Hope’s schedule is crazy with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog. Unfortunately, she has to attend the spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. However, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention; it’s the bloody body of loathed real estate agent Peaches McCoy. Someone on the tour committed murder and for some reason Hope’s older sister, Claire Dixon, who, at best, saw Peaches as a professional rival is the number one suspect. When another murder occurs, suspicion lands squarely on Claire’s shoulders. Now, with two murders and all evidence pointing to Claire, Hope must set aside her burgeoning brand to prove her sister’s innocence. But the closer she gets to unveiling the killer, the closer she gets to someone intent on making sure she doesn’t uncover the truth at any cost. -- Series: Food Blogger Mystery Author: Debra Sennefelder Genre: Cozy Mystery/Culinary Publisher: Kensington The Uninvited Corpse is a delectable mystery filled with wonderful food, the occasional insufferable character and a killer set on making sure that Hope’s sister pays the ultimate price for a crime she didn’t commit. For the killer’s plan to succeed, Hope must be taken out of the picture. Hope is a woman set on helping her sister whether she likes it or not. Even when she promises that she will stay out of the investigation, Hope lands smack in the middle of everything. It seems that she keeps finding bodies everywhere she goes. All Hope really wants is to get back to her blog and her recipes, but her love of her sister makes it impossible to leave the investigation in the hands of the local police. Hope is a very relevant character in today's world of social media and blogging. She is also a great example of what can happen when a person has time on their hands. Even though she is busy, she manages to stick her nose in the wrong places and almost gets it cut off. She is a modern woman with modern insights, and a lovely character the reader will enjoy getting to know. Other characters in this book are remarkably average or outrageous but highly entertaining. When the killer is revealed, it will shock and surprise many. Readers will not quite believe the solution, but once they look at the subtle hints, they will accept that it is the only logical conclusion. Although the location of the story is not described in depth, there is enough detail to add to the enjoyment of the plot and give the reader a clear idea of what the town of Jefferson and its resident are like when murder comes to town. This series is destined to be popular, entertaining, and will give the reader hours of pleasure for a long time to come. The recipes in the back of the book are tantalizing and will make anyone want to try their hand at cooking, baking or just eating every dish. The Uninvited Corpse is highly recommended for anyone who likes their heroines stubborn, bold and persistent under demanding conditions.
The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder is the first novel in Food Blogger Mysteries. Hope Early lives in a lovely farmhouse in Jefferson, Connecticut where she writes her blog, Hope at Home. Hope is off to attend Audrey Bloom’s book signing and garden tour. Claire, Hope’s sister and a local real estate agent, insists on coming with her in the hopes that Peaches McCoy will be attendance. Claire is upset that Peaches, a rival real estate agent, stole another listing from her and this one was for the controversial new Whitcomb development. The event is to promote Audrey’s new book. Hope, who just cannot help herself, is cleaning up after the guests. She goes into the study and finds it in a disarray with Peaches dead on the floor. Detective Sam Reid zeros in on Claire as the killer. With encouragement from her friends since she has always been good at solving mysteries, Hope delves into the case. The next night Hope receives a call from Vanessa stating she needs to talk to her right away. Hope arrives at Vanessa’s house to find the door open and Vanessa dead. What did Vanessa know that got her killed? Hope needs to expose the killer before Claire ends up doing twenty to life. Someone is unhappy with Hope’s snooping and attempts to put her out of commission. Can Hope reveal the killer before Claire is fitted for an orange jumpsuit? The Uninvited Corpse is easy to read (I am starting with the positive aspects). I wish, though, that the author had taken the time to establish Hope’s background. We are told what happened to her recently and why she has moved to Jefferson to start over (several times), but I wanted to know more about her. The Uninvited Corpse starts off with the author introducing us to a plethora of characters. There was just one after another and it was difficult to keep them all straight. My favorite character is Jane Merrifield, a mystery writer. I wish the author had made her the main character (I really liked her). The book seemed disjointed/choppy. It lacked an ease and flow. There is the cliché nasty detective that frequently reminds Hope to quit investigating. As an investigator, Hope is severely lacking. She was good as a teen in solving mysteries as a part of a library group (which we are told many times), but that was in theory (like me solving cozy mysteries). Hope asks bad questions and lacks subtlety. She goes around antagonizing people all around the town (she was relentless). I am curious if anyone else wondered why Claire never had dinner with her kids? There was a repetition of information. The same details are mentioned repeatedly. And let me not forget the love triangle. Why do author’s keep putting love triangles in cozy mysteries? The mystery was simple and easily solved. The why takes longer to become apparent. When Hope is not out investigating, she is baking, painting, cooking, chatting, writing blog posts and cleaning (a bit obsessive about it). Since The Uninvited Corpse is the first book, I am hoping Debra Sennefelder will work out the kinks before the next Food Blogger Mystery. I am giving The Uninvited Corpse 3 out of 5 stars.
I really enjoy The Uninvited Corpse but I didn’t love it as much as I expected. The main character was great as were couple of her friends and the mystery was outstanding! I did not come close to figuring out the murderer. I enjoyed watching Hope work and seeing the way she integrated the blog into her life. She was a kind and well-rounded person although a bit nicer than some people deserved but that is ok. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that there were so many negative people in her life; even her relationship with her sister, whom she loves, is irritating. I thought the book was going to be a cozy mystery and to me good people and warm relationships are a key element that I look for in a cozy mystery so if that is lacking, a book that is excellent in all other aspects will not be great to me. If I had just expected it to be a female amateur mystery, I might have felt differently about the whole book. It was good enough that I want to read the next few so Debra Sennefelder and Hope are still on my list and I want to see more of Ethan. I was excited to receive an advanced reader’s copy of the book from Kensington via NetGalley. I think most readers of amateur mysteries will enjoy the book. I hope that the picky point that bugged me will not bother others reader because I will be recommending it to my friends with that one caveat.