Murder on the Menu
by Fiona Leitch
A delightful British cozy mystery, Murder on the Menu takes us to the fictional town of Penstowan in Cornwall where Jodie Parker and her daughter Daisy have returned to Jodie’s hometown after years on the police force in London. Wanting to remain safe for her daughter’s sake, Jodie retrained in culinary school and plans on starting a catering business. She gets her first job (from an old friend getting married) with little notice, but is anxious to prove herself.
The case of a murdered ex-wife and a bride who may have done a runner returns Jodie to her investigative roots. As she tries to discover the who and why, Nosey (as her childhood nickname used to be) Parker meets the handsome DCI Withers who really wishes she would stay out of his investigations and crime scenes.
I enjoyed all the Britishisms. I know biscuits in England are cookies in the U.S., but terms like “Jammie Dodgers,” butty with brown sauce,” and “ponce” sent me scurrying to the Internet. I love sleuthing words!
The characters are interesting and humor in dialogue and plot is sprinkled throughout. I enjoyed the Cornish accent and word choice like “guv” and “copper;” They are stronger in some of the characters than others depending on their backgrounds. Her mum and Daisy are appropriately supportive of Jodie’s passion for police work that she has trouble leaving behind. Jodie, to the delight of Daisy, adopts a Pomeranian when its human mom is murdered. An expert at “escapology,” the white fluff ball becomes a constant companion and essential to the plot.
The plot is complicated and Jodie is good at both finding clues and deducting their meanings. Our perception of DCI Withers develops from that of an “annoying git,” to a fair and honest investigator.
The setting includes the many varied locales from the town of Penstowan to tourist campsites and from the hotel for the wedding reception to the church hall for the weekly women’s coffee group.
The next three books in the series have already been published as there was lots of time for writing in New Zealand during the lockdown of 2020. This poses a task that I look forward to handling.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Harper 360 (One More Chapter) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery
Notes: 1. #1 in the Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery Series
2. Some questionable language
Publication: February 15, 2022—Harper 360 (One More Chapter)
“This is your first major case here—definitely your first murder case; we don’t get a lot of those down this way—and you want to make a good impression by solving it quickly. But this is Cornwall. We don’t do things quickly here, and we don’t expect you to, either. We just want you to do it properly.”
“Are you all right, love?” she said, offering me a wine gum before adding with typical Cornish understatement, “That were a bit intense, weren’t it?”
I was excited about my new catering business,…but this got my adrenaline pumping in a way that making a velouté never could. I’d never been a detective, as such, but I’d always been nosey.