Pizza Pie Puzzler by Celia Kinsey

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Pizza Pie Puzzler: A Felicia’s Food Truck One Hour Mystery by Celia Kinsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

After business at her food truck drops off considerably, Felicia hears that a competing food truck has opened up nearby, selling pizzas. But the funny pricing scheme for the tasty pies is only the beginning of strange goings-on at the new truck in Pizza Pie Puzzler by author Celia Kinsey.

Yes, I’m a return customer to Felicia’s Food Truck Mysteries. I needed a quick something I was positive I’d like, and this third read in the series didn’t let me down. It’s fun to see repeat characters show up, and this mystery is a little twisty, not something with just a sudden, overly basic solution merely because the story isn’t a long one.

The only thing I didn’t get a kick out of was the ad for another series in the middle of the book. One of the perks of reading is that it’s commercial-free entertainment, and interrupting a story to pitch a different one is an unnecessary distraction. I’m less likely to buy a product if the ads about it annoy me.

Anyhow! As for this series I’m already reading—yup, I’m looking forward to Book Four.

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Here’s my review of the first of Felicia’s Food Truck Mysteries, Fit to Be French Fried.

 

Hamburger Heist by Celia Kinsey

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Hamburger Heist by Celia Kinsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

When a masked robber holds up Felicia’s cook at her food truck, Felicia is determined to find out who the culprit is—and to keep the wrong suspect from doing the time for it in Hamburger Heist by author Celia Kinsey.

After enjoying the first of Felicia’s Food Truck Mysteries, I had no doubts about reading this second one. It’s an upbeat, one-sitting kind of cozy with a good number of twists for its length, splashes of humor, and even a bit of (unrequited?) love in the air.

Now, unless I missed something, the mystery does rely on too-convenient coincidence at one point. Perhaps there’s a name for it: when it seems like late pieces of new information could have been made-up on the spot to easily tie up a part of the plot, as there wasn’t some hint or glimpse of that information earlier in the story. But that’s only a minor issue overall.

And, as I’m fond of repeating, I do appreciate finding mysteries sometimes that don’t revolve around somebody being murdered. There are more kinds of cases to investigate in life! I’m looking forward to going on to the third book in this series.

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Here’s my review of the next of Felicia’s Food Truck Mysteries, Pizza Pie Puzzler.

 

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

All ready to get deep into a historical mystery, I picked up Maisie Dobbs by author Jacqueline Winspear. And in a strange turn of events, after getting more than 200 pages through it, I can’t say I ever got a good grasp on it.

Maybe it’s because my expectations were indeed built up to read a mystery, but the book has relatively little of that. The book cover and the initial dive into the case and investigation are essentially a smoke screen, suggesting something that only takes up a few pages of the novel before the story goes in an altogether different direction. And that different direction, for maybe more than half the novel, is the (back)story of Maisie, a coming-of-age and wartime tale that doesn’t seem to have much to do with the mystery—whatever the mystery is, which must pick up somewhere in the final third of the book.

As for the coming-of-age and wartime tale, it gave me mild enjoyment and an emotional tug or two, but I often found it to be slow, cursory, and predictable, with nothing that really stood out to me. With only about 70 more pages to go (dense pages with rather tiny type), I just ran out of steam. Hence, whatever the real mystery is in this book, for me it shall remain a mystery.

But I do like Maisie: a smart, compassionate, discerning woman who maybe could use a compelling flaw or two to make her character more interesting, but at least she isn’t syrupy or hyper-angelic. So while I didn’t finish this book, I do plan on trying at least one more in the series. With the extended introduction of Maisie’s character and background taken care of in this first novel, perhaps a following one will be heavier on the mystery side.

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Maisie Dobbs Series

 

Fit to Be French Fried by Celia Kinsey

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Fit to Be French Fried by Celia Kinsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Mrs. Dunn, a resident of a retirement community, isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite person, particularly on account of the loud, pesky parrot she keeps around. When Mrs. Dunn collapses one day after leaving Felicia’s food truck, most everyone assumes the older woman just had a stroke or something, but Felicia suspects there’s something shadier to it in Fit to Be French Fried by author Celia Kinsey.

I was specifically looking for short reads when I ran into this cozy mystery I’d guess is a novelette.

While liking the fun, clever title and the quirkiness suggested by the equally fun book cover (which could totally make me hungry!), I checked the blurb to see if it would mention Felicia stumbling upon a dead body. Nothing at all against readers who enjoy quirky cozies about murder, but it’s hard for me to fully enjoy the humor and quirkiness of a tale when it’s centered on human life having been snuffed out.

That’s just me, so I like finding murderless mysteries when I can. And yes, this one delivers on humor and an entertaining plot, but it’s also not utterly silly. Though I was taken aback by an image stuck in the middle of the story advertising an unrelated series by the author (an ad right there?), and I had some issues with the verb tense choices in one scene and a few other grammar and punctuation errors in the book, those weren’t enough to lessen my enjoyment of this quick and satisfying read.

I’m looking forward to reading this author again.

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Here’s my review of Book Two in the series, Hamburger Heist.