Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran is the 3rd book in the Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series.
In the parking lot of the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Book Corner, I stood by the side of a sky blue van with oversized white letters advertising the “Gulf Coast Cab and Van” etched on the center door panel. I mentally counted the members of the Cool Reads/Warm Climate Book Club as they settled in. All six were present. My BFF and business partner, Bridgy Mayfield, was busily stowing thermoses of sweet tea and pastry boxes in the carrier right behind the driver.
Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield are at it again in Read to Death at the Read ‘Em and Eat Café. This time, they take the “Cool Reads/Warm Climate” book club on their annual field trip to the Edison-Ford estate for an outing, with their favorite driver, Oscar, at the helm. It’s a wonderful trip, and Oscar makes sure to tell them all about the history of the estate—with stories about Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone.
But, when they get back from the trip, Oscar is found dead. The book club members are immediately considered suspects, and so are Sassy and Bridgy. So, they must figure out how and why Oscar was killed.
One of the many things that I love about this series is the fun storylines about the book clubs that meet at the café. Not only do you have the book club field trip at the beginning of the book, but there’s also the Potluck Book Club—a group of women who focus on cookbooks and The Books Before Breakfast Club. In Read to Death, The Potluck Book Club has trouble deciding which book to read. The proprietors make question mark shaped cookies and other great bookish snacks for the clubs. This makes all the books in the Read ‘Em and Eat series fun book club picks.
Of course, there are real recipes in Read to Death, including “Old Man and the Sea Chowder” and “Drunken Raisin Scones.”
Because Moran’s novel is set in a bookstore, there all kinds of references to books throughout the plot. Sassy and Bridgy are recommending books to customers throughout the story, like any great small bookstore proprietors. It’s a great way to see your To Be Read pile to double in size.
The waterside setting of the books makes the series great vacation reading.
By a stroke of good fortune we rented an apartment on the fifth floor of the Beausoleil. Our patio and most of our windows overlooked the Gulf of Mexico, the beach and the barrier islands stretching up the coast of Florida. Sanibel, home to the Ding Darling National Wild- life Refuge, is a haven for birders and folks who collect shells. Pine Island is a fishing mecca. North Captiva, Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa and other lush islands continued northward. We were forever enthralled by the view.
Moran’s characters are filled with fun—from bookstore owners Sassy and Bridgy to Bridgy’s mother and quirky Aunt Ophie to the gossiping book club members to Mugsy Danaher, who helps them learn about Oscar’s past.
If you like cozy mysteries that are well-written and plotted with fun characters, then Read to Death is for you. While this book is the third in the Read ‘Em and Eat series, you can jump right in with Read to Death. Or, start at beginning so you can enjoy them all! I’m looking forward to the next installment of this excellent series.
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Deborah Lacy runs a blog called Mystery Playground. Her short stories have appeared in Mystery Weekly and in the upcoming Blood on The Bayou anthology from the world’s largest mystery convention, Bouchercon.