Maggie Grady was working in her Aunt Clara’s pie shop in Durham, North Carolina after losing her job. She was living high and traveling widely while working in a high-end banking position in New York City when she was falsely accused of stealing money from one of the bank’s most important clients. Losing everything, she returned to the only place she felt safe as she attempted to put her life back together.
Unfortunately, everything was not as well as expected back home. Aunt Clara was struggling with her memory, the building was getting old and rundown, and a local development company was trying to buy the pie shop property for their latest project although Aunt Clara was adamantly against selling.
Six weeks later, Lou Goldberg, Maggie’s former boss and mentor, unexpectedly showed up at the pie shop to let Maggie know he finally realized she did not embezzle the money and he knew who did. It was someone higher up on the banking food chain then Lou. Before he could reveal the culprit at a press conference the next day, he mysteriously died on the back steps of the shop. The police closed the shop for several days while they conducted an investigation.
In the meantime, a local reporter wants to help her find out who was behind the embezzlement charge and the murder of her boss. Through the process of working with Ryan to expose the culprit, Maggie learns who she can trust and who is out to betray her.
Ellie Grant is a pseudonym of the husband and wife duo behind Plum Deadly, the first book in a new cozy mystery series. The couple, Joyce and Jim Lavene, live in Durham, North Carolina and understand the draw towards southern cooking, especially pie. They put their knowledge to great use in this delicious murder mystery with a little romance thrown in for dessert. They have written several other mystery series with great success.
Crisp dialogue moves the story forward as Maggie and Aunt Clara interact with one another, and with their customers. Conversations ring true; for example, the conversation with the book club group, especially between Angela and Maggie. I can almost hear a conversation hitting too close to home causing Maggie to walk away, “Her shoulders stiff with fury….” as she continues working around the shop.
The strong plot and interesting characters set the series in motion. Cozy fans will want to keep Ellie Grant on their watch list so they can catch the next installment featuring Maggie, Aunt Clara, and a small bakery/café called Pie in the Sky.
A special thank you goes to Gallery Books for providing us with a complimentary copy of Plum Deadly for our review. If you are interested in purchasing any of the Ellie Grant mysteries, they are available at Amazon.com.