Women have always worked. Whether or not we've earned a paycheck, we've always worked. The world couldn't have functioned all these millennia if half of the human population sat idle. I'm not saying all women worked throughout history, but when the titled ladies of yesteryear had their tea and crumpets… someone had to bring the tea, someone had to make the crumpets. Heck, someone had to wash the ladies' clothes, brush their hair, dust the furniture on which they daintily sat!
Women have always worked.
My career path to "mystery author" has been a winding one. I've had jobs in a vineyard and on a cruise ship, in a law office and a television studio. In every instance, the choice to accept the job and the choice to leave the job were mine. Once upon a time, that might not have been the case. Once upon a time, I might have been an indentured servant.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, a huge percentage of immigrants to the American colonies were indentured servants, many of them women, and most of them under the age of 25. These young people didn't have a choice about what kind of work they wanted to do. Their contracts were sold to whomever needed labor, and they were legally bound to work until the term of indenture ended, typically about five years. If they lived that long. Frequently, they weren't treated very well.
I love writing the Bibliophile Mysteries for many reasons, and one of the biggest is the opportunity to research areas of history that fascinate me. The novels are modern-day mysteries, but each one is linked to the past by the appearance of a rare and precious book for heroine Brooklyn Wainwright to restore. Brooklyn is one of the premiere bookbinders in the world. She also has a penchant for discovering murder victims and, ultimately, bringing their killers to justice.
In A Cookbook Conspiracy, available now in paperback and ebook, Brooklyn is asked to restore the 240-year-old journal of Obedience Green, a young English woman who came to the American colonies as an indentured servant. Brooklyn feels a connection to the long dead young woman. Obedience didn't want to be a cook. She didn't even know how to cook. But it wasn't her choice. Her contract was sold to a general who needed a cook and so… she was stuck.
After Brooklyn finishes restoring the journal, her sister Savannah presents it to the bad boy celebrity chef she used to date. A few hours later, he's dead, and Savannah is found with his body.
Brooklyn knows that her sister didn't murder her ex-boyfriend, but if she can't prove it, her sister could go to prison for a very long time. Searching for clues, she turns again to Obedience's journal, and discovers that a woman who lived more than two hundred years ago could very well be connected to a twenty-first century murder.
Women have always worked. And sometimes, they worked in mysterious ways…
Looking back at your family and your ancestors, do you think you came from the "ladies who drink tea and eat crumpets" side of things, or do you think your forebears were workers?
A Cookbook Conspiracy (Bibliophile Mystery - Book 7) by Kate Carlisle
Publication Date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Kate Carlisle on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
1. Homicide in Hardcover
2. If Books Could Kill
3. The Lies that Bind
4. Murder Under Cover
5. One Book in the Grave
6. Peril in Paperback
7. A Cookbook Conspiracy
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, A Cookbook Conspiracy, courtesy of the author's website.
It’s a recipe for disaster when bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is asked to restore an antique cookbook….
Brooklyn’s sister Savannah and her former culinary school classmates all became successful chefs, especially Savannah’s ex-boyfriend Baxter Cromwell, who went on to culinary superstardom. When he invites the old gang to the gala opening of his new restaurant in San Francisco, Savannah asks Brooklyn to restore a rare antique cookbook as a present for him.
The night they all gather, Baxter is found dead, the cookbook has disappeared, and Savannah becomes the suspect du jour. But Brooklyn knows her sister is innocent, and there are plenty of old grudges simmering among this backstabbing bunch. Now she’ll have to turn up the heat on the investigation before Chef Savannah finds herself slinging hash in a prison cafeteria.
Kate Carlisle returns to her Bibliophile Mystery series with A Cookbook Conspiracy. Readers who love food, as well as, books will be especially happy with this installment. With a combination of history, mystery and culinary craftiness this book offers a little something for everyone. The restoration of a valuable cookbook takes center stage and lands Brooklyn's sister, Savannah in some hot water. A great new whodunit to add to any readers collection.
What I liked:
Being a voracious reader for practically all my life makes me really enjoy books about books. The Bibliophile Mysteries satisfy that part of me that loves to learn about books, libraries, collections, and restoration. Carlisle generally uses a particular book in each of her mysteries to draw the reader in and lend authenticity to each story she creates. In her latest book, it's a very valuable cookbook that needs to be restored and which plays a big part in the murder that Brooklyn needs to solve. I loved the information about the book and where it came from, the secret code that provides a lot of evidence and all things related to the restoration, however there was a little less of that in this book than usual for a Bibliophile mystery.
Kate Carlisle likes to add a bit of history to her mysteries and that always entertains me well because I am a history buff myself. Using the 240 year old cookbook also gave this book a different avenue of interest. Since Brooklyn's sister is a chef, and she is the one having the cookbook restored readers get to learn a lot about the behind scenes culinary world as well. I thought this was a great way to add new interest in the series and I think new and old readers a like will enjoy this part of the book.
Baxter Cornwall was a real piece of work, or so I think. Readers don't get to understand the true evil of this villain because he doesn't have any dialogue in the book. He is killed very early on and the reader is left to find out how bad he was and what he was capable of through the eyes of other characters in the book. It was hard to form a connection to a character who was such a huge part of the story, but is not really present in the book. His connection to Savannah carried that part of the story, but I found myself wanting a little more where the villain was concerned.
The mystery aspects of the story were quite well written. Carlisle used the cookbook to create a very intriguing situation in which Baxter is killed and the 240 year old cookbook holds the key to figuring out a current murder. I loved the combination of the past meeting the present in such a dramatic way. Carlisle never disappoints when it comes to keeping the reader in the dark. I didn't figure this one out until Brooklyn did.
What I didn't like:
I felt there were a few problems with this one but as usual they may just be my own hangups and not the general consensus. So take it with a grain of salt and read it and find out what you think. This book was more centered on the culinary elements than the book restoration and bibliophile aspects the series is known for. The villain was a bit uninspiring because the reader did not get to know him and why he was evil. There were also parts of the story that felt a piecemeal, or stitched together, including the visit from Brooklyn and Savannah's parents. It felt like it was only added so that the quirky family was present and not central to the story.
There were good points and bad points to this one. I loved the theme and idea behind the cookbook and the way it was represented on the story, but I wanted more relation to books and restoring them than to chefs and culinary interests. The combination of mystery and history really works, but the details were not there for this one. Not a bad book, but not my favorite of the series either.
A Cookbook Conspiracy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag.
About the Author:
A native Californian, New York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle worked in television for many years before turning to writing. A lifelong fascination with the art and craft of bookbinding led her to write the Bibliophile Mysteries featuring Brooklyn Wainwright. She is the author of Homicide in Hardcover, If Books Could Kill, The Lies That Bind, Murder Under Cover, One Book in the Grave, Peril in Paperback, and The Book Stops Here.
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