Title: Mousse and Murder
Author: Elizabeth Logan
Series: An Alaskan Diner Mystery #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Pages: 302
Book Source: NetGalley

“When Chef Charlie Cooke is offered the chance to leave San Francisco and return home to Elkview, Alaska, to take over her mother’s diner, she doesn’t even consider saying no. After all–her love life has recently become a Love Life Crumble, and a chance to reconnect with her roots may be just what she needs.
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Determined to bring fresh life and flavors to the Bear Claw Diner, Charlie starts planning changes to the menu, which has grown stale over the years. But her plans are fried when her head cook Oliver turns up dead after a bitter and public fight over Charlie’s ideas–leaving Charlie as the only suspect in the case.
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With her career, freedom, and life all on thin ice, Charlie must find out who the real killer is, before it’s too late.” – Amazon

Kim’s Review

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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