumpkins and all things spooky. Most of all, I love curling up with spooky or paranormal reads, as well as the cozy mysteries. Today, I am hosting a spot on the Bread for the Dead Tour hosted by Candace's Book Blog and Promotions. I found this to be the perfect book for the season as it is all about the Day of the Dead, and it has a good murder mystery as well as plenty of decadent comfort foods. I am ready to take a trip to Santa Fe after reading this one. For my tour stop today, I have for you a review along with a giveaway. So let's get to it.
Here is my review:
Bread for the Dead (A Santa Fe Cafe Mystery #1) by Ann Myers
Trick or treat—and murder—are on the menu in this first in a new culinary mystery series
Life couldn't be sweeter for Tres Amigas Café chef Rita Lafitte, decorating sugar skulls and taste-testing rich, buttery pan de muerto in anticipation of Santa Fe's Day of the Dead bread-baking contest. That is, until her friendly landlord, Victor, is found dead next door.
Although the police deem Victor's death a suicide, Rita knows something is amiss. To uncover the truth, she teams up with her octogenarian boss, Flori, the town's most celebrated snoop.
The duo begins to sift through long-buried secrets and to take full measure of duplicitous neighbors, but the clock is ticking and their list of suspects is growing ever longer.
Just as the clues get hotter than a New Mexican chili, one of their main suspects winds up dead. Rita fears that the killer is dishing out seconds—and her order might be up.
ebook, 368 pages
Published: September 29th 2015 by William Morrow
Source: Publisher/ Tour Promoter
Four stars: A cozy murder mystery with Southwestern comfort food and style. A perfect read for the Fall season.
Rita is happily settled into her new life in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is recently divorced, but content. Rita especially loves her job at the Tres Amigas Cafe. Things are bustling around the cafe as her boss, Flori, prepares for the upcoming Day of the Dead bread baking contest, where she aims to reclaim her title. After a busy day, Rita returns home to enjoy a cup of delicious hot chocolate with her landlord, Victor. Victor is also preparing for the Day of the Dead with his alter to honor his relatives who have passed on. Their cozy chat is interrupted with the outburst of a heated confrontation between Victor, his brother and their neighbor. It seems their neighbor is disputing their property boundaries. Rita is disturbed by the scene, but she puts it out of her head as she returns home and falls asleep in front of the fire. She is awakened by her daughter's screams for help. Rita rushes outside and sees Victor dead apparently by his own hand. Did Victor really kill himself or was he murdered?
What I Liked:
- For me, a cozy mystery is always perfect for the Fall season. There is something so pleasant about curling up on a crisp, cool day with a book that features a mystery as well as comfort food. Bread of the Dead, is just one of those books. It has a good murder mystery as well as plenty of delicious, Southwestern comfort food. By the end of this book, I was craving chile pepper dishes and longing to visit Santa Fe. If you are a cozy mystery connoisseur, this is one you don't want to miss.
- The murder mystery is well done. There are plenty of suspects and motives, leading up to the big reveal. Even though I guessed who the culprit was early on, I was still pleased with the way it all played out. I also appreciated that the heroine helped solve the mystery along with the help of her lawyer friend and law enforcement. I liked the the law enforcement was capable and not bumbling and inept.
- Rita, the heroine, is an average forty one year old woman, who is looking to start over after a move and a divorce. She isn't flashy. She is a down to earth, easy to like character who is just trying to find her path.
- The setting steals the show. I loved exploring Santa Fe. I liked learning about the culture, the decor, the customs, the restaurants, and most of all the food. I lived in the Southwest for ten years, and this book had me longing for authentic chile cuisine and all things Southwest. I absolutely loved learning more about The Day of the Dead customs in New Mexico, and I longed to sample some of the Day of the Dead Bread. After reading this book, I was ready to book a flight to Santa Fe.
- I was pleased that the book didn't have a romance. Yes, there is a romantic interest, and the groundwork is in place for the future development of a romance, but for now, the series is romance free, and there aren't any love triangles or ridiculousness that sometimes ensues with cozy mystery romances.
- The ending is fast and a bit chaotic, but everything draws to a satisfactory close. The main story lines are tied up, no cliffhangers.
- At the end, there are some delicious Southwestern recipes to try, including the Day of the Dead Bread recipe. I can't wait to sample some of these for myself.
And The Not So Much:
- While reading this, there were plenty of moments where the author recapped events, such as how Rita got her job at the cafe, her divorce and other things that had taken place in the past. There were so many of these moments that I actually stopped and checked to see if I was reading the second book in the series, because it felt like the author was revisiting things that had occurred in a prior book. That was not the case, this is the first book in the series. I found the recap to be a bit confusing. I honestly wished the author had started the series back at the beginning when Rita first comes to town and starts her job.
- For me, the culprit was apparent early on. I think because the behavior of the person was not what I thought it should be, and I found this person's absence for most of the book noteworthy. It was easy for me to put the pieces together. Not a big issue, but if you are a seasoned cozy mystery reader, you will likely be able to figure it out before the reveal.
- There was a story line that featured the Day of the Dead Bread contest. Flori is convinced her rival is cheating. I was a bit disappointed that it was never revealed as to whether Gloria was actually cheating, it seems so, but I wanted to know for sure.
- The ending was fast and a bit chaotic in comparison to the rest of the book. The Day of the Bread contest gets brushed over in favor of solving the crime, and both events occur at the same time. I wished that more time had been spent on the baking contest as it was a highlight of the book. I also wished that there was a bit more discussion on the how and why of the murder. It was a bit too cursory for my taste.
Bread for the Dead was a satisfying and delightful start to a new cozy mystery series. I loved the Santa Fe setting and all the Southwest cuisine. I also enjoyed the likable characters, the mystery and the recipes. This is the perfect book for a crisp fall day. I enjoyed it, and I am eagerly looking forward to the second book in this series.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
About the author:
Ann Myers lives in Colorado with her husband and extra-large housecat, but like her main character, Rita, they all feel most at home in Santa Fe.
Follow Ann's New Mexican cooking, eating, travel, and writing adventures on her website, Facebook, or Goodreads.
As part of the tour, I am able to offer you a chance to win:
Three (3) copies of Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers (US)
Ends Oct. 28
To enter fill out the Rafflecopter. Please note: Rainy Day Ramblings will not be responsible for selecting the winners and distributing prizes. For more information on the tour and the giveaway visit Candace's Book Blog and Promotions. Be sure while you are there to check out the upcoming tour opportunities. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't miss the rest of the tour:
Review - Moonlight Rendezvous
Review & Guest Post - Talk Supe
Review - Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff
Review - Jane Reads
Review – Born Bookish
Review - Worth Reading It?
Review - Girl of 1000 Wonders
Review - Rainy Day Ramblings
Review - Candace’s Book Blog
Review - Booked on a Feeling
Guest Post - View from the Birdhouse
Excerpt - FUONLYKNEW
Review - The Blacksheep Project
Guest Post - Curling Up With A Good Book
Review - If These Books Could Talk
Review - Whimsical Nature
Review - Writing Pearls
Review - Brooke Blogs
Excerpt - Crystal's Chaotic Confessions
Excerpt - CBY Book Club
Review - Melina’s Book Blog