Mindy Quigley’s Six Feet Deep Dish

downloadMindy Quigley’s  Six Feet Deep Dish is the first in an intended series with an obvious theme. With its status as a paperback original and a clearly tasty theme volume, this book will clearly be adding to the shelves of cozy mystery readers

Delilah O’Leary, an experienced chef, is moving with her rich fiance Sam and an obese cat named Butterball to Geneva Bay, Wisconsin in an effort to get away from the bustle of Chicago and open a resteraunt devoted to deep dish pizza. With a team she trusts from years working together, O’Leary is looking to have a good soft opening followed by a grand opening when disaster strikes repeatedly.

First Sam breaks down, calling off the enggagement and storming away in something of a huff. Then Delilah’s aging and increasingly unstable aunt is found with her caregiver Jeremy, he dead of a gunshot wound and her holding a handgun and baffled as to the situation.  It is a good setup and gives Delilah some reason to investigate in spite of her status as a resteraunt owner and chef rather than as a detective or investigator of any sort.

The local police are not actively antagonistic, and introduce a potential love interest in Officer Capone. It is made quite clear that there is no example of coincidental naming, but that the policeman  a great grandson of the legendary gangster. This is played for no small amount of humor, but it is also used to serve as a visual contrast of the classic gangster with the tall and strapping police officer to make the attraction Delilah feels clear.

Other character include the aforementioned elderly relative, long time friends and coworkers like Sonya and Daniel, and new hires like Rabbit who each have layers of their own. Some are given more characterization than others, and the details one learns about certain characters lead the reader to expectation they will learn more still.

Indeed, one piece of believable humor comes from the fact that Sonya is a lesbian, which is learned when one of her friends suggest trying to seduce an office or at the door. While this is an amusing moment on its own given that the officer is male, the fact that a female officer is mentioned multiple times yet never receives much characterization might leave a reader expecting the pair to connect in some way.

The mystery itself twists appropriately, showing a variety of unusual and yet believable turns in the setting. Issues facing older people are key to the case, and give him the situation that Delilah’s aunt is in at the start that is only appropriate. The police seem a little more understanding than they likely would in real life, although Delilah commenting on being used to having reason to fear police in Chicago helps to make this feel more believable. The volume doesn’t pretend that police are incorruptible, instead merely acknowledging that any given force might be relatively honest.

There are plenty of potential plot threads left hanging for future books. A former piece of criminal real estate is a major location, the rich and powerful visit regularly, and an excon on staff serve as only a few of these.

Six Feet Deep Dish is a very nice start to its series. The characters are well drawn and entertaining, and while not exceptionally deep or maintain serviceability. The mystery twists and turns, adding new facts and details at a decent interval. The fact tasty seeming pizza recipes are included is a delightful bonus. A solid recommendation to cozy mystery fans.

(St. Martin’s Paperbacks 2022)

Warner Holme

Warner Holme is a longtime booklover who tends to read anything he can. He has held many positions, ranging from the educational to medical all the way to the mildly usurous. Largely forgotten by those around him, Warner has lived in a number of locations, yet keeps being pulled back to the south. He currently lives there with his pets, and politely asks not to be disturbed.

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