Making consistently fabulous pies is the least of a local baker’s problems when a critic who gave her a thumbs-down is murdered.
Now that Hanna Denton has gotten settled running her Grannie’s old pie shop in Crystal Cove, Calif., she’s doubling her duties by pushing her pies at the local Food Fair. It’s a great opportunity to encourage more folks to buy products, like the yummy-sounding butterscotch pecan pie (recipe included). And Hanna enjoys getting to know her fellow local-food purveyors. Bill and Dave claim to have the best sausage in town, cheese vendor Jacques has a personality that sells his wares, and even Nina, Hanna’s old high school chum, has gotten in on the action with a stand selling sweets. When a man comes by offering Hanna a free knife perfect for slicing pies, Hanna is happy to take one off his hands and promises to showcase it as an advertisement for him. In spite of the success of the pies at the Food Fair, critic Heath Barr pans the pies, along with those of several other vendors, in the local paper. The review turns out to be Heath’s last; he’s found stabbed to death by the knife given away at the Food Fair. Not only does that make Hanna a suspect, it raises police chief Sam Genovese’s suspicions about everyone who was given a promotional knife.
Culver’s latest charts new developments in Hanna and Sam’s relationship, though it provokes fewer laughs than A Good Day to Pie (2011).