Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Book & Audio Review: Pork Pie Pandemonium by Steve Higgs

Pork Pie Pandemonium

Steve Higgs
Narrator: Charles Robert Fox
Series: Albert Smith's Culinary Capers Recipe 1
Publication: Kindle Unlimited (May 29, 2020)
Length: 5 hours and 33 minutes; 223 p.

Description: When a retired detective superintendent chooses to take a culinary tour of the British Isles, he hopes to find tasty treats and delicious bakes …

… what he finds is a clue to a crime in the ingredients for his pork pie.

His dog, Rex Harrison, an ex-police dog fired for having a bad attitude, cannot understand why the humans are struggling to solve the mystery. He can already smell the answer – it’s right before their noses.

He’ll pitch in to help his human and the shop owner’s teenage daughter as the trio set out to save the shop from closure. Is the rival pork pie shop across the street to blame? Or is there something far more sinister going on?

One thing is for sure, what started out as a bit of fun, is getting deadlier by the hour, and they’d better work out what the dog knows soon or it could be curtains for them all.

My Thoughts: Long-retired Detective Superintendent Albert Smith is recently widowed and has decided to set off on a tour of the country sampling, and learning to make, famous British culinary offerings despite the misgivings of his three children who are all serving police officers. He's traveling with his dog Rex Harrison who is a K-9 school dropout. Rex shares his thoughts with the reader even though Albert can't hear him.

Albert's first stop is Melton Mowbray where he is visiting Agnew's Perfect Pork Pie Emporium to learn to make the iconic pork pie. However, things are quickly disrupted when a severed thumb is found on one of the piles of meat the members of the class are supposed to turn into their own pies. 

With the owner of Agnew's in hospital after having her appendix removed, her seventeen-year-old daughter Donna is in charge. She is sure that it is just the latest prank by the owners of Simmons Pork Pie Palace which is just across the street, They have wanted to steal Agnew's business and reputation since they opened. It doesn't help that Donna and the Simmons son Toby had dated for a while.

Albert wants to help Donna. So, the first thing they need to do is try to identify the owner of the thumb which is made easier by the unique tattoo on it. Albert, Rex and Donna visit tattoo parlors and quickly identify the thumb's owner. They are surprised to learn that he is the night guard for the Simmons factory and is missing. 

They discover all sorts of things as they look into the case including a drug sting. Albert and Rex attract the attentions of the villains and have his room at the B&B where he is staying firebombed. 

I liked that Albert is 78 and quite a bit slower and creakier than he was in his working days. He's experiencing some memory issues and, at one point in the story, gets lost while doing some investigating. He also, like many of us older adults, finds himself in a crucial situation with a cellphone in need of a charge. I really like his relationship with Rex who has quite a mind of his own and who gets a chance to use his training in the story.

This was a fun story with a nicely quirky main characters who is determined to keep his independence and live his life in hos own way.

Favorite Quote:
The British Isles has so many famous meals: Lancashire hotpot, Eton mess, Eccles cakes, Cumberland sausages, the list was long and extensive. For no better reason than he couldn't think of a reason why he shouldn't, he packed a small suitcase and a backpack and set off.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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