Having caught her husband cheating on her, Ella Mae LeFaye leaves him, the cooking school she was attending, and New York City to head back home to Havenwood, Georgia, and the loving arms of her aunts. Ella Mae has always loved to bake, and when she opens the Charmed Pie Shoppe things seem to be looking up. Well... except for arch rival Loralyn Gaynor who seems to love making trouble. When Loralyn's fiance is killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin, Ella Mae is Suspect #1 and is forced to take her eye off the pies in her ovens long enough to clear her name.
Pies and Prejudice should be every foodie's delight. The descriptions of Ella Mae's baking at the beginning of this book had my mouth watering and my memories firmly in the past when, as a young child, I would watch my grandmother bake her own wonderful pies. Although my grandmother's pies were good enough to convince their eaters that they'd died and gone to heaven, Ella Mae's pies are indeed magic. Whatever mood she's in while she's making her delectable concoctions is transferred to the baking. If she's feeling romantic, the folks who eat those pies go looking for love in all imaginable places. Adams uses this device to infuse quite a bit of humor into the book. (The romance is provided by Ella Mae's old high school crush, Hugh Dylan.)
I wish I could say that my enchantment with this book lasted through to the last page, but it didn't. The mystery and its resolution took the backseat to Ella Mae and the self-discovery of her talents and those of her family. Although this is important to the book-- and to setting up future books in the series-- it made the mystery feel rushed, and the way the identity of the killer is revealed is a letdown. Since so many clues to what's really going on with Ella Mae and her family are given, it's easy to put the puzzle pieces together, so I felt as though more emphasis on the mystery would have made for a stronger book.
Don't get me wrong. Ellery Adams is one of my very favorite cozy writers, and I greatly enjoyed the characters and setting of this book. I just feel as though someone sneaked a strawberry* into my cherry pie.
*I'm allergic to strawberries.
Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams
Berkley Prime Crime © 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Cozy/Paranormal Mystery, #1 Charmed Pie Shoppe mystery
Source: Paperback Swap