Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery (Book #1)

By Ellery Adams

Berkley Prime Crime, July 2012 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-25140-9

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(February, 2014)

Ella Mae LeFaye left Havenwood, Georgia, with big dreams, high hopes, and mad love for Sloan Kitteridge. Seven years later, she's come home, dreams crushed, heart-broken, and very, very mad at Sloan and his cheating ways.

She finds a warm welcome from her aunts, Delia, Verena, and Cecilia, and the family housekeeper, Reba, who had helped raise her. Her mother, the fourth LeFaye sister, was too busy being a socialite to pay much attention to Ella Mae as a child, but she seems ready to make up for that, offering Ella Mae a home in her renovated carriage house.

While she is thinking of what to do next with her shattered life, she discovers a hidden talent: she has a heavenly way with pastry. She finds out that all the LeFaye women have some special talent, and hers is the ability to imbue her pies with a special bit of magic unique to each customer. Her mother and aunts help her to channel that talent by chipping in to buy the Charmed Pie Shoppe, and Ella Mae knows she is home again.

There are some bumps along the road. Sloan begs her to come back to New York, but refuses to make any changes in his behavior. Her childhood nemesis takes up right where they left off in high school, threatening to ruin Ella Mae's fledgling business. And, just for good measure, she is accused of murder. On the bright side, she hits it off with a handsome fireman who happens to be her secret crush all through school.

This is the first in the very charming Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series. The town of Havenwood and its residents are engaging. The plot, which involves the lofty world of horse racing and its darker side, is well-done, with plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings. One thing I did wonder: Ella Mae's last name comes from her mother, and makes her a true LeFaye woman, but there is no mention of who her father was or why she did not take his last name. Perhaps this will be explained in time. The second book in the series, PECAN PIES AND ALIBIS, is now available. Ms. Adams also writes the Books by the Bay Mystery series.

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