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A Peach of a Murder (Fresh-Baked Mystery #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,374 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
All year round, retired schoolteacher Phyllis Newsom is as sweet as peach pie-except during the Peach Festival, whose blue ribbon has slipped through Phyllis's fingers more than once...Everyone's a little shook up when the corpse of a no-good local turns up underneath a car in a local garage. But even as Phyllis engages in some amateur sleuthing, she won't let it distract ...more
Paperback, 251 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Signet
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May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
This is murder meets the Golden Girls. The four main characters are retired teachers who all live together. While the characters weren't quite enough to hold me interest, I did think it was good. I did not figure out the killer until the main character started realizing who it was. The recipes are great.
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: livia-washburn
A Peach of A Murder was a wonderful beginning to a fun, light cozy series. Phyllis Newsom is a widowed retired schoolteacher living in a house with several of her close friends and fellow retirees from the world of education when she is unexpectedly thrown into the mix of a murder. While she is picking peaches for a cooking contest at the county fair, the owner of the orchard is found dead under mysterious circumstances and Phyllis may be one of the only witnesses to the crime. After her son, a ...more
Mark Baker
Mar 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, 2006
The annual peach festival is coming and Phyllis is hoping she can finally beat her friend and roommate in the backing festival. However, she gets distracted when some murders start happening. I didn't like the characters, the plot was bad, and the writing was distracting.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a very likable book. The mysteries were well-crafted and kept my attention while learning to enjoy the new characters within the plot. The dialog was readable and made the book a pleasure. I was surprised but not after the explanation of the culprit whom seemed a victim as well as a killer.

I will read the next in the series.
BJ Rose
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good first book in a series that I plan on continuing! It involves senior citizens and retired teachers, both of which describe me, so I was able to (mostly) relate. I also enjoy baking, so that works for me as well. Kudos to the author for doing a good job of masking the identity of the murderer, which I did not figure out until the main character did.
Lynn Demsky
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really entertaining good read! I enjoyed the characters, and how they all not only live together but work well in this story! Kept my interest and didn't guess who did it until the author told me. Already ordered the 2nd in this series! Of course I enjoy peaches also so............
Brenda Kirton
Good to finally read the first of the series. I can definitely feel what the characters are like. Multiple seemingly unrelated murders, with a very unexpected connection. But when you look back it fits. Very good mystery.
Sep 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge
Good start to the series. I liked the characters and look forward to seeing what happens to them in the future. Good mystery as well.
A Peach of a Murder by Livia J. Washburn

A Peach of a Murder is obviously a murder mystery. And to top off the fun, it's a baking murder mystery! It is the first book in Livia J. Washburn's baking mystery series: A Fresh-Baked Mystery.

Phyllis Newsom lives in the area of Texas famous for its peaches. Each year a huge peach festival occurs in the town, complete with a baking competition, and this year Phyllis is determined to win.

However, Phyllis has a rival, her own boarder, Carolyn, who has taken
Diane Morasco
A Peach of a Murder kicks off Livia J. Washburn's mouthwatering Fresh-Baked Mystery series. Yummy!

Let me tell you straight away, you will definitely be on the hunt for a Peach Festival & some heavenly peach-pie piping hot from the oven. Oh, go ahead, toss on a few scoops of ice cream. I'm not Paula Deen so homemade is not necessary for this foodie. Good 'ole Turkey Hill or Blue Bunny does the trick. Crazy good!

I read A Peach of a Murder w/ my faux Texas accent which is actually quite good...
A Peach of a Murder by Livia J. Washburn is the first book of the Fresh-Baked Mystery series set in modern-day Parker County Texas. Phyllis Newsom is a retired teacher, a widow who decided to keep her home and share it with fellow retired teachers as roommates. Carolyn Wilbarger is not only Phyllis’ roommate, but her rival in the annual peach festival cooking contest. Phyllis and Carolyn are very secretive about their original contest recipes, concealing their cooking efforts from each other in ...more
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
A Peach of Murder is book one in Livia J. Washburn’s A Fresh Baked Mystery Series, which now boasts nine books. The protagonist, Phyllis, is perfecting her peach recipes for competition, when a murder occurs at the peach orchard. Her son is a local cop and that gives her an in with inside information and leads that she wouldn’t know about otherwise. Phyllis’s husband has died and she has turned the family home into a boarding house, mainly for retired teachers. One is an older good friend of her ...more
Dharia Scarab
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it

Since I don't normally write reviews unless I have something specific to say, here's the break down of how I rate my books...

1 star... This book was bad, so bad I may have given up and skipped to the end. I will avoid this author like the plague in the future.

2 stars... This book was not very good, and I won't be reading any more from the author.

3 stars... This book was ok, but I won't go out of my way to read more, But if I find another book by the author for under a dollar I'd pick it up.

4 sta
Text Addict
This is the first of a proposed "Fresh-Baked Mystery" series. Here, heroine Phyllis Newsom is a retired schoolteacher whose peach cobbler is the last item one of the festival food judges tastes before he keels over, poisoned! The other two deaths don't appear to form a pattern ... but there is one, and a rather sad one at that. With a hint of potential romance arriving with a new boarder in Phyllis's house - another of several retired schoolteachers - and comfortingly competent law enforcement, ...more
Connie N.
#1 in the Fresh-Baked cozy mystery series.

I liked it. The heroine, a retired history teacher, is a bit old-fashioned and straight-laced, which sometimes makes her seem a bit off-putting because of her rigid standards. But basically she is a thoughtful and intelligent woman with a strong loyalty to her friends and a need to "do the right thing." In this first book of the Fresh-Baked Mysteries, she enters a peach cooking contest in her home town, with dire results. There are delicious-sounding rec
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I had no interest in finishing this book. Picture The Golden Girls (one really old woman, one sexually voracious senior, one home owner and her rival/frenemy renter) but in the South. I LOVED Murder, She Wrote, but this is nothing like that series.

I'l make a copy of the peach cobbler recipe, but I don't care who murdered the guy and reading about a bunch of old ladies squabbling while trying to solve it.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I was surprised when I found out who the murderer was at the end. It kind of left me sad at the end of the book.
Overall, the book was a quick read. The characters were nice and I found myself wanting to get back to reading sooner rather than later. It's like The Golden Girls meets Cozy Mysteries.
Alyssa White
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery
HA! This book is so great! It is so cute and so unexpected. It is like the Golden Girls meets Cozy Mystery, which is really great! The characters are so adorable - makes you wonder what they could get into next!
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
I thought I would like this book better because it is set close to where I live...but I thought it was just ok and probably won't read the rest of the series.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this cozy, I thought the writing and development of the characters were great!
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Nice debut to a cozy series. I found Carolyn a little hard to take, but I'll definitely give the next book in the series a go!
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. It was a really sweet and cozy read.
Cheryl Bradley
Summer is upon Weatherford, Texas, and retired history teacher Phyllis Newsom has a lot on her plate. She is busily trying to prepare a recipe for her entry in the cooking contest at the Parker County Peach Festival. In addition, she is worried about the declining health of her boarder and fellow retired teacher, Mattie Harris and is welcoming a new boarder, retired basketball coach Sam Fletcher into her house.

While picking peaches with Mattie, the owner of the peach orchard, Newt Bishop, is kil
Versel Rush
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Versel by: Amazon
I love Washburn's literary tour series. I love Texas mystery writers. I love mysteries set it Texas. So I thought the fresh-baked mysteries would be perfect (I even love Weatherford). Oh, was I wrong.

The settings and Texasisms included in the book are spot on. And, unfortunately, those are the ONLY things to like in this book.

The book plods along--and I mean PLODS. The dialogue is a little stilted but I'm assuming a way to differentiate her older school-marmish characters. However, being friends
Terri Rowe
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an intriguing book for me. I think this is the first time I have read a book set in Texas. It was comforting and enjoyable to see that they have their fairs and festivals that they feel as passionately about as we feel about ours her in Michigan. I look forward to making both of the peach dessert recipes at the end of the book.
Phyllis Newsom is a retired teacher that lives in a big old farm house, renting out rooms to some of her friends, also retired teachers. They all seem to get alon
3 1/2 Stars. The annual peach festival in Weatherford, Texas is disrupted by two unexpected deaths that turn out to be murders. Phyllis Newsom is not only put out because the Peach Cook-off judging is disrupted but because one of her good friends and boarders is the chief suspect. Despite warnings from just about everyone, Phyllis is determined to find the real murderer.

This story about retired school teachers who share a house has been compared to The Golden Girls and I see a bit of that. Mostl
Tabby Kat
May 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's summer, and Parker County, Texas, is gearing up for the annual Peach Festival. That includes retired teacher Phyllis and her friend and boarder Carolyn. Both women always enter the cooking contest. Carolyn usually wins, and Phyllis is determined to beat her this year.

While the two women are out picking peaches, the farm's owner dies. His death could be ruled an accident, but it might also be murder. Phyllis's son, an officer with the sheriff's department, investigates. Unfortunately, he ca
Oct 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: texas-mystery
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Mystery/2006/251 pgs
TIME/PLACE: Present/Dallas-Ft Worth area, TX
CHARACTERS: Phyllis Newsom/retired school teacher & boarding house owner
FIRST LINES: The smell of peaches filled the air, sweet but w/ a particular bite all its own. Warm sunshine flooded the orchard. Later, the sun would be hot, oppressively so, but now, in the early morning, basking in its glow was liek lu
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
It appears that I've just read a very good book, which in my book, happens once in a blue moon. What a dramatic yet emotional finale. I'm bowled over. I can't imagine the subsequent books in the series to live up to the benchmark set by this one. In a good but eerie way, the story reminded me of my favorite medium, which is anime. I can pay no higher compliment than that. It would be wonderful if this story is adapted onscreen and my hunch or insight or whatever is validated. The last time that ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
In Livia Washburn's a Peach of a Murder, the first installment of the Fresh-Baked Cozy Mystery series, we sink her teeth into this culinary cozy debut with secrets and lies come out. It all started with the murder of Newt Bishop, when Phyllis Newsom was getting ready for the Annual Peach Festival with the baking festival. And that's when Sam Fletcher, a new boarder at Phyllis's came in. At the time for the judging for the pies, Donnie Boatright had died before the judging results came out. It wa ...more
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Under the names Livia J. Washburn and L.J. Washburn, Livia Reasoner has been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery, western, romance, and historical novels for more than thirty years. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories. She received the Private Eye Writers of America award and the American My ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Fresh-Baked Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
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  • The Christmas Cookie Killer (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #3)
  • Killer Crab Cakes (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #4)
  • The Pumpkin Muffin Murder (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #5)
  • The Gingerbread Bump-Off (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #6)
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