One of the things I love about themed cozies is that I always learn something new. There is usually a blending of fiction with a special interest that the author has researched or knows intimately. I had no idea there was such a thing as a pickling store. That made the setting for Scene of the Brine (Pickled & Preserved #3) by Mary Ellen Hughes totally unique and unexpected.
From the back of the book:
The national bestselling author of License to Dill returns with a dilly of a pickle.
Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner....
Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.
Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself.
This was certainly a fun setting and I learned a lot since I had pretty much zero knowledge of pickling. Piper was such a fun character to get to know. There was a light pureness that brought some innocence to the murder mystery, even after a second victim turned up. There was a bit of a love triangle that was played nicely. These can end up a bit forced but this one felt natural and I thought as things closed, it was left on a beautiful note.
I liked the way the mystery unfolded and that there were a few secondary mysteries also being revealed. It was refreshing that not all of the secrets ended up being bad. After what was a pretty tense climax, I ended up leaving with a peaceful feeling when all was said and done.
This was the first part I read in the series, but I found it easy to follow along and keep track of every one. I recommend you jump right in and get to know Piper and her friends and family. As you might imagine, there are related recipes in the back of the book to add to the enjoyment.
Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well.
Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.