Paperback Writer spotlights the mystery novel Blackberry Crumble (Deseret Book, Inc) by author Josi Kilpack.
About Blackberry Crumble
The word is out about Sadie Hoffmiller’s amateur detective work, but it’s not the kind of publicity Sadie wants. When a slanderous article threatens Sadie’s reputation in the community, she accepts her first investigation-for-hire and travels to Portland, Oregon—if only to give herself some space from her whispering neighbors. And from Pete Cunningham, who is sending her mixed signals about their budding relationship.
Sadie hopes the Portland air will clear her head, and she is eager to get to work for May Sanderson, who has suspicions about her father’s untimely death.
Putting her detective skills to the test, Sadie delves into a complicated past that includes a business partnership that didn’t end well, several unsavory family secrets, and more than a few motives for murder.
Sadie is afraid she might crumble under the pressure, but in a new place with new recipes, she finds herself more determined than ever to uncover the answers buried in scandal, insatiable appetites, and pure and simple greed.
The first indication of the trouble caused by the article was the embarrassed smile Harriet Shub gave Sadie when she put her salad on the table. She dropped eye contact almost immediately, then turned back to her sister, Leslie, who looked at Sadie with an uncomfortable expression before looking away as Harriet had. Sadie adjusted the salad and pulled off the plastic wrap but let her gaze span the room. Another group was watching her and leaning in toward one another in a way that caused Sadie’s stomach to sink even further. Sadie knew gossip when she saw it—she was an expert on the subject even if she preferred to call it “staying informed.”
Don’t overreact, she told herself. A moment later, Paul came in and she busied herself with prepping the meat trays. Baskets of rolls appeared as though from no where and then Ben Lancaster, the Latham Club president, stood up front and welcomed everyone. Sadie, as well as the rest of the kitchen crew, moved back toward the wall—out of the way but still on hand should someone need anything.
As she looked at the crowd she caught the eye of two different people who quickly looked away. It did nothing to calm her growing fears that there were a number of people in this room who knew something she didn’t—something that wasn’t necessarily complimentary. It had to be that article. She only got the Sunday paper, but why wouldn’t anyone have called her if she were featured? She immediately answered her question. If it were negative, people would be hesitant to tell her about it. Her stomach sank further.
Ben droned on and on while Sadie continued experimenting with eye contact. Several people smiled back when she held their eye, helping her feel better, but there were a few who pretended not to see her.
Finally, Ben finished and people began to line up at the food tables. Sadie was unsure what to do and decided to take a time out and busy herself in the kitchen. Maybe she could call Pete and ask him to get another paper on his way back so that she’d know what she was up against.
Smiling tightly, she turned back to the kitchen and was just stepping over the threshold when someone saying her name caused her to come up short. The open door blocked the room from seeing her, but didn’t protect her in any other way.
“Sadie and that locksmith?” Glenda’s voice said, tisking. “And she’s going around as though she’s a good Christian woman all the time.”
Instant heat overtook Sadie’s chest. The locksmith—Eric Burton.
“It’s a new world,” another voice Sadie didn’t recognize immediately said. “Even so called conservatives are embracing more and more liberal lifestyles. She told the women at church she’d simply visited a roommate for the weekend.”
“And we all fell for it,” a third voice said as Sadie’s whole body seemed to catch fire. “I can tell you one thing, she’s not going to be the speaker at the youth campout this summer if I have anything to say about it. No way am I having her stand up in front of my daughter and voice her opinions on taking the moral high-ground.”
Sadie was too frozen to notice the voice was getting closer to the doorway until in an instant the face of Brenda Norton was in front of her. Brenda’s eyebrows went up and for a split second her expression showed embarrassment, but almost as quickly she owned her words and her face settled back into one of judgment. “Excuse me,” she said in a perfectly polite tone. Sadie was the first one to look away, which she feared made her look guilty, but she felt guilty. She stepped aside, letting Brenda leave before entering the room. Glenda and the other woman, Jacky something, looked at her with embarrassed surprise, but Sadie’s eyes focused on her purse by the door and she hurried toward it. She had to get a copy of the article! They know about Eric, she said to herself, feeling her heart rate increase as she came to terms with what was happening. They know I didn’t visit a roommate.
About Josi Kilpack
Josi has combined her love of MOST things edible and her love of writing into the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series. Blackberry Crumble is the fifth book in what will be an eight book series. When Josi isn’t cooking or writing she’s trying to say ahead of her four children, hiding somewhere with a book in hand, or enjoying her backyard chickens. Josi and her family live in Willard, UT.
Visit Josi’s tour page at Pump Up Your Book