Samantha Warren is good-hearted and fun as she creates signature cocktails, even if they are to mark an unusual event: a funeral. She is a relatable and engaging young woman and must deal with a disappointing incident in her past involving the son of the main suspect and her mother’s oldest and dearest friend. Having made it clear that she wants to take a budding relationship with a character from the first book slowly, she finds herself the object of interest of not one but two men. Her journalistic experience stands her in good stead as she seeks out clues. Lilian is entertaining and sometimes alarming as she tries to help her BFF, Patty, out of her dilemma. Together, mother and daughter, librarian and former reporter, work their way through a worthy list of possible suspects.
The murder mystery itself is solid and kept me turning pages from the very start. The author’s writing style is easy and engaging, and I was quickly drawn into Samantha’s current case. The story is brimming with mentions of delicious-sounding entrees from the catering side of her business as well as lip-smacking libations that had me snacking my way through this book in defense. Readers who enjoy recipes for the dishes and drinks mentioned in their stories won’t be disappointed.
With its engaging characters and a page-turning plot that will keep readers guessing, I recommend MURDER SERVED NEAT to mystery lovers who enjoy culinary-themed cozies with the tantalizing talk of good food and drink or a central Texas setting. Also, for all those readers participating in reading challenges, as the events in this book occur over the Fourth of July, it will fulfill the often-used prompt of occurring “during a holiday other than Christmas.”