Jake (Jacobia) and Ellie are gearing up for a new season at Eastport, Maine's bakery, The Chocolate Moose. Since the opening of The Moose, they have been successful and are an institution. This year, however, they have competition from Choco's, another bakery nearby owned by Brad Fairway, a newcomer to Eastport. Fairway is not above undercutting the Moose's prices and spreading rumors about bad hygiene at The Moose. The opening of the annual arts festival brings matters to a head. Jake and Ellie confront Fairway about his business practices and get no satisfaction. Both women are suspects when Fairway is found dead later, especially Ellie, whose gun was the murder weapon. The State Police are zeroing in on Ellie, and the Eastport chief of police, Bob Arnold, can't seem to divert them. Even worse, Jake thinks she recognizes Fairway from the "bad old days" in New York. Is the other shoe about to drop finally? As the arts festival goes on, there are more murders and attacks on the artists, muddying the waters considerably.
I have been reading Sarah Graves' books for years, beginning with her long-running Home Repair is Homicide series. All are set in Eastport and feature the same main characters, Jake and Ellie, and their extended families and friends, with others coming in and out (quite often as victims). They are remarkably full of action for cozy mysteries, but at their heart are about friendship and the ties that bind. All the books are atmospheric, presenting Eastport very much as it is, perhaps a bit busier. Eastport was once a vast shipping center with its deep harbor. Those days are long gone.
Death by Chocolate Marshmallow Pie is another enjoyable book in the series, but in some ways has the feeling of an ending. One significant character leaves, and many plot loose ends are wrapped up. I sincerely hope not. I will miss my visits to Eastport if so.
Thanks to NetGalley.com and Kensington Books for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
RATING 4 Stars
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