Lil’ Pingwing’s Cozy Corner: The Hidden Corpse
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Former reality TV baking show contestant and recent divorcée Hope Early is trying to find her recipe for success as a food blogger—but murder keeps getting in the mix . . .
When Hope’s elderly neighbor perishes in a home fire, she can’t help but feel somewhat responsible. Only the day before, Peggy Olson had called her over, having burned a pot on the stove while she was sleeping and filling the house with smoke. In fact, she couldn’t even remember cooking. Clearly, it was dangerous for the woman to live alone.
But it turns out she wasn’t alone. When a second body is discovered in the basement of the burned house, suddenly what appeared to be a tragic accident is beginning to look like premeditated murder. As rumors spread like wildfire, Hope is determined to sort out the facts and smoke out a killer, but she might be jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire . . .
The Hidden Corpse is the second book in the Food Blogger mystery series.
Hope Early is a food blogger who has moved back to her hometown after leaving publishing and a stint on reality TV. She has settled into her new career and decides to take a food photography class with Cal, a local photographer, and other food bloggers. One night Hope discovers an elderly neighbour’s house is on fire. Rushing to the scene, she finds out that not only did her neighbour perish in the fire, but so did Cal’s wife, who had gone missing weeks earlier. Hope must uncover the identity of the murderer before they set their sights on her.
I was very curious to start this series. I really like the premise — I read lots of food blogs and like the idea of following a blogger as she solves mysteries. I like hearing about the different blog posts she makes, the recipes she’s testing out, and the different ways she sets up her photography.
I like Hope — she’s busy fixing up her old farmhouse, has a sister that she is close with, and seems to have a good community of friends in her town. She also has a quasi-romance with the chief of police. The book also has lots of small-town politics — living in your hometown can make things difficult when people are still harbouring resentments from childhood. But that just adds an extra element to the challenges Hope faces when investigating the murders.
I have to say that there were some challenges to the book, though. I found that there just wasn’t a reason for Hope to investigate the murder, and every single character kept telling her to stop looking into it, whether it was due to her safety (like when she got threats sent to her by the killer), or just trying to be a busy body. As well, she just had a habit of bluntly accusing people of murder. I wasn’t surprised that so many people ended up mad at her during the course of the book.
I will say that I chuckled at a scene where she tries to tell a local lawyer about how she’s not interested in dating him only to have him turn her down because he’s gay. She really did make a lot of bad assumptions.
I really like the character, the setting, and the secondary cast of characters, but I did find that I got frustrated as the book went on and she just kept throwing out baseless accusations at others. I will give the rest of a series a shot, but I think I want to see Hope just act a bit smarter (or more subtle) in her investigations.