THE CRÊPES OF WRATH By Sarah Fox
The First Pancake House Mystery
Taking a leave of absence from her job as a legal assistant in Seattle, Marley traveled to the Olympic Peninsula to manage her hospitalized cousin's pancake house. Enjoying her time in the small town, despite a recent rash of burglaries, Marley gets a message that her cousin Jimmy is leaving the hospital early, against medical advice, and will take a taxi home. Since Jimmy dislikes taxis she finds his mode of transport as odd as the timing of his departure; almost as odd as the unpleasant woman claiming to be his girlfriend...who he never mentioned. Yet Marley's day gets even more shocking when not only does an old crush come into the restaurant, but moments later Leigh, the primary waitress, rushes back in after leaving for the day...and after finding Jimmy's body on the rocks of Wildwood Beach.
Marley McKinney is a smart protagonist, and, while she asks questions, she isn't actively searching for the murderer. She also keeps the police informed, something most mystery protagonists rarely do, but which is the smart, real-life course of action. The mystery is filled with red herrings, enough to confound the reader searching for clues, which are also present. In addition to the mystery, the romance reigniting between Mallory and her long ago crush, Brett Collins, plays a major part in the story. The romance doesn't distract from the mystery, in fact it adds layers of depth, not only to the characters, but the story and the mystery itself. Vivid descriptions and a well paced plot also help to intensify the atmosphere and make for a most satisfying read.
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH is a delightful, intelligent book that proves to be a great start in a new series. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time on the Olympic Peninsula and wish I could visit the Flip Side Pancake House and have Ivan cook me up something special. Bacon Cheddar Waffles, anyone?