In Linda Lovely’s, “Bones to Pick,” mourners gather to pay their respects to goat farm owner, Aunt Eva, after the death of her twin sister, Lilly. During the ritual of sharing sweet tea and sympathy, a body is discovered by a snuffling pig. Death at a funeral?
Brie Hooker, visiting niece and a vegan chef, wanted to help her beloved aunts, but little did she suspect that murder would be served up along with the goat cheese and the farm fresh eggs. None of which is on her preferred menu. Ever.
The discovery of the corpse leads to an opportunity to re-ignite a decades old family feud, because the bones belong to Eva’s long missing husband. Eva is accused of murder. Again. The in-laws have never liked Eva, and now they have proof that she was up to no good all those years before. The plot thickens as the enemy camp seeks its own form of Carolina justice for imagined wrongdoings.
Farming is hard work and Lovely enhances “Bones to Pick” with the realities of farm life, interspersed with bodies and the dangerous in-law craziness. The goats still have to be fed, and the eggs still must be collected, even while somebody is guarding the house with rifle in hand.
The lively cast of characters includes Paint and Andy (hunky potential boyfriends), questionable law enforcement officers, Mollye (a best friend who always has Brie’s back), and a feisty aunt with an awe inspiring back story. Lovely always sprinkles a few older, intelligent folks in her books, and with “Bones to Pick,” we are treated to Brie’s parents. Brie’s lawyer mother is on speed dial for Eva and the clan, and Brie’s dad is a wannabe writer who likes to come up with ways to hide the bodies (on the page).
“Bones to Pick” is decidedly Southern, full of humor, with a down home setting, references to fleas on Blue Tick hounds, and mentions of those icons of the Carolinas: Clemson, and Wake Forest. Plus, since no well-bred Southern woman ever uses uncouth words in polite company, Brie comes up with somewhat acceptable, if surprising alternatives like: ‘you son of a salami, holy Swiss cheese! and what the Feta?’
I could never be a vegan, but some of the dishes included in the telling of the tale in “Bones to Pick,” sound mouth-watering and I could see adding them to my own repertoire of vegetable dishes. Stuffed portabella mushrooms, pumpkin brownies with coconut whipped cream, and tomato basil soup? Droolworthy food.
Lovely includes dedicated meat eaters in her well-plotted story, which makes for mostly friendly bickering around the table between the two food camps. Whether you’re on Team Meat & Cheese or Team Vegan, there’s plenty to like about “Bones to Pick.” I’m looking forward to the next installment of this new chef in the mystery world, but leave the bacon on the table for me, please.
Contains mild, adult language.
Please visit www.lindalovely.com for more information about Linda Lovely and her other entertaining series.