Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Still Life in Brunswick Stew by Larissa Reinhart

Blurb: Cherry Tucker’s in a stew. Art commissions dried up after her nemesis became president of the County Arts Council. Desperate and broke, Cherry and her friend, Eloise, spend a sultry summer weekend hawking their art at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off. When a bad case of food poisoning breaks out and Eloise dies, the police brush off her death as accidental. However, Cherry suspects someone spiked the stew and killed her friend. As Cherry calls on cook-off competitors, bitter rivals, and crooked judges, the police get steamed while the killer prepares to cook Cherry’s goose.

My Review: I guess it's obvious that I'm 100% a New Englander when I admit I never even heard of Brunswick stew before picking up this book. I'm a huge fan of murder by poisoned food (in fiction only, of course!) and this one is about as much fun as it gets. Larissa Reinhart's vivid descriptions of life in a small Southern town made me feel the heat and humidity and hear the twang of the locals.

Cherry and her friend Eloise have set up a booth of their wares at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off. Cherry can't stomach the stuff, but Eloise packs in as many bowls as she can gets her hands on thanks to free tickets from one of her students. Soon the emergency room at the local hospital is filled with patients experiencing food poisoning, and Eloise dies. Written off as an accidental death because Eloise also suffered from Crohn's Disease, her family and Cherry find her sudden death suspicious, and Cherry agrees to investigate further, starting with Eloise's abusive boyfriend and the "health drink" he was giving her that allegedly "cured" her Crohn's.

Put this one at the top of your summer reading list, best paired with a glass of sweet tea or lemonade and a rocking chair on the front porch.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the ChickLit Plus book review bloggers program.

Author Bio:

Larissa Reinhart loves small town characters, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble. STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) is the second in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. The first, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, a 2012 The Emily finalist, and a 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website, her Facebook page, or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook.

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Larissa Reinhart said...

Hey Melissa! Thanks so much for having Still Life on MMM! I've been looking forward to this visit for a while. I am so thrilled you liked Still Life! Although I think Cherry would rather you have a frosty longneck rather than a lemonade on that porch;)

Unknown said...

Great review Melissa!

Book of Secrets said...

My dad loves Brunswick Stew. He spent part of his childhood on the Georgia coast. This sounds like a great cozy!

Larissa Reinhart said...

Thanks for commenting, Diana. You should take a trip down here with your dad and try some! I think every region has their own "stew." If this story were set in Texas, I'd probably use chili. I love Brunswick Sew, too. Particularly from Georgia;)