Title: A Cornish Recipe for Murder (A Nosey Parker Mystery #5)
Author: Fiona Leitch
Published on: 18 August 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A Cornish Recipe for Murder is the fifth book in Fiona Leitch’s Nosey Parker Mystery series.
A Popular TV baking contest – The Best of British Baking Roadshow is coming to Penstowan. Jodie ‘Nosy’ Parker is one of the contestants. Well, she was unaware of her participation until Nathan came home with an envelope in hand. Seeing the envelope, Daisy (Jodie’s daughter) and Shirley (Jodie’s mother) make ‘excuses’ to leave the two ‘alone’. Finally, the truth is out – they have enrolled (yes, it was a joint effort but Nathan was made the fall guy) Jodie in the Baking Roadshow and she will be one of the five participants who might make it to the next round i.e. from county to national level.
On her first day at the challenge, she meets her fellow participants – a retired teacher, an anesthetist, a homemaker and a grumpy man. Well, I say grumpy because he’s only interesting in winning the contest and not in making small talk (like introducing himself) with his fellow participants.
Russel Lang’s alter ego Barbara – a drag queen – is hosting the show. When a production assistant ‘accidentally’ tears Barbara’s dress, Jodie notices the tension between the two men. As the participants gather post lunch for the decorating and judging of first round, the production assistant is nowhere to be seen. Nathan and his team have arrived at the set and Jodie knows something’s wrong. He announces that there has been a death on the premises and everyone will be questioned by the police – including participants.
I am a huge fan of this series and have been following the story from the start. Quirky characters, scenic setting (Cornwall), excellent storytelling, a lot of delicious food, a murder mystery that keeps one guessing till the end and whole lotta fun!
The story begins with Nathan arriving at Jodie’s doorstep. The two are a couple now. At the beginning of the series, we readers were told of two prospective partners for Jodie – Tony, her best friend since school (and her first boyfriend) and DCI Nathan Withers, a local detective. Jodie and Tony decided to remain friends forever. Nathan and Jodie met at a crime scene and after solving three crimes together, they are now a couple.
So, Nathan tells Jodie that he enrolled her for The Best of British Baking Roadshow. Jodie argues she’s a chef and not a baker. But Jodie does make a mean cake or two. And she’s trained to be a chef so baking would be a piece of cake, right?
On her first day at the set, she meets her fellow participants. Except for Martin, the rest of the lot turn out to be friendly and nice. The host of the show is a drag queen named Barbara. Jodie notices a simmering tension between Barbara and Harry (production assistant) and it bother her. Post lunch, the rest of the team mates again for the judging while Harry is nowhere to be seen. He’s found dead and the police are called in.
As the story proceeds, we see Jodie and Nathan come up with a list of suspects. Barbara is one of the main suspects as Jodie witnessed Harry purposely ruining Barbara’s dress and sniggering. Jodie does not taken into consideration that the cream topping that she made for her first challenge went missing from the bench. But then, something else happens.
Jodie divides her time between baking and sleuthing. Oh yes, our Nosey Parker cannot keep her nose out of somebody else’s business. In fact, Nathan and Matt had a bet – when they arrive at the set, Jodie will be the first one to ask a question. And it so happened that when the detectives arrived at the set, Jodie was the first one to say ‘What’s happened?’
It is not easy to juggle between baking and sleuthing – both take time and effort, you see. Our Jodie might not have hopes in winning the contest but she must try her best and not get eliminated. Elimination means losing her only access to crime scene and suspects.
We also have some development in Nathan and Jodie’s relationship – at the beginning of the story, we are told Nathan spends most of his nights at her place. *wink* Shirley and Barbara bond over high heels and bunions while Daisy is being her usual sweet-self.
Suspects are plenty and so are the red herrings. If you are planning to don your detective hat and try to guess the killer’s identity before Jodie and Nathan could, I recommend you to do otherwise. You don’t want to end up guessing the wrong person as the perp, would you?
Since the theme of this story is the baking contest, we readers are in for a drool-worthy time. Oh, all the delicious cakes that Jodie and the participants bake. The recipe for Jodie’s Rich Cornish Fruitcake with Saffron and Orange is given at the end of the book and I cannot wait to try it!!!
I absolutely love Fiona Leitch’s storytelling. The characters, especially the Parker fam (all females) – Shirley, Jodie, Daisy and Germaine(the dog) are super quirky and cool. We also see Tony in the story – and we are told of some development in his personal life. The ending is simply fantastic. Nathan and Jodie make plans to… spend a quiet evening but a shocking new development ends up with both of them making a plan to catch the killer red-handed.
Wait, that’s not how the story ends. We have another twist. Nothing to do with the murder, though. I am curious to see how this plays out for the recurring characters in the next book. Fingers crossed.
If you are looking for quirky, absolutely engrossing and entertaining cozy mystery, I highly recommend you to give A Cornish Recipe for Murder by Fiona Leitch a try.
I received an ARC from One More Chapter and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.