Mousse and Murder


From MeezCarrie:

Alaska is near the top of my travel bucket list, so I always love traveling there vicariously on the pages of a good book. There aren’t a ton of books set there, though, so whenever I find one that looks halfway interesting I snatch it up. Mousse and Murder did not disappoint, and I’m looking forward to more books in this series!

Along with spotlighting the beauty and quirks of Alaska & its residents, Mousse and Murder introduces an intriguing murder mystery and an equally intriguing cast of characters to match. I really liked Charlotte (“Charlie”) and the narrative from her perspective. Her cat-cam cracked me up, and Benny the cat lived up well to his role as the loyal pet. The romantic potential between Charlotte and Chris-the-reporter was light enough to not annoy readers who don’t want any lovey-dovey stuff in their cozy mysteries but present enough to appease readers like me who think any story is better with a little romance. Trooper steals the show, however, in my opinion. The somewhat-crusty-but-also-wryly-hilarious state police officer is definitely my fave recurring cast member so far.

The mystery itself seems to be fairly straightforward at first but in fact has many different layers once all is said and done. The more that Charlie & Chris uncover about Oliver, the more suspects come to light. And while I figured it out before they did, it was still well-plotted and cleverly-crafted.

Bottom Line: Cute and well-layered, Mousse and Murder is a great start to a new cozy mystery series! Trooper is hands down my favorite character but all of the main cast members are easily likable. Including Benny the wonder cat! The mystery gets more complicated at every turn, with new dimensions – and new suspects – and the barest hint of potential romance adds other layers too. Engaging & entertaining, Mousse and Murder belongs on every cozy mystery fan’s to read list!

From Carla:

Charlie Cooke has returned to her hometown of Elkview, Alaska, to take over her mom’s diner. They are famous for their Bear Claws, so when she wants to add chocolate the recipe that they have used for the last twenty years, the chef blows up and stomps out. When he does not show up for his next shift, she just assumes he is still upset with her. Unfortunately, that is not the case and he is found dead a few hours later, murdered. After contacting her mother, who is on a cruise, she and Chris, a local reporter, begin an investigation with the approval of the local Trooper. As they begin to ask questions and interview people, they uncover secrets that are shocking to everyone.

This is the first book in a new series and I am looking forward to more. I loved the setting of rural, wintry Alaska as well as the diner. Being in a small town often gives us the opportunity to get to know not only the main protagonist, but others in the town, including some quirky characters. Charlie, is easy to like and someone I would love to have as a friend. She’s witty, hardworking, family-oriented, smart, loyal and a great boss. I really liked the chemistry between her and Chris and thought they made a great team. I would love to see their relationship develop into something more. The secondary characters were also wonderful and added much to the story. Of course the star of the story is Eggs Benedict aka. Benny, Charlie’s cat. I had figured out the culprit, but was not sure of the motive. The dialogue was great, especially between Charlie and Chris. The story was well-plotted and developed. The take-down was wonderful and I loved the part Benny played in it. Overall, this was a fun, interesting cozy mystery that started this series off with a bang. I definitely recommend this one to cozy mystery lovers.

From Christy:

I really enjoyed reading Mousse and Murder and not just for the delightful setting. The main characters are well developed, and I even felt that I was at least acquainted with the side characters. I love Charlie because she is a good friend, a good daughter, and a good boss. She’s got a stubborn streak, but don’t we all? I admire her determination even though it gets her into some sticky predicaments. One of those sticky predicaments is that she is very briefly considered a suspect in the murder of her diner’s head chef. She and Oliver have butted heads in the past…and right before he’s murdered.

Chris, a local journalist, went to high school with Charlie, but they lost touch over the years. He is after a good story, but when he and Charlie start investigating the murder, they start to become close. He is funny, thoughtful, smart, and kind. What’s not to love?

Annie (Charlie’s BFF), Trooper (yep, he’s a state trooper), and Charlie’s mom are also great characters. Annie talks a lot, Trooper actually accepts help from people (since Alaska has so few police officers), and Charlie’s mom is a loving homebody. Though you might think you know whodunit, beware of red herrings. I really enjoyed this cozy mystery and can’t wait to visit Elkview, Alaska again!

From Brianne:

What a perfect and brilliant start to a great new series! There is a wonderful sense of anticipation about beginning a new series and this one was no exception. I’m a great fan of cozy mysteries so when I saw Mousse and Murder by author Elizabeth Logan, being launched, I knew I had to read it.

In this cozy-style mystery, Chef Charlie Cooke, thirty-three, has returned to her hometown of the bustling and touristy Elkview, Alaska, after spending time in San Francisco, to take over her mother’s restaurant, the Bear Claw Diner. But there’s trouble from the off, when her plans to change the menu and some of the recipes are received with distaste by the Head Chef, Paris trained and hothead Oliver Whitestone, 50. They argue about the chocolate bear claw ingredients, which results in Oliver taking the recipe from Charlie and shredding it in front of all of the staff. Shortly after, Oliver doesn’t show up for his shift at the Bear Claw and is found dead… leaving Charlie as the prime and only suspect in the case.

In the opening chapter, we are introduced to enthusiastic Charlie who although pretty savvy, has never done any sleuthing before. She decides to play amateur detective to clear her name, and help out the local police, namely Alaska State Trooper Cody Graham (known only as ‘Trooper’). Not lacking any helpers, including local reporter and former classmate, Chris Doucette, I immediately warmed to Charlie, finding her ebullience, confidence and intuitiveness very refreshing.

Mousse and Murder was certainly a fun cozy for me and I loved the inclusion of Charlie’s tabby cat, Eggs Benedict (Benny). The Alaskan setting was well portrayed with fascinating descriptions of the locale and relaxed way of life. The plot was well thought-out and I very much appreciated Elizabeth Logan’s superb and varied characterization, even though an odd few of the characters weren’t particularly personable. Being the first book in a new series, the reader gets to know the main characters pretty well, but there is still plenty of room for growth. Apart from Charlie herself, and of course, Benny, there was an assortment of friends, regulars and employees of the Bear Claw, adding another dimension of humour to the story that had me cracking a smile or two.

Elizabeth Logan writes with such flair and an easy style. There was a plethora of suspects to choose from, who might have had the motive to kill and I enjoyed the way in which Charlie and her entourage evaluated the information acquired from their investigative poking around.

All in all, this was a story that held my attention well and I loved that things came together for a great resolution. Being a culinary cozy, there are some delicious sounding recipes, too. I am eagerly anticipating what Elizabeth Logan has in store for Charlie and her sleuthing buddies in her next book in the series, Fishing for Trouble.