We are back in Broken Rope, Missouri with the darling Isabelle “Betts” Winston and her lovely gram, Miz Winston. Delicious home-style recipes are always on the menu at Gram’s Country Cooking School and so are the ghosts that flit about. The formulas are a secret from the students and so are the feisty ghosts they communicate with. Culinary and apparition intrigue abound this little homicidal enclave.
Now, let’s get to the juicy innards. Ewww… aahhh – let’s just get to it, folks!
This time around, Betts and Gram decide to support their friend Jake at Broken Rope’s Historical Society by obliging several epicurean vacationers with mouthwatering munchies, capricious cooking lessons, amusement, and murder.
The duo encounter the ax-wielding presence of Sally Swarthmore, one of Broken Rope’s renowned murderers, who implores with Betts to help locate her diary. Sally’s journal may well substantiate that she was actually a victim, not a villain.
Fast forward to the latest offing and all the havoc that ensues with the local denizens of Broken Rope when one of the tourists turns up lifeless with a noose bound around his neck and two other sightseers go missing. Now Betts and Gram are tossed into the bedlam as they unravel two mysteries and uncover a callous murderer.
I adore all the characters in Shelton’s charming series. Brava to Shelton for giving Jake a bit more of the spotlight. Shelton does a remarkable job of unfolding all the players like layers in a yummy Long Island (Lindenhurst to be exact) seven layer bakery cake.
However, the sophomore offering could have benefitted from a few more chapters or one fulfilling chapter to wrap up Sally’s story. Unfortunately, it seemed as if Shelton’s egg timer dinged a bit too soon. Tsk tsk. Shelton is a much better raconteur to chuck an abrupt ending to readers. If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance is a luxurious read to be savored – not a quickie when the dud… er, dude runs out of Viagra.