Publication Date: October 26, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 293pp
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Livia J. Washburn on the WEB: website, blog, twitter
Books in the Series: A Peach of a Murder, Murder by the Slice, The Christmas Cookie Killer, Killer Crab Cakes, The Pumpkin Muffin Murder, The Gingerbread Bump Off
Excerpt from The Gingerbread Bump Off (Choose the Look Inside Feature)
As Christmas approaches in Weatherford, Texas, Phyllis Newsom is decorating her house in preparation for the Jingle Bell Tour. The last thing she expects is that one of her ceramic gingerbread men will be used to commit murder...
When her friend Georgia Hallerbee asks Phyllis to have her house featured in the annual Christmas Jingle Bell Tour of Homes, Phyllis is equally flattered and flustered. She already has a bridal shower on Christmas Eve and a wedding on New Year's Eve to prepare for, and she's been baking gingerbread cookies as if they're going out of style. But like her tasty treats, she rises to the occasion.
Before the tour can even get under way, Phyllis hears a crash on her front porch and makes a gruesome discovery Someone has broken a decoration gingerbread man over Georgia's head. Santa's naughty list just got longer - and with the police baffled, it's up to Phyllis to catch a half-baked killer...
Livia J. Washburn brings readers a great holiday themed cozy just in time for the Christmas season. Washburn's "Fresh Baked Mystery" series features a cast of senior citizens who prove that life doesn't end at 40. The Gingerbread Bump Off is the sixth book in this delightful series that dishes up some great recipes along with a stellar whodunit, that will have readers baffled.
This is a series that I have been watching since I was first introduced to cozie's by Lori over at Escape with Dollycas. Livia J. Washburn has a great sense of community and small town involvement. Weatherford, Texas is home to quirky characters and some wonderful holiday traditions, including the Jingle Bell Tour of Homes, which sets the stage for The Gingerbread Bump Off. I think this is such a cool idea, I wish we had something like that in or town, there are some remarkably beautiful homes here, though I should hope a murder wouldn't be involved, LOL!
Washburn's intrepid amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom is such a gem. She's a retired teacher, an avid baker, and a senior with some attitude. Readers will fall in love with her spunky demeanor and her zest for life. She and her friends definitely show that life doesn't have go down hill when you get older. Phyllis' friend and roommate Eve is getting married to a man she met online. So Phyllis is already up to ears in preparations when her other pal Georgia asks her to be a last minute addition to the Jingle Bell Tour. When Georgia ends up dead, it's up to Phyllis to figure out who did it, along with a little help from her friends. Washburn has created a cast of characters that remains fresh and full of fun even after six books. This one is one of my favorites of the series.
One of the best parts of the book is the that extra section readers find at the back of most cozies. Whatever the theme of the cozy may be, whether it's sewing, knitting or in this case baking, there is always a bonus section featuring recipes, decorating tips, or what have you. I love that about cozies and when recipes are involved I always like to try at least one from the book, so I can say.... "You've gotta try this!" I got busy and tried two from this book, the "Chocolate Mint Coffee Spoons" (very creative) and the "Winter Cranberry Cider" (yummy).
Washburn gives her sleuth plenty of suspects and a bunch of good motives. This one was a little hard to figure out, which is good and I was completely surprised, she made me think every single one of them could have done it, how was I to choose? This is a great series for beginning cozy readers to start out with. It's light, it's fun and it's good clean writing. Perfect for younger readers as well, my daughters (11 & 13) love'em!
Here's your chance to win!
(P.S. a little birdy told me that Dollycas is giving away two copies of this same book, and a copy of the previous book in the series, The Pumpkin Muffin Murder. Check it out! Gives you a few more chances to win!
The Gingerbread Bump Off is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Under the names Livia J. Washburn and L.J. Washburn, Livia Reasoner has been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery, western, romance, and historical novels for almost thirty years. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories.
In addition to writing, Livia enjoys photography, arts, crafts, and cooking, but she also loves having a pile of lumber, a circular saw, and a building project. An accomplished carpenter, she has framed houses and built more sets of bookshelves than she can remember, some of which have been filled with the books she's written. A good day for her includes having time to create something new in the kitchen, on a story, and in the garage.
The publisher is offering one copy of The Gingerbread Bump Off by Livia J. Washburn.
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