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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Murder at the Church Picnic by Denise Jaden is the second book in the Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper series. Mallory Beck's life changed when her husband passed away and changed again after she gave her condolences to a grieving family. One casserole later and she was in over her head searching for a killer. Her husband had been an expert on mysteries and while Mallory may not be in the same league as Sherlock Holmes, she's found that she has some skill stumbling onto murders. Mallory lands in another murder mystery when she attends a church picnic and a bride is found dead. Not only is the groom's family against the wedding, but the bride's ex is involved, which leads Mallory into a whole mess of family drama.
The center of the mystery focuses on a young engaged couple who have the cards stacked against them for their upcoming wedding with the groom's family and the bride's ex against it. This gives Mallory lots of suspects to explore while she continues to dive in. The further she goes into the community the more she seems to stumble onto mysteries. Denise Jaden knows how to capture the charm of this genre and the sweet nature of Mallory adds to the heart of the story that finds her both humorous and clever to take on the role of an amateur sleuth. Her big heart is what drives her character to help those in need and is what leads her to find the truth. Murder at the Church Picnic is charming with a lighthearted tone that keeps the mystery upbeat though Jaden weaves in gentle layers of suspense that will keep you guessing. Denise Jaden delivers a mystery that is hard to put down!