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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Four women have been brought together through their passion for food: Jane, Angela, Rohini, and Cynthia. When the restaurant for the retired Queen Mary, the once posh passenger ship used as a troopship during the Second World War, becomes available, the four women become partners and create a masterpiece of elegant dining in what they have dubbed the Secret Spice Café. Each woman brings with her a passion and a talent for something related to food and the food industry, but as well, each woman brings the baggage of past mistakes and sorrows that seek relief in this new endeavor. The Queen Mary is receptive to its newcomers and their emotional baggage, but the Queen Mary is also haunted by mysteries and ghosts whose deaths and disappearances remained unresolved for decades. Each partner must meet their own ghosts as well as the Queen Mary’s, resolving both their own past and the elegant ship’s past.
Patricia V. Davis’s visionary mystery novel, Cooking for Ghosts: Book I in The Secret Spice Café, is an exciting cozy mystery full of past and present tales and unresolved crises. With four powerful women at the helm, the Queen Mary and the newly opened Secret Spice Café is bound to enthrall mystery lovers, food lovers, as well as those who love a good, passionate romance (both historical and contemporary). This novel has it all, but food and ghosts top the headlines. Past and present ghosts come together as the plot thickens. All of this, combined with the elegant setting of the luxury passenger ship makes for a delicious and compelling story that will have the reader craving more. The language is exquisite, the description as elegant as the setting suggests and the characters, past and present, are well presented with all their joys and sorrows. Very well written.