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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • A solid start to a new series!

    Charlie Cooke has returned to her hometown of Elkview, Alaska, to take over her mom's diner. She wants to make changes to the menu, but her chef is completely against it and two get into a heated argument. When he is found dead a few hours later, she immediately becomes the main suspect. Charlie becomes determined to find the real killer and teams up with local journalist and former classmate, Chris Doucette. Together, they uncover some shocking secrets about the chef Charlie thought she knew. This is the first book in Elizabeth Logan's An Alaskan Diner Mystery series. I thought it was a solid start to a new series. I loved the rural, wintry Alaska setting, and the diner atmosphere. Our main character, Charlie, is easy to like. She's witty, hardworking, family-oriented, and a great boss. I really liked the chemistry between her and Chris and thought they made a great sleuthing team. I would love to see their flirty banter develop into something more. I also liked Annie, Tropper, and Charlie's mom. The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing throughout the story. I was unable to figure out the culprit's identity, so the reveal came as a surprise to me. I loved the role Charlie's cat, Eggs Benedict, played in taking down the killer. Overall, this was a light, enjoyable mystery and I look forward to the second book. Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Wanted more character development...

    I always enjoy the anticipation of starting a new cozy series. To find out if the characters will become friends that I want to continue getting to know, to read about a new setting or hobby, and to see if I can solve the mystery before it’s resolved. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan (pen name for Camille Minichino, who writes a bunch of other cozy series under various names) really had the description and history of Alaska going on, but as for the characters and mystery, not so much. I did really enjoy getting to know Alaska more and to read the beautiful descriptions of the state. Although sometimes, it felt like Logan was just listing facts about Alaska and not incorporating it into the book seamlessly. And the diner, along with the recipes and diner lingo, was another great addition to the cozy. I also really enjoyed the cat, Benny, and how Charlie had her house set up electronically to interact with Benny throughout the day. I thought this detail was spot on for so many people and their pets with the work heavy life many people lead. As far as the characters go, they were nice people, but no one really stood out to me as someone I would want to befriend or even get to know more. And the workers at the diner didn’t really have much to differentiate them from each other. They were all just there, being nice and taking over running the diner when Charlie was off chasing clues. I did really like that the sheriff deputized Charlie and a few more characters (even if it is farfetched), instead of the local law enforcement continually telling the main character to stay out of the investigation. And I also liked that Charlie’s mom and friends were encouraging and helped investigate. It gets old fast when everyone is constantly nagging on the sleuth to stop sleuthing! As far as the mystery itself went, I thought it was very easy to figure out the murderer, even though I only had half of the motivation correct. Logan does leave some red herrings laying around and gives the reader a couple of twists, which is always welcomed in a murder mystery. If it had just been the easy to figure out mystery alone, I would have given the book a higher rating, but with none of the characters really engaging me, I can’t. I would try book two in An Alaskan Diner Mystery series, Fishing for Trouble, which comes out November 2020, to see if the characters get more depth to them, and to read more about Alaska, the diner, and Benny.

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  • A lighthearted cozy mystery!

    Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan has Charlotte “Charlie” Cooke running the Bear Claw Diner in Elkview, Alaska after her mother’s retirement. Charlie wants to add a chocolate bear claw to the menu, but it has head chef, Oliver Whitestone up in arms. They have a terrible row in front of customers and then Oliver storms off. Trooper Cory Graham arrives later in the day to question Charlie because Oliver was found dead near his home. Charlie is asked by her mother, Evelyn to work with Trooper Graham to uncover Oliver’s killer. Mousse and Murder is the debut novel in An Alaskan Diner Mystery series. I thought it was unique to set a cozy mystery in Alaska. I enjoyed the descriptions of Elkview which is a small Alaskan tourist town. I thought the author captured the Alaskan weather and lifestyle including the wildlife ingredients they utilize (like moose meat). Charlie is a warm and likeable main character. She works hard, is a good friend and daughter, and a cat lover. Charlie knows trivia and fun facts about Alaska. It was enjoyable learning more about our fiftieth state. Charlie grew up in the town and is known by the locals. Her best friend, Annie Jensen owns Jensen’s Elkview Inn. I like how Charlie uses technology to interact with her cat, Eggs Benedict aka Benny during the workday. She can talk to Benny, see how the cat is doing, how much he has eaten, and even play with Benny using a laser. It is cute that she confides in Benny. There is a diverse cast of secondary characters from Trooper Graham, Chris Doucette, Annie, diner staff, and diner regulars. Oliver’s murder had a small handful of suspects, good clues and a red herring or two. I would have liked to have gotten to know Oliver before he was murdered. While I was able to identify the killer early in the story, I did not know why. I joined Charlie and her friends as they set out to learn the who and, most importantly, the why. They did uncover some interesting information including something unexpected. I did have a couple of unanswered questions at the end of the book and I wish they had been addressed. Mousse and Murder is a carefree cozy mystery with moose meatloaf, a cavorting cat, suspicious siblings, a cold climate, and pleasing pastries.

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  • A Fantastic New Series!

    What a perfect and brilliant start to a great new series! There is a wonderful sense of anticipation about beginning a new series and this one was no exception. I'm a great fan of cozy mysteries so when I saw Mousse and Murder by author Elizabeth Logan, being launched, I knew I had to read it. In this cozy-style mystery, Chef Charlie Cooke, thirty-three, has returned to her hometown of the bustling and touristy Elkview, Alaska, after spending time in San Francisco, to take over her mother's restaurant, the Bear Claw Diner. But there's trouble from the off, when her plans to change the menu and some of the recipes are received with distaste by the Head Chef, Paris trained and hothead Oliver Whitestone, 50. They argue about the chocolate bear claw ingredients, which results in Oliver taking the recipe from Charlie and shredding it in front of all of the staff. Shortly after, Oliver doesn't show up for his shift at the Bear Claw and is found dead... leaving Charlie as the prime and only suspect in the case. In the opening chapter, we are introduced to enthusiastic Charlie who although pretty savvy, has never done any sleuthing before. She decides to play amateur detective to clear her name, and help out the local police, namely Alaska State Trooper Cody Graham (known only as 'Trooper'). Not lacking any helpers, including local reporter and former classmate, Chris Doucette, I immediately warmed to Charlie, finding her ebullience, confidence and intuitiveness very refreshing. Mousse and Murder was certainly a fun cozy for me and I loved the inclusion of Charlie's tabby cat, Eggs Benedict (Benny). The Alaskan setting was well portrayed with fascinating descriptions of the locale and relaxed way of life. The plot was well thought-out and I very much appreciated Elizabeth Logan's superb and varied characterisation, even though an odd few of the characters weren't particularly personable. Being the first book in a new series, the reader gets to know the main characters pretty well, but there is still plenty of room for growth. Apart from Charlie herself, and of course, Benny, there was an assortment of friends, regulars and employees of the Bear Claw, adding another dimension of humour to the story that had me cracking a smile or two. Elizabeth Logan writes with such flair and an easy style. There was a plethora of suspects to choose from, who might have had the motive to kill and I enjoyed the way in which Charlie and her entourage evaluated the information acquired from their investigative poking around. All in all, this was a story that held my attention well and I loved that things came together for a great resolution. Being a culinary cozy, there are some delicious sounding recipes, too. I am eagerly anticipating what Elizabeth Logan has in store for Charlie and her sleuthing buddies in her next book in the series, Fishing for Trouble. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Great Escapes Book Tours via Berkley and NetGalley. This review is my unbiased opinion.

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