It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me.
A group of geocachers is keeping things hopping at Sweetie Pies Bakery, and Daisy is thrilled with all the business. But everything comes to a screeching halt when she finds her friend Brenda standing in the kitchen, holding a knife…and a dead body at her feet. It seems the dead man is one of three men who broke through the back door of the bakery, and stole ninety pounds of cream cheese. Who steals ninety pounds of cream cheese? Maybe someone who is trying to set a world record for the biggest cheesecake in the Virginia mountains. But the thieves left behind a clue: a red poker chip with the initials TS on the chip.
Much to Daisy’s chagrin, Rick Balsam takes an interest in the problem at the bakery. He’s a royal pain in the behind, but even she will admit that he is one fine looking man. A few days later, Daisy and Brenda find a rather large looking man standing outside the bakery, sent there to protect them by Rick, who also gives Daisy a gun hidden in a brown paper bag. She promptly shoves it under the counter and forgets about it.
Rick’s younger brother, Bobby, has other things on his mind. He’s getting married in a week to one of the geocacher organizers, Laurel. And Daisy finds herself interested in Laurel’s brother, Chris, which irritates Rick. Unfortunately, their geocache event has been canceled because of a potential deadly disease to the bats in the area of the event. During an afternoon outing with Chris, Daisy decides to follow a lead, and finds herself at a nip joint that happens to belong to Rick. Even more upsetting is learning that Chris and his friends had been thrown out of the joint over the weekend for cheating at cards. But it’s what she finds outside of the nip joint that is the most disturbing: the crates that had held the stolen cream cheese. Did Rick have something to do with the robbery?
Another break in occurs, this time at the historical society, where some old maps from the nineteenth century are stolen. Everyone is puzzled about why someone would steal some worthless old maps. But according to Henry Brent, the man who donated the maps, they aren’t worthless. They show the area as it looked shortly after the Civil War, he says. The rumors have been around for years that there is a hidden cache of silver and gold in the mountains that were hidden there during the war. But Henry says that the silver isn’t there, but in another city. Daisy has no idea what the maps have to do with the robbery at her bakery.
Brenda frantically calls Daisy a couple of days later. She’s at the bakery by herself, and someone is trying to break in. There is the sound of breaking glass before the call is disconnected. When Daisy arrives, she finds Brenda in the alley in the back, bent over their bodyguard’s body. Even more disturbing, the gun that Rick had given her is also missing.
Slowly, Daisy starts to put the pieces together. A frantic call from Bobby takes her out to the cabins near the lake, where she finds an injured Rick unconscious in Chris’ cabin. Believing that someone has kidnapped Laurel and Chris, Bobby and a reluctant Daisy trek off into the woods to look for them. But will they find what they are looking for, or will they meet an unfortunate end when they learn the truth?
This is the second book in this series by Carol Miller (Murder and Moonshine is the first), and I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful book. Ms. Miller does an excellent job of building the suspense, especially during Bobby and Daisy’s journey through the woods. The characters are well-written, and I found myself in a love/hate relationship with Rick Balsam myself (I alternated between wanting to punch his lights out, and feeling sorry for him after he gets hurt). I love how Daisy takes care of herself and her friends, yet accepts help when it is offered to her, even if it is from one of her hated enemies. This is definitely a series that I will be following closely, and I look forward to the next book in the series. Well done indeed, Ms. Miller! Bravo!
Nip of Murder is available for purchase on Amazon.