Just Desserts Review
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After her husband’s death, Judith McMonigle turned her family’s home, Hillside Manor, into a bed and breakfast. To fill up some of her January vacancies, she takes in the Brodies, a wealthy, eccentric family whose home is being fumigated. As if their obnoxious behavior weren’t bad enough, the family hires a fortune teller to come in and tell the family’s fortune. But in the middle of Madame Gushenka’s cryptic predictions, she dies suddenly.

Thanks to Madame Gushenka’s death, Judith and her cousin Renie are stuck in the house with the odd and exuberant Brodies and a team of police officers, one of whom happens to be Joe Flynn, the man Judith once loved—until he ran off and married someone else. Together, Judith, Renie, and Joe try to put all the pieces together and solve the mystery. But just about everyone’s a suspect—and everyone seems to be hiding a few dirty secrets.

Just Desserts could have been a much better mystery if it had been a bit simpler. In trying to create an interesting plotline, Daheim creates a family that goes way above and beyond being just a little bit suspicious. Every last one of the Brodies is obnoxious and scheming and apparently completely lacking in morals. Actually, pretty much every character in this book is annoying. Joe seems to be more focused on messing with Judith’s head than solving the case. And Judith falls for it—and spends most of the book pining for Joe like a twelve-year-old girl with a crush on the boy who sits in front of her in history class. At the same time, Judith comes off as much older than she’s supposed to be, which makes some of her lustful thoughts for Joe feel…well…icky. I’d share a few examples, but I prefer to save you the discomfort. Let’s just say that I felt about as comfortable reading this book as I would be if I were to read a Harlequin romance written by my grandma.

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