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Soup Lover's Mystery #5

A Clue in the Stew

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Soup shop owner Lucky Jamieson stirs up more trouble in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave...

When Lucky Jamieson opens up By the Spoonful to host an event with a famous author, she’s not expecting a bunch of nuts to descend on her small-town soup shop. But the author’s exasperating entourage—from a prickly publicist to a snippy son and his tipsy wife—give fresh meaning to the phrase, too many cooks spoil the broth.
The evening is more than spoiled, however, when it ends with a homicide. When the manner of the murder—as well as another recent unsolved crime—echoes the author’s fiction, Police Chief Nate Edgerton realizes he has a copycat killer on his hands. And Lucky hopes that one of her regular customers who has mysteriously gone missing isn’t involved. Once again, the soup shop owner will need to stir up some clues to find her friend and catch a cunning killer—before things really take a tureen for the worse...

320 pages, Paperback

First published April 5, 2016

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About the author

Connie Archer

7 books389 followers
Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery Series from Berkley Prime Crime: A SPOONFUL OF MURDER, A BROTH OF BETRAYAL, A ROUX OF REVENGE, LADLE TO THE GRAVE and A CLUE IN THE STEW. Connie's excerpts and recipes can also be found in THE COZY COOKBOOK from Penguin Random House and THE MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK. Connie was born and raised in New England. She now lives on the other coast.
Visit her website at http://www.conniearchermysteries.com
FB: www.Facebook.com/ConnieArcherMysteries
Twitter: @SnowflakeVT
Writing as Connie di Marco, she is also the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Suspense Publishing: The Madness of Mercury, All Signs Point to Murder, Tail of the Dragon, Enter a Wizard Stage Left and Serpent's Doom.
Visit her website at http://conniedimarco.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmyster...
Twitter: @askzodia

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 73 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Ks Book Reviews.
843 reviews105 followers
March 26, 2016
A CLUE IN THE STEW is a delicious delight I didn’t want to end!

The Soup Lover’s Mystery series became one of my “must have – go to favorite” from book one, A SPOONFUL OF MURDER. Just as this series deals with comfort food like soup and sandwiches, it has become one of my most looked forward to comfort reads.

This story, is made up of all the ingredients that make not only this series, but all of cozy mysteries so enjoyable…a cast of characters that feel like friends and family, a lovely, quaint location, and a perfect blend of mystery, fun, and drama.

Once again author Connie Archer has penned a magnificent installment in the Soup Lover’s Mysteries. A CLUE IN THE STEW is a perfectly plotted murder mystery that kept me guessing right up until the wonderful, action filled reveal! There are also sub stories with in the main one that had me smiling, and crying…just all around emotional. Well, done Ms. Archer.

Book six just can’t get here fast enough for me!

Don’t stew over getting this book. A CLUE IN THE STEW is sure to be a book you’ll devour!

And don’t forget to check out the yummy, make-your-stomach-growl recipes at the back of the book!
Profile Image for K.A. Davis.
Author 3 books445 followers
April 2, 2016
Lucky Jamieson and her spunky grandfather, Jack, own By the Spoonful in Snowflake, Vermont. Trouble comes finding Lucky when Hilary Stone, a famous national bestselling mystery writer, arrives in town for a book signing and to look for property to buy. The venue that was supposed to host the book signing cancels at the last moment so Lucky is nominated to host the event at By the Spoonful. Short on staff she hires Nanette, a new arrival to town. Nanette is a great waitress but she’s set her eyes on Jack, who is smitten with her but is twice her age. Nanette brashly attempts to change things at the shop trying to gain control, including criticizing Sage, Lucky’s talented chef. Her soup shop is in an uproar and then a stranger is found murdered in the woods near town. The residents are on edge and worry how it might impact Hilary Stone’s interest in purchasing property.

Lucky manages to prepare everything for the book signing and it appears to be a success despite what Hilary Stone’s family seems to think. Hilary’s son, Derek, is derisive while his snobby wife, Sylvia, seems to be hitting the bottle pretty hard and has nothing nice to say about anything. Lucky cleans up after the conclusion of the book signing festivities, and receives a call from the B & B where Hilary is staying. Hilary would like Lucky to deliver some of her soup to her even though it is late. She delivers the soup, wanting to help out her friend who owns the B & B, but then later finds out that Hilary was found murdered shortly after.

What is disturbing is that Hilary was killed using the same technique used in her mystery book and the murdered stranger in the woods was killed similarly. When one of the town’s older residents, Hank, goes missing and several witnesses place him near the scene of Hilary’s murder, the police are sure he’s the culprit. Lucky is certain Hank is innocent and starts asking questions to find the real killer, digging up decades-old long buried secrets in order to find answers. And all the while she must discover what Nanette is up to and keep By the Spoonful from imploding.

There were so many twists and turns in the story along with subplots that I was kept guessing up until the very end! The author does a wonderful job connecting all the pieces with the story coming together in an unexpected way. I enjoyed the development of the characters and how they supported each other, especially when obnoxious Nanette arrives on the scene. I could feel Lucky’s frustration while at the same time trying to be cautious of her grandfather’s feelings. Her relationship with Jack is one of the highlights of her life and not to be taken lightly. In addition to a wonderful series with a cleverly crafted plot, the author includes several delicious recipes at the back of the book that are served at By the Spoonful.

April 6, 2016
In A Clue in the Stew, Snowflake, Vermont is all abuzz when mystery author Hilary Stone decides to do a book signing in the small town. The excitement is squashed when bodies are discovered similar to the crimes found in her book, Murder Comes Calling.

When it’s discovered that a friend/customer has more than enough motivation to commit at least one of the murders, Lucky and her employees/friends of By the Spoonful form the Murder Investigation Club. If the police won’t catch a killer, they certainly will. Unfortunately, Lucky’s attention is divided between looking for clues, running the restaurant, and keeping a watchful eye on her grandfather Jack who has caught the eye of the newest By the Spoonful waitress. Something about this lady is off and her arrival in town seems a little odd.

I was totally and completely blindsided as to the whodunit!!! That is probably why I loved this story so much. There are enough red herrings in this book to keep you guessing up to the very end. Lucky pulls out all the stops to catch a killer and risks her life in the process.

Connie Archer continues to prove why she’s one of my favorite cozy mystery authors and why the Soup Lover’s Mystery Series is one of my favorite series. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, reading a book from this series is like hanging out with old friends. A Clue in the Stew sets the stage for new adventures and beginnings for Lucky and her best friend Sophie. I wish everything about this series was real just so I can continue to be a part of the story well after the page reads “The End”.

It should be noted that while A Clue in the Stew is the fifth book in the Soup Lover’s Mystery Series, it is a standalone read.

**Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest unbiased review.**
Profile Image for April Schilling.
182 reviews17 followers
March 31, 2016
I loved it! This was another one of those books that you can't put down once you start reading. I've always enjoyed the Soup Lover's mysteries and this one was fantastic! Snowflake is about to be the setting for a famous author's book signing when a woman is found murdered up near the local pond. Add to that all of the drama when the author finally has her signing, and then is also murdered in the same way and you have a book full of twists and turns. I was really surprised at who the killer was and even more surprised by some other events in the book. I don't want to give too much away, just suffice it to say that you will want to keep reading to find out if your suspicions are right. Can't wait to see what Lucky and her crew get up to next!

I was given an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.
Profile Image for Anissa.
830 reviews244 followers
February 12, 2018
The main mystery this time was a twist one but I have to say that I really liked the villains chosen this time. It felt like there were more than the usual side stories and sidelines, I cared about them in varying degrees. Still, I felt this wasn't the best book in the series. This felt like the end of the series, with all the threads of the series tied up (the Ambien that is the love story between Lucky & Elias, the best couple by default, Sage & Sophie, and Grandpa Jack's health & romantic prospects). If so, I'm thrilled to have a completed series under my belt because though I begin many, I've finished few. I'll miss the recipes, as they've given me some great things to try and some even better ideas. For this book, the corn cakes are what I'll be adding to my recipe list. I'd read another series by Connie Archer.
Profile Image for Regan.
1,631 reviews29 followers
January 18, 2022
I think this was the best of the series and sadly it appears to be the last of it. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded with themes of plagiarism and adoptive families.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,354 reviews61 followers
April 6, 2016
A Clue in the Stew by Connie Archer is the fifth book in the Soup Lover’s Mystery series. The town is all abuzz because mystery writer, Hilary Stone is coming to Snowflake, Vermont to do a book signing. Eleanor Jensen had set up the book signing to take place at the Congregational Church Hall, but they have a leaky roof (and it is currently being repaired). Eleanor needs to find a new location and only one place is big enough. By the Spoonful is owned by Lucky Jamison. Lucky agrees to have the event at the restaurant. Meg Findly, their waitress, is especially excited. Meg just loved the book and wants to meet the author (guess who will be getting the night off). Meg has been a little testy lately with all the extra work she is doing at the diner since they lost their last waitress. Meg gives Lucky an ultimatum. Hire a new waitress, or Meg will quit. They are fortunate (or so they think) when a woman walks through the door looking for a job. Nanette Sims is new to the area. She has the necessary experience, but Lucky has reservations about her (especially with the way Nanette flirts with Jack, Lucky’s grandfather). But Lucky does not want to lose Meg, so she hires Nanette (with a thirty-day probationary period). Hilary Stone and her entourage (including a boorish son and his greedy wife) show up, and Lucky is amazed at how many people come to the book signing. The next morning, Ms. Stone is found dead in her room at the inn. She is killed just like the victims in her book. Hilary Stone’s death is similar to a recent unsolved murder in the area. Chief Nate Edgerton has his hands full with two murders. When evidence points to a regular customer of By the Spoonful, Lucky sets out to find the real killer. Lucky also has to decide what to do about Nanette. There is definitely something off about her and Lucky is worried about Jack getting hurt. Come join us in Snowflake, Vermont for another adventure with Lucky and her friends.

A Clue in the Stew was a great addition to the Soup Lover’s Mystery series. It was nice to revisit the characters (Lucky, Jack, Sage, Sophie, etc.) to see how they are faring. The book is very easy to read and I was pulled into the world in Snowflake immediately. While A Clue in the Stew is part of a series, it can be read by itself (but why not enjoy all the books in this cute series). The mystery was not complicated and the killer was, unfortunately, obvious. I did, though, enjoy figuring out Nanette. I knew she was up to something, but not sure what (was she involved in the murder or something else). I give A Clue in the Stew 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to my next visit to Snowflake and By the Spoonful in the next edition to the Soup Lover’s Mystery series.

I received a complimentary copy of A Clue in the Stew from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.
Profile Image for Katherine P.
406 reviews42 followers
April 4, 2016
I expected to enjoy this latest Soup Lover's Mystery because I had enjoyed the previous book but I didn't really expect to become so immediately hooked on the story. I loved the character but even more I wanted to know what happened next! Cozy mysteries are definitely one of my preferred genres and add food to the murder and I'm even more interested. That being said I'm pretty picky with them - particularly if the main character is an amateur detective which is the case here. There has to be a reason that the character is investigating and she has to behave like a mostly rational adult. In this case I didn't really hold Lucky to the same standard because I couldn't wait to solve the mystery. She could've gone on a crime spree to find the answers and I would have been perfectly okay with it (she didn't though - she did follow the rules for the most part though she is a bit in the nosy territory).

I loved seeing more of Lucky and the rest of the residents of Snowflake, Vermont. I really liked Sophie and Sage in the previous book so I enjoyed catching up with them as well as Lucky's grandfather, Jack, and her boyfriend, Elias. Nate is back as the Police Chief and once again is a capable and intelligent investigator who periodically resists the urge to strangle Lucky without being more than exasperated about it. While Lucky's restaurant, By The Spoonful, is a big part of the story it isn't unnecessary. It provides a background for collecting information regarding the murders and a setting for the conflict with the new waitress Nannette.
The mystery itself is really interesting. There's all kinds of secrets and jealousies. There's plenty of motives and any number of subjects. I absolutely loved the forming of the Murder Investigation Club and that all the people involved were really willing to share information and actually listen to each other. It made it feel like Lucky wasn't just investigating out on her own. I usually figure out the mystery ahead of time but I really didn't in this one. Until the reveal there were multiple theories that would fit the crime and I wasn't sure which one it would be.
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest mystery from Connie Archer. I didn't read it in one sitting but I would have if I could have gotten away with it! I'm glad I've got the first couple of books in this series to read so I won't have to wait until the next release to visit Snowflake and spend time with Lucky, Sage, Jack, Sophie and everyone else.
Full Review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot...
Profile Image for Paula Ratcliffe.
1,310 reviews71 followers
March 3, 2016
This is the fifth book in Soup Lovers Mystery it follows Lucky Jamieson and her grandfather Jack and the residents of Snowflake which are hosting a book signing of Hilary Stone. But before that happens a woman is found dead in the woods and the police are working on that murder. Not long into this book the author Hilary Stones finds herself killed. The big question is who had the most to gain by killing the author and why? Also Barry's friend Hank has been AWOL for most of the week which is driving Barry with worry over his friend. What is Hank hiding and why?

I love this series it's not a typical cooking mystery. This one centers around a town that has a soup cafe type shop that people frequent and the chapters aren't inundated with recipes. Alot of cozy books lately are smack dab with recipes either at the beginning of a chapter or end. Which makes this book more enjoyable.

I had no idea who the bad guy was and was thoroughly enjoyable to read and learn more about adoption process which is mentioned in this book along with learn about some interesting characters that arrive to Snowflake and what their motive for being there was!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cooper.
505 reviews12 followers
February 15, 2019
I was looking forward to finding a new cozy mystery series. Sadly, I'm still looking.

Famous author, Hilary Stone, is coming to small town Snowflake, VT and everyone is all aflutter. But before she shows up, a dead body is found and the town is a buzz about how and why. The crazy characters that come to town with Hilary provide some humor and of course when Hilary is found dead, they provide a great line up of suspects.

My main issue concerned the dialogue. They spoke in full sentences, as in complete, full sentences. And on top of that, they continually used each others name. If I had been doing vodka shots every time they used someones name, I'd be wasted by page 12. There's a lot of backstory given, so much so that by half way through I wasn't really sure who was who and sadly, didn't really care.

There was a side storyline concerning Lucky's grandfather that I thought would go somewhere but it just kind of ended.

Overall I was disappointed with the novel, from the poor dialogue to the incessant backstory. And the recipes weren't even that exciting.
Profile Image for Karen.
503 reviews54 followers
March 28, 2016
There were several reasons I enjoyed this book, one I felt that I could easily identify with Lucky, the main character. The main mystery plot and the sub plot had me guessing until the end but I was truly touched with the way that Connie Archer wrote about the relationships of the characters. I felt that (with out giving anything away) the story was written from a very thoughtful and very positive place. I felt that Connie Archer choose to take a very emotionally charged situation and character's life story and choose the high road for that character, without diminishing the truly remarkable survival story and resiliency of her characters. I was not expecting to feel the way I did towards the end of the story, I felt that I had been personally invested in Lucky's investigation and felt such relief with the outcome. I have a lot of respect for Connie Archer and how she choose to tell the story of A Clue in the Stew.
Profile Image for E.Michael Helms.
Author 8 books293 followers
March 13, 2016
I've only read an early ARC version of "A Clue in the Stew," but I can say it promises to be as entertaining and perplexing as the previous "Soup Lover's Mysteries." Ms. Archer has created a family of characters all looped around Snowflake, Vermont's favorite gathering place, By the Spoonful Soup Shop.
In this latest adventure, shop owner Lucky Jamieson plays host to a famous author. The gaiety of the evening's event ends with the discovery of a body (no spoilers here!) setting off a string of events where Lucky must solve this latest tragedy to keep By the Spoonful's and her own legacy intact.
Another intriguing and delightful cozy featuring Lucky, her Grandad Jack, and the rest of the gang from the By the Spoonful. Sure to delight all fans of Ms. Archer's previous books in the series, and to stir first-timer's interest to going back and reading the series from the beginning!
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews50 followers
April 5, 2016
A popular series, but this is the first time that I have read one of the series. Lucky Jamieson owns a restaurant that specializes in soup. Lucky agrees to hold a book signing in the evening as the restaurant is the only place that is large enough. The book is MURDER COMES A CALLING, a best-selling publication. Later that evening the author is found strangled in her room. Earlier in the day, a strange woman is found strangled in the nearby woods. Lucky and friends search for answers. Are murders related and is the culprit copying the book? There are enough twists and turns to hold your attention. The ending will surprise you.

Disclosure: I received a free copy from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review the book . The opinIons are my own.
Profile Image for Melina.
223 reviews18 followers
March 26, 2016

I have read one other book in this series and I enjoyed it, but this one was great. This one grabbed my attention form the beginning and kept it throughout. There were so many twists and turns and so many suspects, I just could not put this book down because I needed to know what happened next. Of course, the writing was superb, the book flowed so well, and it was a very easy read. I really liked how this group of friends came together to try to clear the name of a friend. It would be great to have a group of friends like that. Let me tell you, the ending was definitely not what I was expecting. I like when a cozy totally throws me for a loop like that. I will definetly be reading more in the Soup Lovers Myserty Series, even though I am really not a soup lover myself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
Profile Image for Shelley Giusti.
287 reviews100 followers
April 6, 2016
From the minute I opened this book I was drawn in to an action packed story in Snowflake, Vermont. With famous author Hillary Stone coming in town for a book signing and dealing with a new waitress that has other motives Lucky Jamison sure has her hands full. Getting the Soup Shop ready for the crowds that will come to the book event and keeping her grandfather Jack from making a mistake with the new waitress she doesn't need anything else to take up her time. So when a murder takes place that disrupts everything Lucky knows she has to find out who the killer is and why they are attacking her friends. This is a charming and delicious murder mystery that will keep you wanting more.The cast of characters take this story to epic proportions with a twist that will leave you stunned at the end.
Profile Image for Becky.
484 reviews8 followers
June 21, 2016
A Soup Lover's Mystery series is an example of a series that keeps getting better which seems very challenging! Each book is different even though we have the same characters, except for the extras needed for murder and mayhem. I love the people who are the regulars and that Nate does excellent police work! There definitely was a stew of suspects and more than one mystery to be solved, so I enjoyed reading! And I did not figure everything out--a bonus!
Profile Image for Christi.
95 reviews6 followers
June 25, 2016
The Soup Lover's series is one my favorites. The characters are all interesting, and I love the relationship between Lucky, the main character, and her grandfather, Jack. The mystery kept me guessing, and the solution was a surprise. I can't wait for my next visit to Snowflake, Vermont and the By The Spoonful Soup Shop.
Profile Image for Kyla.
14 reviews1 follower
March 31, 2016
You know a book is great when you finish it in less than 48 hours! The characters are great and the author does a great job of keeping there story lines up so you grow attached to them even more. I also loved how there was more than one mystery and they all intertwined And worked together in the plot! Hopefully there will be more in the series!
777 reviews10 followers
June 8, 2020
Lucky ends up using her Restaurant as a signing place for a mystery writer who has come to town. On top of that Nanette (a stranger who just walks off the street) has decided to work there. Later after the signing early in the morning the author is found dead in her room by the same item that was used in her book. While Lucky is trying to keep her business going, find out who Nanette really is, Elias, her current boyfriend has shown the engagement ring (which was his mom's) to Sophie (Lucky's close friend) and is trying to figure out a good time to propose to Lucky.
Profile Image for Trisha Georgiou.
Author 2 books6 followers
August 28, 2017
I absolutely loved this book. Although it is the 5th book in the series, I started with this one.
I completely understood all of the dynamics of the characters. It reads as a stand alone book.
The plot twists were fantastic. I actually did not figure out the mystery. The villain was not whom I
expected which made the book even better. I can't wait to try the recipe that was included.
597 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2017
This is a difficult series to connect to for solving the mystery. After figuring out who was who in the large variety of characters, a Vermont setting, and an ending that was fitting for the story. I do not know if there will be more reading by this author.
156 reviews
February 22, 2018
An enjoyable quick read. I thought I had it all figured out half way through, but I was wrong!! Several twists and turns made it a fun interesting story. Nice blend of characters. ...and recipes at the back of the book!
Profile Image for Michelle English.
243 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2021
Great book with a killer ending, hahah. Really good writing, I hope she writes another one. There are a lot of ups and downs in this one, irritations, loss, fear, love, laughter. Just highly recommended, The cast is great.
19 reviews
December 4, 2017
This book kept me guessing to the end! Great characters, and a fun setting.
Profile Image for Olivia.
11 reviews
April 2, 2019
Last book of the series, did not want it to end but had to finish it! Highly recommend this series!
June 2, 2020
I dont think she has written anymore - but I wish that there were more.....it was a good book - and I enjoyed this one just as much as all the rest from this series.
Profile Image for OpenBookSociety.com .
3,806 reviews116 followers
April 27, 2016

A Clue in the Stew
Soup Lover’s Mystery, Book #5
By Connie Archer
ISBN: 9780425273128
Author website: http://www.conniearchermysteries.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


Soup shop owner Lucky Jamieson stirs up more trouble in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave…

When Lucky Jamieson opens up By the Spoonful to host an event with a famous author, she’s not expecting a bunch of nuts to descend on her small-town soup shop. But the author’s exasperating entourage—from a prickly publicist to a snippy son and his tipsy wife—give fresh meaning to the phrase, too many cooks spoil the broth.

The evening is more than spoiled, however, when it ends with a homicide. When the manner of the murder—as well as another recent unsolved crime—echoes the author’s fiction, Police Chief Nate Edgerton realizes he has a copycat killer on his hands. And Lucky hopes that one of her regular customers who has mysteriously gone missing isn’t involved. Once again, the soup shop owner will need to stir up some clues to find her friend and catch a cunning killer—before things really take a tureen for the worse.


A Clue in the Stew is the fifth installment in author Connie Archer’s “Soup Lover’s Mystery” series. Owner of the Spoonful, Lucky Jamieson is called on to open her restaurant for an event that will laud a famous author coming to town. Hilary Stone is well known and rumors are that she is even looking to move to Snowflake, Vermont. When the original site becomes unusable, Lucky lets the party be held at her place. Lucky is shorthanded but wants to help out. Her only wait staff has given her an ultimatum – hire some help or she is gone. Lucky promises to hire the first person that applies. A brash newcomer insists she is the perfect person for the job and Lucky is between a rock and hard place and has to hire her. Nanette is a good waitress, but her insistence that things need to change and her latching on to Lucky’s grandfather Jack are making it hard for her. Then the author’s entourage appear and things really head downhill.

Not only is there a stranger found murdered in the woods nearby, but after the horrible author event, Lucky finds out that Hilary Stone has been murdered. Worse yet, she was murdered using the very same method as her own book. Then Lucky finds out that one of her regulars has gone missing and things go from bad to worse. Witnesses can place her missing friend Hank at the scene of the murder. Lucky knows he is innocent, but if she cannot find him how can she prove it. As far as she is concerned the murdered author’s family should be the prime suspects. They are rude and plain odd. Lucky and her friends dig up old history, buried secrets, hidden relationships and hopefully come up with the true killer. All the while, Nanette is making inroads with Jack and Lucky worries about the future of her beloved Spoonful.

A Clue in the Stew is filled with an intriguing mystery that has several twist and turns and side stories. The characters are interesting and well written. The way the author has woven all the stories together and meshed them so that they flow as one is wonderful. I did think I had it figured out several times only to have my guess dashed by more clues revealed. The author’s family was easy to dislike. I do not think I cared much for the way Jack and Nanette’s relationship was portrayed. Even though I had not read any of the other books, I had a hard time seeing Jack acting the way he was in this one. I did enjoy the friendships Lucky had with her townsfolk. They seemed very real and heartfelt.

A Clue in the Stew is the 5th in Connie Archer’s series and it is the first one I have read. I do not think you have to read the others in order to enjoy this one. It is a well written enjoyable cozy mystery that is wonderfully paced and has plenty of twists and turns. The several side stories meld well with the main story-line and bring everything together. Even though I thought for sure I had figured things out, I had not and was kept guessing throughout. The way the friends come together to help each other is one of the main things I enjoy in cozies and this one had it by the tons. The characters were all well developed and the story is intriguing and well written. This savory read really hit the spot.
541 reviews12 followers
May 16, 2016
A Clue in the Stew is our fifth visit with Lucky and Jack and Elias and Sage and Sophie and all the regulars at the By the Spoonful Soup Shop in Snowflake, Vermont. It’s easy in a series to say each book is better than the last, but with Connie Archer’s Soup Lover’s Mystery series it’s true. The characters are fully developed and their lives as every bit as interesting as the murders.

There is lot going on this time, with people coming and going, the past creeping up, and some difficult decisions to be made. Lucky is more or less talked into hosting an author event at the Soup Shop. A temperamental author with secrets from her past, and an entourage made up of equally difficult people with secrets of their own. By the time the murder occurs, we have met so many unsavory characters that we can’t imagine who could have done it, and we really want many of them to be guilty.

And if that isn’t enough, there’s a floozy in town and Lucky’s grandfather Jack has fallen head over heels in love with her. So much so that he is going to marry her. They say love is blind, and Jack can’t see anything but his ladylove. Connie Archer has done an especially good job of developing Jack’s character. At first look he’s just a stubborn, old guy who is set in his ways and wants to be treated with respect. But a closer look reveals that Jack is reminiscent of many older gentlemen we may know: life has taken its toll, they are not quite as confident as they once were, but they have their pride and when life presents them with something that makes them feel young and alive again, they grab on and don’t want to let go. So Lucky has a bit of a dilemma. She loves Jack dearly and doesn’t want to hurt or disrespect him, but that floozy has to go!

Lucky is all grown up. She’s not the young girl who returned to Snowflake after her parents’ deaths but a strong, loyal, determined, stubborn woman who will do what she needs to to take care of and protect her family, friends and her town. Her romance with Elias is moving along nicely, and she no longer seems like the star-struck girl with the crush on the doctor.

It sneaks up on you that the people are as important as the crime. You are as interested in what has happened to everyone in the past, how it affects their lives in the present, and what will happen to them in the future as you are in solving the murder. And then you realize that all of the people stuff is part of the whodunit. This is one of those books that has you speculating how the characters live the rest of their lives once the book is over.

Once again, Connie Archer has written a book you can’t put down, that makes you feel like you’ve gone home. If you haven’t been to Snowflake yet, you need to plan your trip now.
Profile Image for LuAnn.
259 reviews37 followers
April 3, 2016
If cozy mysteries are a sub-genre of mysteries in general, and food cozies are a sub-sub-genre of cozies, then each 'course' must be a sub x 3 genre. And I dub Connie Archer 2016 "Chef De Fer" of the soup course!

Seriously, what is more cozy than coming home after a day spent outdoors in winter (shoveling snow, hitting the slops, etc, etc) than to put your feet up on the couch while the wood fire warms your outsides and a nice bowl of soup warms your insides? Not much, let me tell you!

I really love cozies where the main location is a small-town or rural restaurant (aka foodie haven) because they remind me of the little 'country store' up the road. They're the kind of places where the regulars are SO regular that if someone doesn't show up one morning, they get a call or a visit from one of the other regulars. They're the kind of places where you walk in and someone asks, "Did your father-in-law buy a new house, 'cause someone said ... " and you have to say, "I have no idea." The grapevine works fast in small towns. (I didn't even know he was looking for a new house!)

Then 'something happens'. Big City Author and hangers-on come to town for a book signing. Of course, 'nothing' is like it is in NYC. Well, duh! Soon the townfolk are rushing around with tight smiles, trying to see to the numerous wants of the visitors. But then, the author is found dead in her room in the morning. And another woman recently died in the same manner. And that's too much of a coincidence in a small town --- or most anywhere for that matter.

And, a morning 'regular' at Lucky's has not been seen since the day the author came to town. Is he dead? Is he the culprit? So the group decides to look for him. That's another good thing about small towns. They stick up for their own. Then they get in danger and back off...but not all the way (do they ever?). Do they find him? Will he be allright? If he did kill the author, what will they do?

Well, I hate spoilers and that's all (almost) I'm going to say about that. There were numerous suspects, and truthfully, it did not look good for the friend. I have to admit, I was surprised in the end.

This is the first book in this series that I have read - but that's not a problem, because it reads quite well as a standalone. And it won't stop me from going back and picking up the other books.

Now, some soups are too hot. Some soups are too cold. Clue in the Stew is just right!

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
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