Review - The Blackmail Blend, Livia Day
There is so much to like about the Café La Femme series (of which THE BLACKMAIL BLEND is #1.5), that a novella drizzled into the middle of existing novels, A TRIFLE DEAD and DROWNED VANILLA is a lovely treat - dare one suggest the icing on the cake? It seems that there is a third book in the series KEEP CALM & KILL THE CHEF on it's way now as well.
For those that haven't come across these books before they are funny, clever and charming cosies with recipes, vintage clothes, spendidly elaborate friends, cafe society and a hefty dose of romance, love, lust and murder, set in Hobart Tasmania.
In THE BLACKMAIL BLEND add to that a marvellously unpleasant romance writer who is not above a lot of nasty behaviour with adoring fans and accolytes into the bargain, and the absolute CHEEK of somebody attempting to use an event at Tabitha Darling's cafe as the setting for a little revenge, and you're suddenly knee deep in cupcakes and possible suspects.
Even allowing for the novella length, this is a rapid paced read as the high-fun and high-jinks will have readers enthralled from the start. Beautifully balanced between the ancillary (recipes / clothes / friends / lust and love) and the point (murder / revenge / worthy victims), the whole series is a bit of a masterclass in the art of unforced entertainment. Of course you're going to have to be a fan of something that's just that little bit over-the-top, slightly tongue in cheek and oh so slightly silly for them to totally work. But once you're hooked, even fans of the darker side might find themselves waiting impatiently for the next outing. You may also find yourself suddenly tempted to dust off the trifle bowl and ice-cream maker and try some of the included recipes.
Six romance writers
Four poison pen letters
Three stolen manuscripts
Two undercover journalists
One over-complicated love life
Way too many teacups and tiny sandwiches
This shouldn't be a recipe for mayhem and murder, but Tabitha Darling has been burned once before and she knows the signs that she's about to fall into another crime scene. At least she doesn't have to worry about love triangles any more. Right? RIGHT?