The Pepper Peach Murder
by Meg Benjamin
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
Roxy Constantine is the jam queen of Shavano, Colorado, and she’s fine with it. Not that things couldn’t be better. Her social life is a bust, and she’s still recovering from a bad experience as a line cook in Denver. But things are looking up when she meets local chef Nate Robicheaux. Roxy would like to get closer to Nate, but she’s fending off the unwanted attentions of another local, Brett Holmes, who won’t take no for an answer. When Brett threatens to derail Roxy’s appearance on a national cooking show, the two have a very public fight. A few days later, Brett is found murdered in his restaurant kitchen, and suddenly Roxy’s a prime suspect. Now Roxy, Nate, and her other friends must find out the truth about Brett’s background and his murderer before the town of Shavano decides Roxy’s reign as jam queen is over for good.
It would be better for him to hear it from you than to discover it on his own.
Nate’s voice still echoed in my ears. For a moment, I wished I’d asked him to come with me. But I had to face this on my own. It was my disaster, after all.
I climbed up the stairs to the front door, pausing for a moment to check the directory on the wall inside. The chief’s office was on the first floor, right down the hall. Once I turned in that direction, there’d be no going back. I’d be committed to confessing.
I walked down the corridor, feeling like I was going to the executioner’s block.
There was a receptionist for the chief’s office along with the county attorney and the sheriff. I didn’t recognize her, which was just as well. This visit wasn’t something I wanted shared on social media.
She looked up expectantly. “Yes?”
“I need to see Chief Fowler.” I was amazed that my voice was steady.
“Do you have an appointment?”
I shook my head. “He’ll want to talk to me. Tell him it’s Roxy Constantine.”
The receptionist picked up her phone and dialed a number, turning away from me as she spoke.
Of course, I wasn’t absolutely sure Fowler would want to see me. Maybe he’d be too busy. Maybe he wasn’t interested. Maybe…
The receptionist glanced up at me. “Go on in. He’ll see you now.”
So much for hope. I opened the office door and stepped inside.
Fowler was sitting at his utilitarian, city-issued desk. He gazed up at me with that same unsmiling, inscrutable look he always seemed to wear. I wondered if he ever smiled. Probably not at people like me, people he suspected of murder.
I cleared my throat. “I have some things to tell you.”
He gestured to the chair in front of his desk. “Sit down, Ms. Constantine. I’ve been expecting you.”
Review: It’s time to sell at the local farmer’s market and that meant bringing several jars of the unique pepper peach jam. There’s no feat unturned for the “jam queen of Shavano, CO.” Roxy was going to sell out of the pepper peach if it killed her.
Story, for the most part, had a clever and witty narrative that was easy to get into. Roxy’s backstory on how she ended up in the jam business was shocking and unbelievable. Fortunately, that awful experience led her to something good, but, unfortunately, she was still suffering the traumatic effects from it. The opportunity to be broadcast on a cooking show gives Roxy the hope of possibly expanding her business. It was time to make more jam. Jam, jam, and more jam.
Although the narrative was nice and easy, it was also rather long and dramatically slowed down the story. This was supposed to be a mystery, right? A murder mystery? Well, where’s the dead body already? All Roxy talked about was jam and the people at the farmer’s market. Sure, there were some exciting scenes like the chef from her past coming back to assault her again. But, seriously, we were 10 chapters in and there was no murder. Usually, the dead body has shown up in like the first 2 chapters already. But I was getting nothing. At this point, this was starting to feel like a jip. You can only hear about jams to a certain point before it becomes redundant and stale.
Overall, this was a fairly nice read, but it just didn’t meet my expectations for a standard cozy mystery.
Rating: 3 stars
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of romance. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (all are available from Entangled Publishing). Her new cozy mystery series, Luscious Delights from Wild Rose Press, concerns a jam-making sleuth based in the mythical small town of Shavano, Colorado. Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix and the Folk trilogy from Soul Mate. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. Meg’s Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com. You can follow her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/megbenjamin/), Instagram (meg_benjamin) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The buy links for Pepper Peach Murder is https://www.amazon.com/Pepper-Murder-Luscious-Delights-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0BKYJPN22/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3PHU83N6E7I8N&keywords=meg+benjamin+pepper+peach+murder&qid=1668885185&s=books&sprefix=meg+benjamin+pepper+peach+murder%2Cstripbooks%2C105&sr=1-1
Meg Benjamin will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway