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Book Review: If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion by Paige Shelton

Updated on November 7, 2014
Third installment of the Country Cooking School Mysteries
Third installment of the Country Cooking School Mysteries

Breaking Bread Can Lead to Murder

It dawned on me while I was reading this crimozy that there's always been an associated theme with the title of the book. Sure, it may be a cooking school mystery but I never did put the two together.

With that being said, If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion, the third installment in the Country Cooking School mysteries by Paige Shelton is one of those visual stories. Yes, when we read we visualize the action, but Shelton does something original with this novel. She takes you back in time.

As a new school year is approaching, Gram and her granddaughter, Isabelle "Betts" Winston are baffled when student Freddie O'Bannon arrives. He has everything he needs, but the women have no clue who this student is. They have no record of his acceptance nor do they have his original application on file. Gram's Country Cooking School is well known but they didn't know that people would create false acceptance letters just to be there.

Betts is just getting used to communicating with the ghosts of Broken Rope and still has a yearning to be with Jerome Culpepper, her first encounter with ghosts. Now she and Gram must figure out why Gram's friend Gent Cylas has come back. He doesn't realize that he and his family were killed in a bakery fire years ago when he and Gram were younger.

With the school year underway, the first thing the students are learning about is sourdough bread. I found this to be pretty interesting since even I didn't know how sourdough bread is made- see you always learn from books! Anyway, one of the students, Roger Riggins is found dead the next day in the school's parking lot and the students are suspect of one another.

Betts seeks out the help of local historian Jake to learn more about the fire that destroyed the Kennington Bakery years ago but he doesn't have too much information on it. She tells him about Gent and how she and Gram had gone to the burnt out building where it magically transformed itself into the splendor of what it used to be (think scenes of Titanic) and as Betts continues to pay visits to the building the past and present mesh. Shelton does an excellent job bringing both the past and present together.

Unfortunately, I did feel that this story sort of dragged its feet a little. While still a good story, I couldn't get into it but then I've had a lot on my mind which could have been a factor. It does have its moments, but I think what threw me for a loop was the fact that there were too many characters to keep up with.

There were the students, the ghosts and the main characters so it made following the story sometimes difficult.


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