Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Review: Death at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand Eckel

Title: Death at the Day Lily Cafe (Rosalie Hart #2)
Author: Wendy Sand Eckel
Genres: Mystery | Cozy | Female sleuth
Print length: 288 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication date: July 26, 2016
Source: NetGalley
Format: e-galley
Author's website:

Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor--to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.
With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it's not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie's daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.  Goodreads
The plot: Book two in the Rosalie Hart series starts with Rosalie opening up her dream cafe in the small town of Cardigan. She prides herself on serving delicious meals prepared with organic produce, the majority of which is sourced from the family farm she inherited.

The Day Lily Cafe has barely opened its doors when Doris Bird bustles in, exclaiming that her sister Lori has been accused of murdering her husband. With a grand total of one murder investigation under her belt, it seems that Rosalie is the go-to choice in proving Lori's innocence.

Throw in an asshole sheriff who is determined to pin the murder on Lori, a bad boy cook that Rosalie's daughter is smitten with, and a mess of missing money, and you've got a small taste of the obstacles in Rosalie's way.

The characters: I didn't read the first book in the series, so these are all new characters to me.

Rosalie Hart is a divorcee, with a daughter she loves more than anything and dreams of running her own cafe. She's a great cook and can make a heck of a cup of coffee. 

Her head waiter and right-hand man is Glenn, a 70+ year old man, who accompanies her on various wacky adventures. It was hard not to draw comparisons between Rosalie and Glenn's relationship with Theodosia and Drayton's relationship in Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mysteries.

Tyler Wells helps her run the farm and is obviously her love interest (she draws comparisons between Tyler and her father. Hmm).

Custer is Tyler's nephew, Rosalie's daughter Annie's love interest, The Day Lily Cafe's chef, and overall man of mystery.

The mystery: The mystery started off pretty intriguing, but about 2/3 of the way through, they make it very obvious who the killer is and drag it on for a bit.
The reveal scene (while a practical set-up in real life), was so low stakes and low tension that when Rosalie finally gets the killer to confess and is then taken away, all I could think was, "Well...that was easy. Wrapped up all nice and neat, I guess."

Final bite: It's a decently written story, with some interesting characters and delicious food descriptions, but ultimately forgettable. It took me a while to write this review because it was hard to muster up enough enthusiasm (whether positive or negative) to even attempt to dissect the story. It was a decent read, but it didn't draw me in enough to await the next addition in the series. 

Rating: 3.5/5 


  1. Thanks for your honest review. Seems that there are so many restaurant/cafe cozy mysteries, and I guess they can't all be outstanding.

    1. I always feel guilty writing a less than stellar review, but it was given to me by the publisher for an honest review, so...

      I love culinary cozies, but for some reason this particular one didn't draw me in. Definitely a library read, not a purchase.