In New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis’s new Domestic Diva mystery, Old Town’s annual Pie Festival crumbles into chaos after a celebrity judge is murdered, leaving it up to entertaining maven and sometime-sleuth Sophie Winston to dole out justice . . .
Nothing heats up Old Town quite like the annual Pie Festival, and this year is no exception, especially since Sophie’s professional rival, Natasha Smith, is barred from participating. Sophie, meanwhile, has been asked to oversee the pie eating contest. But the drama really rolls out when celebrity judge, Patsy Lee Presley, host of television’s most popular cooking show, bites the crust during the competition, and Sophie’s friends are suspected of the crime.
As the folks of Old Town dish, the tough truth about Patsy’s meteoric rise to domestic stardom begins to leak. It turns out that Patsy’s sweet exterior hid a secret sour side, which alienated many of her closest allies, including a jilted ex-husband, a bitter ex-mentor, and a jaded ex-best friend. With the festival falling apart, and her friends in danger of being boxed up for murder, Sophie must cobble together the clues and stop a flakey fiend from serving up any more deadly desserts.
Includes delicious recipes and entertaining tips!
About the Author
Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries, the Paws & Claws Mysteries, and the new Pen & Ink Mysteries, with covers that can be colored. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more. Visit her website at www.kristadavis.com.
Read an Excerpt
My new mother-in-law wins the local pie contest every year. The recipe for her piecrust is top secret, and his family makes a huge fuss about it. She and her husband are coming to visit my hubby and me for the first time. Hubby says a pie is obligatory. Each of her other daughters-in-law bakes a pie for her visit. I'm terrified! What do I do?
Newlywed in Coward, South Carolina
Bake a cake. There's no point in competing with her, and a cake will last longer than a pie, anyway. If someone comments on the missing pie, tell your mother-in-law that you're eager to learn how she bakes her wonderful pies that everyone raves about.
Daisy, my hound mix, stopped walking abruptly. I thought she had picked up the scent of a squirrel in the night air, but then I heard rustling in the bushes. In a split second, I was face-to-face with Patsy Lee Presley, and both of us screamed like we were under attack. Daisy barked, which added to the drama.
Wide-eyed, as though she were horrified, Patsy Lee took off running like a woman in her fifties who didn't get much exercise.
My heart still pounding, I sucked in a deep breath. It wasn't long ago that someone had meant to harm me. I guessed I was still wary and a little jittery. The truth was that the streets of Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, were safe at night. I often walked Daisy after dark, enjoying the lights glowing in the windows of the historical homes that lined the streets.
Now that the momentary shock was over, I wasn't certain it had been Patsy Lee. I had never met her before, but I had seen her on TV many times. Patsy Lee Presley was the current darling of the TV cooking world with the number one show. Sweet as the pies she baked, she was slightly chubby, and watching her show was like a visit from a favorite doting aunt. Patsy Lee was due to be in Old Town on Friday for the pie festival, so it could have been her. But what was she doing hiding in bushes and running around like she was afraid?
I looked back in the direction she had gone, but she had disappeared. Whoever that woman was, I hoped she had the good sense to call the police if she was in trouble.
* * *
The next morning I told Nina Reid Norwood and Officer Wong about it while we rolled out dough in Tommy Earl Felts's class on pie baking. Nina, my best friend and across-the-street neighbor, unwisely added too many drops of water to her dough. I watched as it became sticky and unmanageable, but decided it wasn't my place to say anything. After all, Tommy was teaching the class.
Nina frowned at me. "Why isn't your dough sticking to your hands like mine?"
Wong glanced at her. "Mercy, Nina! Dip your hands in the flour, honey."
Wong focused on her own dough, which looked perfect to me.
"I'll check the log to see if anyone called in last night," she said. "It was probably some married woman sneaking home after a rendezvous with a boyfriend. Not to put Patsy Lee down, but a lot of women still wear their hair real big like she does. It could have been someone else."
Tommy Earl approached our group. "Bless your sorry little heart, Nina." Tommy gazed at the sticky lump in front of her, and patted her on the back. "Why don't you go to the mixer and try again? I don't think that's salvageable."
Tommy nodded approvingly at my pie dough. "Did I hear you talking about Patsy Lee?"
"I thought I saw her in Old Town last night. Do you know her?" I asked.
He snorted. "I taught her everything she knows."
"You did not," Wong scolded him. "On the show Patsy Lee is always talking about her grandmother, from whom she learned how to cook and bake. She was just a tiny thing when she started cooking. So young that she had to stand on a chair to reach the countertop to work next to her meemaw."
Tommy laughed aloud. "Is that the story she spins? Have you ever seen this meemaw on her show?"
"Good grief, Tommy," said Wong. "Patsy Lee is in her forties. Meemaw would probably be in her eighties."
Tommy lowered his voice and said, "Patsy Lee is so far into her forties that she has rolled over into her fifties. And Meemaw doesn't come on the show because she has a receding hairline, a five o'clock shadow, and her legs are too fat to wear a skirt."
Tommy had done a fairly good job of describing himself. I couldn't help grinning.
Wong's eyes narrowed. "Are you saying there is no Meemaw?"
"I guess she had a couple of grannies, most people do." He shrugged. "But when I met Patsy Lee, she couldn't crack an egg without breaking the yolk."
Tommy moved on, pausing to talk to Nina about the dough she was carrying back to our workstation. She sidled in next to me and plunked her dough on the table.
"The secret to a perfect piecrust" — Tommy paused to build up suspense — "is vodka. I find drinking it helps me, but a splash in your dough will prevent too much gluten formation. There are other important factors, like keeping the ingredients as cold as possible, but the vodka is helpful because it makes the crust flaky."
Nina licked the spoon she had been dipping into the lemon filling for her lemon meringue pie.
"You won't have any filling left for your pie," I whispered.
"That's okay. You didn't think I was actually going to bake anything, did you?" she whispered back to me.
Officer Wong shot us a dirty look. "Shh!"
Nina had made fun of me for participating in the class. I had baked plenty of pies in my life, but piecrusts could be tricky. Tommy was a pro, and I figured I would pick up some tips. He baked pies for a living and sold them at Sweet as Pie on King Street in Old Town, Alexandria. Rumor had it that people drove an hour across greater metropolitan Washington, DC, just to buy Tommy's pies. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, they had to be pre-ordered because he couldn't fill all the requests.
He roamed the room as he spoke. The buttons on his short-sleeved white chef's jacket strained a bit against the pressure of his stomach. I could relate. I had my own difficulties maintaining the weight I would like to be.
Wong giggled when he stopped to praise her dough. "I'm so thrilled to be in your class. My grandmother was an expert pie baker. I wish I had paid attention to her techniques." Was she flirting with him?
Just as he had described, his hair had begun to recede, but he was taking it in stride and wore it brushed back off his face. He smiled at her and the little crinkles at the outer edges of his brown eyes deepened.
African-American Wong, who attributed her name to the wrong husband by a long shot, wasn't wearing her police uniform today. Her hair waved to just below her ears in a cut that was shorter in the back and longer in the front. One sassy curl dropped on her forehead.
I looked a little closer. She had taken a lot of care with her makeup today. The buttons on her shirt strained a bit, not unlike those on Tommy's jacket. The two of them could be cute together. Nina nudged me, and I suspected she was thinking the same thing.
While the pies baked, Tommy drifted through the room, engaging all his students. When he reached Nina, he asked, "Is it true that you're judging the pie-baking contest?"
Nina turned as red as the cherry filling I had cooked for my pie. "That's why I'm here. I thought I should have a feel for all the work that goes into baking a pie."
Tommy stared at her and appeared confused.
"She has an amazing palate," I offered.
Wong looked over at us. "What's that supposed to mean? I like food, too, but nobody asked me to judge anything."
"I mean that Nina has the ability to taste flavors that the rest of us miss entirely or barely notice. If someone in this class sliced her fruit on a cutting board that was used to mince garlic last night and wasn't thoroughly washed afterward, Nina would still taste the garlic when she ate the fruit."
"I've seen contests like that. They blindfold people to see who can recognize the flavors or textures," said Tommy. "Well, Ms. Nina Reid Norwood, I apologize for doubting you. I guess there's more than one way to judge a pie."
"I hope you entered in the professional category," I said.
"You bet. I can't talk about it in front of a judge, though." Tommy winked at us.
"You're so cute. But it's not a problem," Nina assured him. "The pies won't have any names on them. It will be a blind tasting."
Tommy smiled. "Good to hear. I wouldn't want to be disqualified." He moved on to the next group.
An hour later everyone except Nina went home with a pie. The class was a small part of the Old Town Pie Festival, which was scheduled to commence in earnest the following day.
Nina offered to carry my pie as we neared my house. She took deep breaths. "Do you think there are calories in what a person sniffs?"
"I'm almost positive there are. I know I weigh more every time I leave a bakery."
As we approached my house, we saw a man peering in the window of my kitchen door. He cupped his hands around his eyes and leaned against the glass to see better. I could hear Daisy barking inside the house.CHAPTER 2
My daughter loves to bake fruit pies and we love to eat them. But she makes such a mess of my oven! I have to clean it every single time she bakes because the bubbling juices always run over the pie pan.
Fastidious in Elderberry Pond, Pennsylvania
Tell your daughter I said to always place a rimmed baking sheet underneath the pie to catch any juices. Problem solved!
"I've got your back," muttered Nina. "I'm dialing 911 now, just in case."
The man must have heard us approaching. He pulled away from the door and flushed with embarrassment at being caught.
"Put your phone away, Nina. I know him."
"Which one?" she asked.
She pointed at a man who sprinted around the corner and disappeared.
"Who was that?" I asked.
"I didn't get a good look at him."
We walked toward my kitchen door.
Roger MacKenzie was wearing his trademark bow tie with a seersucker suit and looked completely comfortable in spite of the sweltering summer temperature.
"Roger, did you see a guy hanging around here?"
"Have you got yourself an admirer, Sophie?" he teased.
"Seriously. You didn't see anyone?"
"Darlin', I have got a lot on my mind. I can't say I saw a soul. But I'm sure glad that you're home. Disaster has befallen me." He clasped his hands over his chest as though our mere appearance had solved all his problems.
I had a hunch I knew what they concerned. Roger was a pastry chef who was sponsoring a weeklong PiePalooza event for home cooks and pie fans. But Roger wasn't an event planner, and while he had done a lot of things right, he had also been overwhelmed by the amount of work and planning that went into an event. Pie fans from around the country had signed up for the baking classes he offered. Over the last six months Roger had called me to ask questions. In the beginning I heard from him once a week. The number of calls increased with his level of anxiety as the date of his event grew closer. For the last month, he had phoned me daily.
He sucked in a deep breath, and touched the spots just over his eyebrows with three fingers of each hand as though he was doing some kind of relaxation technique. "Amy Wellington Smith has shingles." He lowered his hands and reached out to Nina. "Roger MacKenzie, pleased to make your acquaintance. Do you think shingles is a reasonable excuse? Twenty-four people have signed up for her class, Taming Beastly Berries. I think she should slap on some thick foundation and fulfill her obligation to her students."
He ran out of breath and stared at the two of us. I had a very bad feeling that he wanted me to agree with him.
I unlocked the door and invited him into my kitchen, where Daisy pranced with glee at our return, her long ears flapping. "From what I hear, shingles can be very painful. We have some excellent pie bakers in Old Town. Maybe one of them could fill in for her," I suggested, watching Nina set the pie on top of the island in my kitchen. She glanced at me and pulled a knife out of the drawer.
"It needs to set up first," I said. "Otherwise the filling will run all over."
Nina frowned at me, but she promptly refrigerated the pie.
"Have any of them written a book on pie baking?" Roger asked rather haughtily.
He had high expectations. "Patsy Lee Presley is in town —"
He cut me off. "She's already scheduled to teach Avoiding the Shame of a Shrinking Crust, on Tuesday, and Blackbottom Pie Doesn't Mean Burned, on Thursday. Amy Wellington Smith's class was also on Tuesday, at the same time as Patsy Lee's."
"What about Tommy Earl?" asked Nina. "I can vouch for him. He's an excellent teacher."
Roger's lips pulled tight. "Ohhh, I don't think so. His pies are delicious, I'll grant you that. But Tommy Earl is notoriously unreliable. Such a pity. He's so talented, but I know better than to hire him. I wish Nellie Stokes were available. That woman knows how to bake!"
"What's wrong with Tommy Earl?" asked Nina.
Roger didn't say a word, but he cupped his hand as though he were holding a glass and tipped it toward his mouth.
"Are you sure?" I asked. It wasn't as though I spent a lot of time with Tommy Earl, but I had ordered plenty of pies from him for events and he had never let me down. "I've never had a problem with him."
"Trust me on this," grumbled Roger. "It's well-known in baking circles. Ask anyone in the business. He must have some great employees who cover for him at his shop. Sophie" — Roger gazed at me with sad eyes — "can't you help me out? Could you teach the classes?"
"Me? Good heavens. I just took one of Tommy Earl's classes. I'm not a pie pro by any stretch of the imagination. Not even a little bit. And I haven't published a cookbook." Whew. That would get me off the hook for sure.
But Nina exclaimed, "You should! I would buy it."
She wasn't helping. "Why don't you come to the Old Town Pie Festival tomorrow? A lot of professional pie bakers will be entering their pies in the contests there."
"I would sleep better if I had someone scheduled in the slot for Tuesday." He eyed me again.
Well, there was nothing I could do about that.
Nina said, "I find melatonin helps me."
I bit my lip to keep from giggling. "I'll keep an eye out for an appropriate baker tomorrow."
Roger no longer looked quite so crisp. He thanked us before leaving and dragged away like a disappointed child. I let Daisy out in my fenced backyard.
When I returned, Nina asked, "Can we try your pie now?"
"Not unless you want to see the Horror of the Runny Filling play out right here in my kitchen."
"Why do pies take so long?"
Her question was rhetorical. Nina knew that fillings had to set, although she probably wouldn't have cared. She would have scooped up the oozing filling with a soupspoon and declared it delicious.
"Besides," I said, "don't you think we'd better check on Bernie? The pie festival is a big undertaking. He could probably use some extra hands."
When Daisy returned, she was panting and headed straight to the water bowl. I added a couple of ice cubes to her water to make it super cold. Her nose wet, she sprawled on the floor as if she was trying to cool off. The August heat was brutal, but the weather was supposed to cool off dramatically for the weekend.
I didn't feel guilty about leaving her at home when we stepped out into the humid heat again. We had only trudged one block when I asked, "How would you feel about an iced coffee or tea?"
Nina moaned. "Anything with ice in it would be welcome."
We stopped at Moos & Brews, relieved to be in the air-conditioned café while we ordered.
Nina checked the time. "Ugh. I am officially over the hill. I'm too old to drink real coffee after noon. I'll have a decaf iced caramel latte."
I ordered a plain iced coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which I knew would melt into my coffee in less than a minute once we were outside.
We were slurping the remains through biodegradable paper straws as we approached the park, where banners for the Old Town Pie Festival already fluttered in the gentle breeze.
"Francie is going to be mad that she missed this."
My elderly neighbor was a hoot, and had she been home, she would surely have attended the pie festival. "I don't think she'll be too upset. I'm sure she's having fun with her sister. How many women their age go on an African safari to photograph animals?"
So many people surrounded Bernie that he was barely visible. He had been the best man at my wedding. Bernie's sandy hair was perpetually mussed, and his nose had a kink in it where it had been broken, possibly twice. Footloose, Bernie had traveled the world before settling in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, and taking on the management of a restaurant for an absentee owner. To our astonishment, he had a flair for the business and The Laughing Hound had become one of Old Town's most popular eateries.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Diva Sweetens the Pie"
Copyright © 2019 Krista Davis.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this series
I can always count on Krista Davis' books to be fun and entertaining. The characters will make you chuckle at their antics while they investigate the crime and try not to be the next victim. The recipes are all some of the best I've tried and will have you shelving this book with your cookbooks instead of your cozy mysteries. Seriously, I've never read a bad book from Krista Davis. I usually save them as a reward when I've had a bad day.
Krista Davis Diva sweetens What a good book, thank you
Great read! Love the way the story is put together, with an interesting cast of characters and a plot filled with unexpected twists till the very end. Each chapter contains pie-baking tips and wonderful recipes at the end.
This was not my favorite Diva book. It started off kind of slow for me at the beginning. Then it picked up and added a couple elements I really liked. The mystery was pretty good from that point on. However in the resolution of the mystery there were a couple of elements I had a real issue with-much like Sophie did in the book. That drops my rating and overall enjoyment of this installment. So elements I liked versus elements I hated, average out to 3 star rating for me. Still I have enjoyed this series so I will continue on with it. I received this book from NetGalley and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Thanks to Netgalley I received a free, advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is Book 12 in the Domestic Diva Mystery Series. A hometown celebrity, Patsy Lee Presley, has come back into town to be a judge in the annual Pie Festival. Sophie is being kept busy helping oversee the pile eating contest. The story begins to unfold when Patsy collapses and dies right at the festival, and Sophie's friends become people of interest in the investigation. Sophie starts looking at all the clues and realizes Patsy was not as sweet as she seemed, and many in her past felt jaded by her. Simultaneously, a young girl asks Sophie to help prove her mother didn't commit the murder she was found guilty of and is currently serving a jail sentence for. This mystery unfolds in such a way that I was kept guessing the whole time. Sprinkled in to the story are pie baking tips, many of which I personally found useful. While this is a series and may be better enjoyed reading from Book 1, the author writes the story in such a way that even if this is your first Diva Mystery, you will enjoy it from beginning to end.
This is the first book I have read in the domestic diva mystery series, but not the first book by Krista Davis as I love her Paws and Claws series. Even though I hadn't read the earlier books I was able to follow along, so this can be read as a stand alone book. Nothing heats up Old Town quite like the annual Pie Festival, and this year is no exception, especially since Sophie’s professional rival, Natasha Smith, is barred from participating. Sophie, meanwhile, has been asked to oversee the pie eating contest. But the drama really rolls out when celebrity judge, Patsy Lee Presley, host of television’s most popular cooking show, bites the crust during the competition, and Sophie’s friends are suspected of the crime. I was drawn into the story right away and couldn't put the book down. It had lots of twist and turns, plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing till the very end. I liked the characters and how they were there for each other. I can't wait to read the other 11 Domestic Diva mysteries ! I highly recommend this book to all my cozy mystery loving friends. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
I love reading about Sophie and her friends. This book was full of suspense and plot twists and Krista did an excellent job of tying up all of the loose ends. I really enjoyed it.
When television cooking show darling Patsy Lee Presley collapses and dies at Old Town's Pie Festival, Sophie's on the scene. Sophie learns that Patsy has ties to Old Town and is connected to several of the contestants. Did the sins of her past come back to haunt her? Or was her murder the result of jealousy? Lots of suspects in the 12th Domestic Diva mystery by cozy author Krista Davis, and this book is a delicious journey from start to finish! I adored this page turner! A+++
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I cannot say enough good things about this series. Sophie and Natasha keep things interesting in every book. I love the way the two "play off" each other. There is always some adventurous high jinks going to happen when Sophie comes on the scene. This is a must read for all who enjoy cozy mysteries. Enjoy!
My sincere appreciation goes to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Diva Sweetens the Pie in exchange for my honest review. AAs a longtime fan of this series, I have been anxiously awaiting a new book featuring event planner Sophie Winston and the rest of the Oldtown crew. it was wonderful to read the latest caper Sophie is ensnared in. It was like being reunited with old friends after a too long absence. There are plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing, as well as just enough sub-plots to add lots of mineable clues. I especially liked getting better acquainted with some of the minor characters, like Officer Wong. Can't wait to see what pops up next in Sophie's life!
The Diva series was the first series I got addicted to reading in cozy mysteries. I love the advice columns, setting and cast of characters. The Diva Sweetens the Pie started off a little slower than earlier books, but I quickly got hooked. It's a wonderful story of pie contests and the makers of those pies. We meet new characters who have been friends for years and Sophie needs to find out if one of them killed a TV star chef and if the murder is linked to one a few years earlier. I was surprised by ending, especially as part of it changes Sophie's personal life. Thank you to NetGalley for the complimentary e-copy of book in exchange for an honest review.
Sophie is preparing to judge the pie eating contest and she is ecstatic to see the reigning queen of cooking, Patsy Lee Presley, join in judging one of the contests. But, things go awry when Patsy keels over dead. Sophie needs to find out what happened before someone else dies. This was a great mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. I loved how Sophie’s friends rallied around her to help with the investigation. Her friends are great characters that I look forward to reading about in every book. I also liked how she stuck to her morals concerning Alex. I can’t wait to read the next mystery in this series. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
I adore the Domestic Diva Mysteries, and THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE is a wonderful addition to the long running series. Set against the tasty excitement of a pie festival, protagonist Sophie attempts to get to the bottom of guest judge Patsy Lee’s death, find out if a fellow baker has been wrongly imprisoned, all while she deals with a brutal attack that hits close to home. As an added bonus, there are delicious looking recipes included at the back of the book. My favorite aspect of this series is the relationships between the recurring characters. Their camaraderie and support for each other is endearing. Sophie is a practical sleuth with her best friend Nina by her side. Bernie and her ex-husband Mars balance out the group helping with investigating when they can. Sophie’s nemesis/friend Natasha plays her out-of-touch diva roll to the hilt; I do not know if I should love her or hate her. The mystery is multifaceted and compelling. I was not sure of whodunit until close to the end of the story, and this uncertainty added to my reading enjoyment. THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE is delightful, and recommend it to any cozy mystery reader. I cannot wait to read Sophie’s next adventure. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
The Diva Sweetens the Pie by Krista Davis is book 12 in the Domestic Diva Mystery series. I have read some of the earlier ones in the series but not the last few. I was able to get caught up quickly. Old Town is having a Pie Festival with a celebrity judge when a murder happens. Sophie is thrown into the investigation. You have plenty of suspects and plot twists that will have you guessing until the end. The characters are relatable and likeable. You have a great setting. There is humor sprinkled through out the story. You also get some tips and recipes. The only problem is you might be craving a piece of pie or two. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC for an honest review.
It is the authentic characters and well written plots that bring me back to this series time and time again. (Yes, I've read all twelve books in A Domestic Diva Mystery series.) This time protagonist Sophie Winston is juggling three mysteries which might or might not be related. Also, adding to her stress is the fact that she feels one of the tragedies might be her fault. It all comes together neatly in the end with a few surprises. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. The opinions expressed are my own. I look forward to book #13.
Dollycas’s Thoughts What a sweet mystery!! Hometown foodie celebrity Patsy Lee Presley has come back to Old Town to be a judge for the annual Pie Festival. A festival diva Natasha Smith has been banned from participating in and that Sophie has been a key assistant to the organizer. As the pies are about to be judged Patsy tumbles right into a pie and dies. The police secure the scene quickly and many of Sophie’s friends are pieces of interest in the investigation’s pie. Patsy’s ex-husband also makes the list. As Sophie starts to sift through the clues she learns that Patsy isn’t the sweetheart she thought and that most of the people suspected of her death have the big three ingredients – Motive – Means – Opportunity. Sophie just needs to break through their crusts and find which one has baked their last pie. Sophie is also approached by a 12-year-old girl asking for help for her mom. Her mother had been convicted of a murder that according to her daughter she didn’t commit. Nellie Stokes has been in prison for 5 years, 3 months and 4 days. Daughter Aly marks each day on the calendar to keep track. Sophie looked at a picture of the woman and decided she had to help. What I really love about this series is the friendships. The way the people of Old Town come together to help and support each other but also to have a lot of fun. There seems to always be something happening, sadly some of the times a murder breaks up the fun. When that happens Sophie is usually drawn right in the middle of the case. This time a subsequent event makes things personal for Sophie even drawing attention to her in an unexpected way. Thankfully, her stellar friends, Nina Reid Norwood, Bernie Frei, and her ex-husband, Mars Winston always have her back. All the series regulars have continued to evolve realistically. Natasha is still the prickly and sometimes clueless diva and Sophie is usually the voice of calm and reason. Mars now divorced from Natasha is around even more and still a great friend for Sophie. Boyfriend Alex is nervous about Sophie’s involvement in all the murder queries but tries to understand her need to be involved. We do meet Patsy Lee Presley who had she lived could have really given Natasha a run for her money. Patsy had the life of Natasha dreams. I really enjoy the way Ms. Davis twists things up. Characters new and old are all involved. Clues are deliberately sprinkled throughout and red herring are mixed right in. Stirred within the mysteries to solve, the daily life of Old Town residents soldiers on. All blended together with a dollop of humor and a dash of romance. Krista Davis is an excellent storyteller. So well-written and well-plotted. I was kept guessing right up to the end. I highly recommend this whole series! It is best to read them in order but there is plenty of background in this story so don’t hesitate to jump in with this book. Bonus – Scrumptious recipes and baking and entertaining tips!
The Diva Sweetens the Pie was wonderful - the book was fast-paced and I didn't want to put it down! When a national pie competition comes to Old Town, so does murder. Old friends and old resentments make for a murderous contest. If Sophie and her friends can't solve the murders, then she may pay the ultimate price - her life. While I love all of the Domestic Diva mysteries, this may be my favorite. Sophie is at her amateur sleuth, cooking diva, pet mom and loving friend best. The characters of Natasha, Mars, Bernie, Nina, Alex, Wolf and Wong add to the mystery and fun. I enjoy the friendship between Nina and Sophie and am happy with the way Sophie's relationship with Mars has evolved. Reading about these characters is like coming home to visit old friends. The mystery is complex (with red herrings) however, at the end, all of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. I am now impatiently waiting for the next visit with Sophie and her friends! I received an ARC of this book, from NetGalley, for a fair and honest review.
Sophie is looking forward to the upcoming Pie Festival, who wouldn't want to sample such a wonderful treat. She is also happy to be the overseer of the pie eating contest. The festival seems to start off well that is until Peggy Lee Presley, the celebrity judge for the contest, dies during the competition. Things start looking worse when some of Sophie's friends become suspects in Peggy's death. As she starts to look into things Sophie realizes that there are a core group of people who keep overlapping when it comes to past history. Peggy seemed to have stepped on a bunch of toes but out of everyone one who was angry enough to kill. With so many questions that need to be answered and so many of her friends in the line of fire will Sophie be able to put the puzzle together before someone she cares about ends up in jail? Meanwhile a young girl has come to Sophie for her help, her mother is in jail for murder but the young girl doesn't believe that she is guilty. Her father and herself have heard about all the crimes that Sophie has been involved in solving are looking to her for help in their own case. She doesn't have the heart to turn them down but she doesn't want to get anyone's hopes up. Does she even have the time to look into this old murder with a fresh one on her plate? Follow along as she tries to figure out both, will she come to a conclusion to both or will she run out of time. I can tell you I didn't figure it out until the end and that just made it all the more exciting to read! I also love the wonderful letters the author puts at the beginning of each new chapter addressed to either Sophie or Natasha and the oh so different replies that they each hand out.
Wonderful Culinary Cozy Mystery This book is twelfth in the series and the first that I have read. It is a great cozy mystery with lots of humor. The backdrop is a pie festival and pie bakers. There are great recipes included. Several crimes are investigated and the story is quite busy. There are many viable suspects and many interesting characters. It is a nice, long story that the reader can really get their teeth into. I loved it. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
This is such a wonderful, enjoyable book! The Diva Sweetens the Pie is set around Old Town Alexandria's Pie Festival, with all its delicious events. There are three intriguing mysteries within this mystery, and protagonist Sophie gets drawn into all three, for very different reasons. The cast of characters is a perfect mix of recurring and new, creating just the right amount of suspects and also keeping the everyday life themes in their neighborhood. There were plenty of twists to keep me guessing and I didn't solve any of the mysteries until they were revealed. Aside from the well-written mysteries, what I like most about this series is the close friendships of Sophie and her neighbors. I would love to live in her neighborhood and pop in for a barbecue or dessert with the whole gang. I love how the group of friendly neighbors support each other and provide a sense of family and grounding for one another. You can certainly read this book as a stand-alone, but I always recommend starting at the beginning, to get the rich backgrounds of the characters and how they've evolved over the course of the series. As always, Krista Davis mentions a variety of yummy foods and drinks in this book, largely pies. As one of the People of the Pie, I fully appreciated a book dedicated to my favorite dessert! The end of the book includes recipes for some of the tasty treats in the story, most of which I am adding to my to-try recipe list. Now I'm off to see if the Old Town Pie Festival actually exists... and if so (fingers crossed!), add the next one to my calendar. I received an advance copy of this book. This review contains my honest thoughts and opinions.
Sophie and the gang are back and things are hotter than ever in Old a Town Alexandria, Virginia with the annual pie festival. While Natasha is banned from participating this year and. Ina is a judge, Sophie is just planning to enjoy the event as a spectator. At least until the celebrity pastry chef who is headlining the event dies and Sophie finds herself not only investigating what turns out to be a murder, but an old murder that seems to have convicted an innocent young pastry chef. As Sophie, Nina, Bernie and Mars dig further, it seems the murderer wants to shut Sophie’s investigation down and goes right after her heart, by attacking her boyfriend Alex. But Sophie can’t stop now, she’s not only seeking to correct a miscarriage if justice, but soon has to defend herself when she is framed for the attack on Alex. If you are a fan of Krista Davis, you won’t want to miss he latest entry in the Domestic Diva series. If you haven’t been properly introduced to Krista Davis yet, consider this your introduction and get all 12 books in this amazing series! Also check out her other series, you won’t be sorry!
Sophie and her friends are busy with the annual Pie Festival in Old Town Alexandria when the celebrity judge for the pie contest dies. Sophie is also asked to look into a murder that happened a few years ago where a woman may have been wrongly convicted. Although she is reluctant to look into this, she agrees to help the young girl who misses her mother. Sophie has her hands full this time! I love the characters in this series and how they have grown over the course of the series so far. I also enjoy the new characters that are introduced that keep things interesting. This continues to be one of my favorite series and I look forward to many more books by Ms. Davis. I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.