Review: Fudge Brownies & Murder by Janel Gradowski

Fudge Brownies & Murder by Janel Gradowski
Series: Culinary Competition (# 4)
Release Date: December 17, 2015
Pages: 191
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing
Source: book provided by the author for review



From bestselling mystery author Janel Gradowski comes another deliciously deadly mystery…

Culinary whiz and reluctant amateur sleuth, Amy Ridley, has a lot on her plate. Her very pregnant best friend, Carla, can barely move from her couch per doctor’s orders. So Amy is tasked with preparing meals for the expanding family along with baking endless pans of brownies to quench Carla’s pregnancy cravings. Not only is she playing chef, but she’s also trying to convince the mommy-to-be that she needs to have a baby shower. But when a restaurant owner is murdered at a blogging conference, Amy finds herself in a race to catch the killer before the baby is born.

As Carla’s baby bump gets bigger, so does the list of suspects. While Amy pares down the potential murderers and staves off disgruntled cooking competition rivals, the clock ticks down, the baby’s arrival draws closer, and the danger grows stronger! If Amy doesn’t watch her back, she may be the next member of the competition going down.


Review:  This funny and charming culinary cozy has really grown on me and continues to entertain with each new installment.

Our very own ‘Amazing Amy’ is back, as energetic as ever, and had taken on the challenge of starting her own food blog, which has opened up a whole new way to create and share her recipe ideas. Because blogging is a relatively new thing for her, she attends a blogging convention where all the food bloggers have a chance to show off their skills in a ‘ Fast Food Feud’ contest.

But, when the brassy southern blogger, with all the artery clogging recipes, keels over from a heart attack, it’s no big surprise, considering her copious consumption of bacon, rich desserts and sugary treats. But, Amy is shocked to learn the death was actually a murder!

Meanwhile, Carla is on bed rest and resisting all of Amy’s attempts to throw her a baby shower, while stuffing herself with Amy’s homemade brownies.

I am happy to see Amy back to inventing recipes and solving murder cases. This story has a few surprising details, such as the victim’s niece being someone we’ve met in a previous installment and who could be a person of interest.

Carla’s mother arrives to help Carla prepare for the baby and becomes a real asset to Amy and a good friend, too, while becoming her partner in crime, so to speak. This time around I was totally surprised by the how the mystery turned out and never guessed who the culprit was.

The humor is also a little more pronounced and I caught myself giggling a time or two, especially with Carla’s mom on the case.

Overall, this series is really feeling its stride at this point and I hope the momentum will carry over into the next chapter.