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Cherry Slice by Jennifer Stone

Synopsis

Reality TV turns deadly in Cherry Hinton’s first case

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it – didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love… but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knickerless in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop, and tries to forget all about Expose.

Until Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns Cherry’s world upside down. Is Martin innocent? How is infamous gangster Leon Solent involved? Is Expose to blame, and is there a killer still on the loose?

Cherry is the only one in a position to find out

 

My review

The cosy mystery genre is one that’s meant to be tongue in cheek. Its central premise is that extremely unlikely protagonists manage to solve crimes that defeat that the experienced police force, and whilst that may occasionally happen in real life it’s not an everyday occurrence. This is what gives the genre its energy and allows authors to pull out all the stops imagination-wise.


Cherry Slice is a wonderful example of an imaginative cosy mystery. It’s an ingenious reworking of the locked room mystery, the type that Agatha Christie made famous. This time the action happens in a reality TV setting. And instead of Christie’s high society characters, we have a true Essex Girl, Cherry, as our chief sleuth, and the murder suspects are a group of wannabe celebs with weight issues.

Cherry, like all good amateur detectives, comes with emotional baggage. She used to date the victim, and she’s under a black cloud for some undercover work she did as a journalist. She now works in her parents’ bakery, famous for its tasteless (metaphorically speaking) gimmicky cakes.

As you’d probably expect from this description so far, there’s plenty of humour, wit and quirkiness in this novel. The characters are all larger than life, and not just the ones on the Big Blubber show. There are shady underworld figures, glitzy bimbos and plenty of almost-ordinary people but with something a little absurd about them to make them fascinating.

The Essex setting is convincing, especially for someone like me from just over the border in  south Suffolk and knows the area, and the plot is original and cunningly thought-out. If you like a cosy that makes you chuckle, occasionally wince and be thoroughly entertained from start to finish, then this is for you.

Pre-order the book here: www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Slice-PI-Mystery/dp/1788421655

 Review copy received from the publisher via NetGalley and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.