Talia Marby serves up delectable English deep fried fare in the heart of the Berkshires—but she soon discovers there’s something fishy going on…
Sometimes in this life, you have to fish or cut bait. After walking away from a miserable job and an even worse boyfriend, Talia Marby has no regrets. She’s returned to her hometown and is happy to help her dear friend Bea Lambert by working at Lambert’s Fish & Chips, a cornerstone of a charming shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.
But not all the shop owners are charming. Phil Turnbull has been pestering Bea to sign a petition against a new store opening up, and his constant badgering is enough to make her want to boil him in oil. When Talia and Bea stumble upon Turnbull murdered in his shop, the police suspect Bea. Now it’s up to Talia to fish around for clues and hook the real killer before her friend has to trade serving food for serving time…
Includes delicious recipes!
When I began writing Fillet of Murder, which features a fish and chips eatery in the Berkshires, I wanted readers to like my people . . . maybe even find a few of them quirky. Isn’t that one of the things we love about cozy characters? Since I grew up in the region where the series takes place, I scrolled my mind backward (way, way backward) to my younger days, to some of the wonderful “characters” I was lucky enough to know.
I was seventeen when I first got a summer job at an old-style restaurant called The Willows (long gone, I’m afraid). The owner, Gladys, was a generous soul and one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. Throughout that entire summer I flipped burgers, made sub sandwiches, and washed a never-ending stream of dirty dishes and pans. I even scrubbed clam shells for the soon-to-be steamed clams, never realizing they were still alive until one of them snapped shut and sent my heart into overdrive!
That summer left me with so many treasured memories. I can still recall how appreciated Gladys made me feel after working long, hot hours in a kitchen cooled only by a table fan. She overpaid me and over-praised me—she was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known.
Those are the days I thought back to when I first began writing the Deep Fried series. I wanted Talia Marby, my main character, to have those same warm recollections of her first summer job. So I created Bea Lambert.
As characters go, Bea is one of my favorites. Picture a petite, sixtyish woman with springy black curls, leaf green eyes, and a darling British accent. Originally from the UK, her speech is populated with words like “luvvy” and “bloke” and “wanker.” Bea is the co-owner, with her hubby, of Lambert’s Fish & Chips—an eatery located in a cobblestoned shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.
Talia was a teenager when she got her first job at Lambert’s. Troubled by a rift between her mom and dad, she bonded with the childless Bea, and Lambert’s became her refuge. Even when she wasn’t working, Talia could often be found mulling over homework at one of the tables at the back of the restaurant. Bea couldn’t have loved Talia more if she’d been her own daughter.
Talia learned the fish and chips biz that summer, never dreaming she’d return there more than fifteen years later to help out Bea in a pinch. What she also never imagined was murder, right there in that charming plaza. When Bea is accused of murdering a fellow shopkeeper, Talia dives right in to rescue her friend from a certain stint in the pokey.
Looking back, I realize that Bea and Gladys didn’t have all that much in common. Not unless you counted their many kindnesses, their overwhelming generosity, and their love for humankind.
Since this is the first book in the new series, I feel a little pros and cons list is in order :)
What I Liked:
Talia and Bea are WONDERFUL! They play off of each other beautifully and have formed a tremendously admirable friendship. The kind that we all wish we could have. Their supporting cast of characters are a fantastic addition as well.
Naturally, who wouldn't love a shopping center that's poised to look like an Old English village? There's a certain kind of charm to a place like that, and it's embodied perfectly in this story.
Ahhhhhhhhhh the recipes they include! One of my favorite things about cozies - they include delicious recipes that give you the chance to feel even closer to the characters that you've grown to love and admire.
I love the puns that could be inserted here to describe the mystery. I'll refrain for the sake of anyone reading this, but I truly enjoyed following these ladies on their quest to discover the culprit of the murder. It left me guessing until the reveal and I was actually surprised at how it unfolded.
What I Didn't Like:
Honestly? There wasn't anything that I didn't like. And I truly mean that. This book was wonderful!
This is a well written, very good mystery with characters that are easily likeable. I'm thrilled to have been able to read and review it, and am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
Rating: 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All conclusions reached are my own.
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