4 out of 5 stars
I would like to thank Kensington Books for gifting me with a free electronic ARC of this book. As I am a fan of the ‘Pancake House Mystery’ series, and follow Ms Fox on social media, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read the next instalment. Any and all reviews I now give I do so openly, honestly and obligation free.
In other words, suck it up those who think I am paid to write nice things in exchange for free books. 😉
Okay, so on with my review of ‘Yeast of Eden’. This is book four of the ‘Pancake House Mystery’ series and I have to say it was a relief and delight to read. A relief as… quite honestly… I wasn’t a fan of book three. I feel it lost its way as to what it wanted to be. But book four redeems Ms Fox and any issues I had with this series. It is back to the wonderful blend of cosy, mystery, friendship and life in small town America that I love and feel works so well in this series.
‘Yeast of Eden’ is set a few months after the last book – ‘Of Spice and Men’ – and winter has come to Wildwood Cove, and with it a combination of new and old mysteries for the main character Marley to solve.
I won’t give the plot away too much, but I did enjoy the mixture of old and new mystery in this book. At first I thought it was too much clutter into the one story line. I mean, we had the current murder to solve, Marley and Brett’s relationship progressing, family crisis, seasonal Pancake House treats to describe, the usual goings on of the regular characters… and then an older mystery to solve? I felt it was going to be too much plot padding and not enough actual plot.
But I was wrong. And apologise for doubting that Ms Fox could pull it off. As cluttered as that all might sound when I write about it, I can assure the reader it was balanced perfectly by Ms Fox and barely even appeared like plot padding. In fact, it helped reinforce the friendships and history of Marley and her friends in Wildwood Cove.
‘Yeast of Eden’ was, as I have said, that great balance of all of those things and none of the secondary plot ideas got in the road of the main mystery. And the main mystery itself had just the right balance of red herrings and plot twists which kept me guessing a little longer than usual to figure it out. And I do like a cosy that keeps me guessing and doesn’t just spoon feed it all to me in the first few chapters and then spend the rest of the book trying to sound clever about why it happened. Ms Fox’s ‘Pancake House Mysteries’ do indeed keep me guessing.
I also have to say that I loved the idea of gingerbread crepes! And am thankful the recipe is in the back of the book. The other dishes mentioned came across as a little too sweet for my liking, but I can really see the gingerbread crepes being attempted in my house soon! 😉
Now for the usual nitty gritty behind the scenes stuff. The layout of the book was excellent and was formatted perfectly for Kindle eBooks (I do hate it when publishers forget to format the book properly so the margins and paragraphs end up all over the place). Yes, there were a few minor grammatical slip ups (it’s not as if I don’t do a LOT more). But this sort of thing is always acceptable in an ARC and is fixed by the final print. Trust me; Kensington Books are professionals at this!
So, all in all it was a well-paced, well thought out story. An excellent next instalment in a thoroughly entertaining cosy series and just perfect to read at this time of the year… though possibly more so if I was in the northern hemisphere and not the southern one! 😀
Would I recommend this book to others?
Yes I would… and yeah it COULD be read as a standalone, but the reader would be doing themselves an injustice. Reading it as part of the series works so much better as you can really see the characters and their relationships grow through the different stories. So lovers of cosy crimes and mysteries in small town America would enjoy this… but read it as part of the series and thank me later, okay?
Would I buy this book for myself?
Yes I would. Any issues and concerns I had after reading book three in this series are well and truly dead and buried. It was obviously just a book I didn’t connect that well with. ‘Yeast of Eden’ on the other hand was back on track and just my sort of book. This leads into me confirming that the ‘Pancake House Mystery’ series is still indeed my favourite sort of cosy series.
In summary: A great bundle of mystery and intrigue in one book, while also a fantastic continuation of an enjoyable series.