This is the third book in this cozy mystery series but only the first one that I have read. Gwen is a NY transplant living and working in the south. Despite the odd moment or two of culture shock, she has carved out a good business, taking over her late uncle’s kosher deli. It has been a slow and steady process involving settling in the community, hiring reliable staff, and building a clientele. One of the things that are consuming Gwen in this book is trying to win the Best Mid-Range Restaurant Award. Everything and everyone seems to be conspiring against her. Amid the hustle and bustle of daily business activity, Gwen comes in early to open the shop and get the special rye bread delivery. She is surprised to find the bread truck still parked out back at a time when it should have already come and gone. She is even more surprised when she slips on the blood of the murdered man – who just so happens to be the guy delivering the bread. She has a very realistic reaction to experiencing something so traumatic. I did not warm to Gwen immediately, but she grew on me through the course of the book. I liked the relationships and interactions between all the deli co-workers. Dani was a fun character – she was sweet and not quite as ditzy as she first appears. I found the mystery engrossing and the characters interesting.
The only part that disappointed me was the possible new love interest for Gwen. I feel like the author was legitimately leading up to Gwen and Robert being romantically involved and then, out of left field, she and the reader find out that he is actually gay. I felt very let down because they seemed to click and have good chemistry. I’m glad that, at the end, they seem to be on friendly terms but it was still a surprise.
I would read future books in this series.