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Engagement and Espionage

(Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,746 ratings  ·  708 reviews
Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most "fowl" need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental d
Paperback, 350 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by Cipher-Naught
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Penny Reid YES! Chris Brinkley and Joy Nash are recording it right now. I expect it will be available in September!
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,746 ratings  ·  708 reviews

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Start your review of Engagement and Espionage (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Series, #1)
Penny Reid
May 16, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)

AHHHH! It’s here!! You can now read ‘Engagement and Espionage’ far and wide. I’m so excited to launch this spin-off series. Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries…sorry, I had to take a breath there…is part small-town romance, part cozy mystery, and basically all shenanigans. I hope you love it!! But it’s okay if you don’t. TODAY IS THE DAY!

** Engagement and Espionage LINKS **
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:
3.5 stars


Engagement and Espionage is the first book in Penny Reid’s new cozy mystery series and I couldn’t wait to read it because, more Cletus and Jenn!

This story takes place after Beard Science, which is one of my favorite Winston Brothers books. It’s a little bit of Cletus and Jenn’s relationship development, a little bit of Jenn standing up to her mom and setting boundaries, and a lot of the mystery in Green Valley. Who’s killing the chickens or burning the bee hives? It seems to be on
Phuong ✯
#0 Beard Science ↠ 5 stars
#1 Engagement and Espionage ↠ 4 stars
"And to all the Cletus and Jenn stans, this book is most definitely 100% for you."

Engagement and Espionage is definitely a love letter from Penny Reid to every single person who wanted more of Cletus and Jennifer story. Therefore, I would highly advise to read it AFTER you've read Beard Science. Even though E&E is the first book of a new series, I don't think it works well as a standalone, because it's the continuance of the coup
Gah, so I absolutely love the Winston Brothers series, and I think all fans that were hit with the amazing and emotional ending of Beard Necessities were ecstatic to learn that Penny Reid would start a new spinoff series featuring the amazing couple that is Cletus and Jenn.

Returning to this world is so comforting and definitely such a soothing experience in these very weird times we're living in. Having said that, first I don't recommend this to people who haven't read Beard Science (Cletus and
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

Good Lord, now I’d offended his serene layers.

Chicken sausage? I didn’t grimace, and that was a miracle. Chicken sausage was akin to turkey bacon, an abomination.

That old man is mean as a badger with half a brain.

My Review:

This was a fun, engaging, and pleasurably engrossing read with healthy servings of mystery, family drama, and romance. Oddly sinister crimes were occurring in Green Valley and surprisingly, it all started with choked chickens and had nothing to do with the crim
Aisling Zena
3 stars


So maybe I blew this too big in my head because I was really disappointed... Cletus just wasn't Cletus and they while they were together they hadn't spent time together since their book and for most of this book. Don't know if it's the book slump talking but this was a let down, unfortunately.

Sadly it was not amazing.




Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know yet how I feel about this book.

Sadly I wasn't really wowed by it.

But of course I loved Cletus and Jenn ♡ and I enjoyed the rest of the family as well, but there were a couple instances I wasn't a fan of. So, I would say it was average, bad had the potential of being great.

Full review to come.....


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Pavlina Read more sleep less blog
<3 4,5 stars <3

What a nice surprise, I loved it!Every minute of it, it was just so good!My favorite characters are back and I find the story interesting and I was intrigued.Engagement and Espionage was fast paced,addictive,heartwarming and cute!


This book takes place shortly after where Beard Science left us.In this story you get to see how Jenn tries to become herself and not what her parents wanted for her!I really love Jenn, she is amazing and I wanted to hug her!Cletus is still my favorite ma
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, 2020-favorites, arcs
Nothing quite like being back with the Winstons in Green Valley.

I missed Cletus and reading his POV so much. He's an annoying yet entertaining smartass and I love him for it. The snarky comments in his mind are so funny to read. His mischievous and devious character is perfect for a bunch of cozy mysteries.

I loved that we could see here how much Jenn has grown from Beard Science. YES, she realizes her worth! She's setting boundaries! She's standing up for herself and voicing out her opinions! Th
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

This is the first time in over a month that I read a book and had a really, really hard time putting it down. And for that alone I loved this book.

It was so great being back with Cletus, Jenn and the Winston clan! If nothing else, this book made me want to reread the Winston Brothers series so bad! I missed these characters so much and I loved being with Cletus and Jenn so, so much.

I love how we get to see these characters still growing, still learning and most of all we are shown tim
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

I don’t know about all of you, but . . . . .

And this year?????

I freaking created LIFE (on accident) in our compost heap. But look how perfect it is!!!! I’m pretty sure the ‘Rona has given me superpowers and this is just the first I’ve discovered so you better stay on my good side.

For me, Autumn also signifies the start of Cozy Mystery season. Sure, you can read cozies all year long, but the entire term “cozy” conjures
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-2
Is it possible to get enough Jenn and Cletus Winston? The answer would be no. I was so, so happy when I heard there would be more Green Valley books, and mysteries!!! Cletus is working on proposing to Jenn (in a perfectly Cletus-like way) and Jenn is still working on standing up to her mother while working way too many hours at the bakery. In the meantime, something is happening to her suppliers around Green Valley. Can she and Cletus solve the mystery of the chickens and the cows and the county ...more
h o l l i s
BEARD SCIENCE is one of my favourite Winston Brothers books so I was thrilled to hear that Reid was bringing Cletus and Jenn back into the forefront (though lets be honest, Cletus steals the show in pretty much all the books) for their own spinoff that bridges some of the time jumps in the main series.

Getting even was a waste of time. Why would I get even when I could get the advantage?

I think what I loved most, beyond being reunited with this family (even if it's back in time and not everything
Elle Kennedy

Engagement and Espionage is LIVE!

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!
Cletus and Jenn return in this part small-town romance, part cozy mystery full of shenanigans.

Grab Engagement and Espionage Everywhere!

** BLURB **
This book is best read after reading ‘Beard Science’, Winston Brothers Book 3

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 d
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CLETUS AND JENN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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That's it. That's the review.


Well... At least it's the accurate summary, lol.

Fair warning: I'm biased.

Cletus and Jenn are my babies and whatever (that's acceptable to me, lol) PR writes about them, I'm going to like it. I'm one of those lucky bitches for whom PR wrote this book.
[...] to all the Cletus and Jenn stans, this book is most definitely 100% for you.
I also read Beard Science 5 times. Last time was actually right before this book, growing
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
We were still at the beginning, our beginning, and I’d never been as truly happy in my entire life as I lived and breathed and endured during the moments we spent together.

Only Cletus and Jenn could pull this off! A whole book about them being their odd, funny and sweet selves while solving a mystery that could only happen in Green Valley. This book (and series) is definitely a gift for the fans that I really appreciate.

This story takes after the events in Beard Science where Cletus
If you’re in the US, I’m hosting a giveaway for a paperback copy of this book on my bookstagram: Make sure to enter!!!! 🤩

5++++++ stars!

No two characters deserve to be featured in a cozy mystery series as much as Cletus and Jenn. When I first heard about this series and who it would be centered on, I remember thinking “oh, but of course!” I can’t help but feel like this genre fits these two characters more than perfectly! Engagement and Espionage was my mo
Caitlin Reads
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Penny Reid cozy mystery novel featuring Cletus and Jen. Have I died and gone to literary heaven? I am definitely delirious from the missed hours of sleep last night as I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. However, I have no regrets and will just need several extra cups of coffee today. This book follows Beard Science, a favorite Penny novel of mine. Fans will not be disappointed. I absolutely loved the romance and connection between Jenn and Cletus. It was really empowering reading the character de ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"𝑾𝒆 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒃𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑰’𝒅 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒍𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒎𝒚 𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒂𝒔 𝑰 𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒅𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒘𝒆 𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐𝒈𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓."


LOVED this book! 

Out of all the Winston brothers series, Cletus and Jenn story was my favorite I was so happy when Penny announced their spin-off.
It was immediately one my most anticipated books and Engagement and Espionage delivered, it's my favorite romance book of 2020.

Cletus was again everything and more. He's w
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-2020
"She would always be beautiful because her beauty was in her strength and resilience, her goodness and generosity, her cleverness and compassion, and no one could ever steal or change who she was."

Note: Although this is the first in a series, this book is best read after Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3).

Every time I start a new spin-off I get a little scared that the author is going to end up ruining my favorite characters/couples for nothing. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded in this c
MELISSA *Mel Reader*
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
4.5 Stars!
(ARC provided by Social Butterfly PR)


Cletus Winston and Jennifer Sylvester live in Green Valley, Tennessee where they unexpectedly fell in love. They were both peculiar and some might say a bit strange, but they just work. He’s protective and always puts her first and wants to fix all her problems, and she accepts and indulges his frequent meddling ways. She’s well know as a fabulous baker and the banana cake queen, and he’s known for his sausage, banjo playing and mischief. Newly
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine Science hadn't ended. What if there was more to Cletus and Jenn's love story than we knew? Now imagine they find themselves solving a mystery while their love story continues and evolves.

You can picture it, right? Cletus's machinations, Jenn's brave kindness, and cock--er, rooster jokes galore. Yeah, this is all of that and so much more. Romance, mystery, and ... sausage.
Bookphenomena (Micky)
What a delight it was to be back with Cletus and Jenn in ENGAGEMENT & ESPIONAGE. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the idea of a mystery series but it felt all the Winston familiarity I desired alongside a compelling set of circumstances. These characters (okay Cletus) had all the quirkiness and oddities you would expect, wrapped up in funny shennanigans. I was fully entertained from start to finish.

I love that Penny Reid has the confidence to drop you in a timeline you don’t expect and it 100%
SERIES: Solving for Pie no.1 but I recommend reading Beard Science before this
GENRE: contemporary romance, cozy mystery
TROPES & THEMES: a small-town romance
SONGS: Kane Brown- What's mine is yours
Dan+Shay- Speechless
Thomas Rhett- Blessed

I adore Cletus and Jenn!! so the whole spin-off series about them is something I wholeheartedly approve of. Basically, the storyline continues where Beard Science stops. We get more of the Winston brothers, a
Anna lost in stories *A*
*little disclaimer
I have been in the biggest reading slump of my life since the end of august… it lasted for about two months and was absolutely awful… fortunately around the end of october I finally got out of it and got back to reading more like I am used to :) unfortunately I still don’t want to sit down and write *proper* reviews… you know, detailed and with full and coherent sentences… ;) usually when I get like this I can wait it out and then catch up on everything once that mood passes, b
Maria Rose
Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid is the start of a spin-off mystery series from her highly entertaining Winston Brothers series. In Beard Science, Jennifer Sylvester and Cletus Winston began their romance when Cletus helped Jenn attain her independence from her parents. It was my favorite of the Winston Brothers stories, but I’ll be honest, I’m not usually that keen on stories that take place after the HEA or HFN ending. So I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about reading this first book in the So ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out all the Winston brothers my favorite always was Cletus since the first moment he appeared I wanted to read his book and when I did it Cletus and Jenn became one of my favorite couples, so obviously when I found out they were having a spin-off I was so excited and this series became one of the most anticipated for me.
The story begins right where beard science ends, Jennifer and Cletus are starting their relationship and overcoming the events of the previous book.
So I was a little scared becau
Lily Herman
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Y'all, shit's mighty desperate out here. We're in a pandemic. The United States is a big ol' pile of fiery garbage sludge. I'm trapped in my dark apartment and our sink drain is clogged.

So thank our almighty savior Penny Reid for knowing that there was only one thing we needed from her in the year of our Lord 2020, and that was a Cletus and Jenn spinoff mystery series. GOD. BLESS.

Am I still chaotic about the man in one of my all-time favorite contemporary romance duos being named CLETUS? Yes. Wa
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"She’d revealed her genius to me last fall while proving to be the most brilliant opponent I’d ever faced, by far. She’d bested me. Consequently, having no choice in the matter, I’d promptly fallen in love with her and was now besotted. Obviously."

How good it feels to get these characters back!

It has been no secret to anyone who knows me that ever since I read the Winston Brother series, it has become one my favorites ever, if not THE favorite. I mean, what's not to absolut
Carmen Rae
The thing that excited me most about this was that it feels like it's a sneak peek into their lives after the romance novel ends. Like at the end of the romance novel we kind of get a blanket, they all lived happily ever after but they still have life to live. And this feels like it's picked up and showing us the after the happily ever after.

Having been a fan of Cletus and his crazy mind I was so looking forward to getting more of him and Jenn. I went into this not realising that the time line o
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Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she writes kissing books. Penny is an obsessive knitter and manages the #OwnVoices-focused

Other books in the series

Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries (4 books)
  • Marriage and Murder (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries, #2)
  • Home and Heist (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Series, #3)
  • Baby and Ballistics (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Series, #4)

Articles featuring this book

Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts...
64 likes · 15 comments
“Talking, I was beginning to suspect, was the root of all evil. The ease of it in particular was an issue. Talk it out. Talk it over. Talk it through. Useless. If more folks thought it out, thought it over, and thought it through instead of talking, then the world would be less cluttered with opinions and assholes." Cletus Winston” 5 likes
“I shivered, also moving closer, irritated by the layers of clothes between us. "You're such a good teacher, you fell for your student." "Yes, I did." His beard tickled my neck as he sucked my earlobe into his mouth. “And I continue to fall, daily.” 5 likes
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