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Cookie Dough or Die
A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery, Book 1
Virginia Lowell

April 2011/ ISBN 978-0-425-24067-0
Mystery/ Cozy

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Olivia Greyson spent her divorce settlement on a house. Not just any house; but a double entry duplex in Chatterley Height’s, MD. She lives upstairs with her Yorkie dog, Spunky, and in the separate downstairs she runs The Gingerbread House, a business she operates with her long time best friend Maddie. The Gingerbread House sells primarily cookie cutters, but also cookie cookbooks, aprons, and best of all Maddie’s wonderfully delicious, baked- with- love cookies.

When Clarisse Chamberlain, Olivia’s guiding hand in starting the business, dies suddenly, and her death is ruled a suicide or accidental overdose, Olivia is stunned. She cannot believe that Clarisse would do such a thing. To make matters worse, after Olivia has let it be known she doesn’t believe anything but that Clarisse was murdered, the news spreads that Olivia is the beneficiary of a sizable amount of money and valuable antique cookie cutters. As Olivia copes with the realization that people, even the sheriff, might believe she is a killer, the mail carrier becomes very ill after eating a cookie from The Gingerbread House.

This is the debut novel of a new series by author Virginia Lowell, and she has done a fine job of introducing likeable characters, a believable premise and a cozy small town setting that comes more alive with each chapter. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a relaxing and comfortable read. Sure there is a fair share of murder and some mayhem, but it is low key enough that I read it over the course of one evening and finished it up just before I put my light out in bed and then slept well with the feeling of satisfaction born from reading a well-written mystery and of having met some new friends.

I look forward to the next book, which I understand is due out around Christmas time 2011. This is a great way for readers to get in on the beginning of a new series, and I’m confident in recommending this book to mystery buffs, especially those who love a cozy, and to foodies. You’ll be wise to have a stash of cookies on hand when you sit down to read this, but you won’t need ingredients for baking. No recipes are included, which is not a bad thing because you’ll be able to buckle down and read and enjoy the story without pesky interruptions like oven timers going off.

Reviewer's Note: A Cookie Before Dying
Reviewed 2011
© 2011