Skye Denison's culinary skills leave MUCH to be desired, so she is shocked when she learns that her mother has entered her in the Grandma Sal's Soup-to-Nuts cooking competition. To think that Skye has even a remote chance of winning is, well, nuts! When Skye's boyfriend, Wally Boyd, Chief of Police of the Scumble River PD, starts breaking their dinner dates, she is convinced it has something to do with the fact that she is taking every opportunity to practice her mom's Chicken Supreme Casserole recipe.
And, as if worrying about a cooking contest and Wally's strange behavior isn't enough, Skye is trying to handle a threatened lawsuit by parents of a Scumble River High cheerleader after an unauthorized article about the student appears in the school paper. Skye is not only the school psychologist but also the co-sponsor of the paper. She then learns that said cheerleader has gone missing, and that the author of the article that prompted talk of a lawsuit is nowhere to be found but has written a blog that implies her involvement in the cheerleader's disappearance. To say that Skye's plate is full is an understatement.
The cooking contest seems to have brought out the worst in almost everyone involved. Too many cooks have indeed spoiled the broth. Threats, sabotage, and accusations abound, but nothing compares to finding one of the contestants murdered and another person attacked. The question is, was Cherry Alexander's murder tied to the contest, to her marriage, or did it have something to do with her next tell-all book? While Wally and Skye have barely spent any quality time together, he quickly requests Skye's help in her capacity as consulting psychologist to the Scumble River PD in order to help interrogate those involved with the contest. Skye is up to her eyeballs in people who had a motive to harm Cherry and at the same time is trying to decipher clues as to the cheerleader's whereabouts.
Denise Swanson's Scumble River cozy series realistically presents life in a small town full of likable, quirky people with a very strong sense of family and community. It is also written with a sense of humor - which is always appreciated when used to advantage to keep the story from being bogged down by murder and mayhem.
The ending of this book is a real cliffhanger. I can hardly wait for book number 11 in the series to come out!
Carol Ann Hopkins 4/8/2008