Goodreads ~ Summer tourist season is winding down, but the Cape Bay police find a dead body in the alley beside Mary Ellen’s Souvenirs and Gifts. Police rule it a suicide but Francesca Amaro knows it’s murder. Who would buy a bag of souvenirs, including a box of delicious marzipan, only to commit suicide moments later?
Even though the police tell her to stay out of the case, Fran is too curious not to investigate, even though she’s running a busy and popular café.
Francesca is in her mid-thirties and worked in New York for many years in PR. She moved back home to run the family Italian café in a small town in Massachusetts when her mother passed away a couple months ago.
Fran is out with her friend and employee, Sammy, and Sammy's friend, Dawn, celebrating that Sammy has finally broken up with her boyfriend after ten years of going nowhere. Dawn hears that a body has been found next to a souvenir shop and rather than continuing to celebrate, she wants to go check it out ... so off they go. Mike the police detective tells Fran that it's a suicide but she wonders why would somebody buy candy and souvenirs and then kill themselves outside the store? So she starts asking questions to find out what really happened.
This is the third in the Cape Bay Cafe Mystery Series (I've read the first two) by this author ... it works as a stand alone (you don't have to read the others to know what's going on). It is written in first person perspective in Fran's voice. The "whodunnit" and ending came together really quickly but it worked for me. Fran has been taking kickboxing classes at her local gym for less than two months and is able to use the moves from the classes to defend herself when she is attacked by the killer and subdue them. Really? I've taken boxing and kickboxing classes for years and don't think I would have the ability or confidence to not only beat someone up but keep them down on the ground by putting my foot on their throat.
It's a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity. Fran has been dating her high school friend, Matt, for a couple months and in this book, there are finally some "light kisses", which given their ages is unrealistic.
Sammy's friend, Dawn, is nasty and way too sarcastic (and not in a funny way). I don't know why such a nice person like Sammy would put up with her. I found her annoying and hope she doesn't pop up in future books.
I find it unbelievable that café owner Fran would be so proactive in investigating the murder of a stranger and be able to gather more information than the police, who she acknowledges are competent.
There are recipes at the end.