In Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack, Sadie Hoffmiller is an upstanding citizen. She is an adored teacher, heads up fundraisers and is highly involved in various charitable works. Sadie also holds the spare key to all the houses in her neighborhood and knows everything that goes on there--which equates to her being an incurable busy body.
One morning, she is making homemade applesauce when several cop cars whiz past her house and into the small circle in which she lives. When she abandons her chore to find out what is happening, she is devastated to find that her neighbor and friend, Anne Lemmon, is dead--and Anne's son Trevor is missing.
Sadie feels compelled by duty, friendship, and just a little dose of curiosity to help the police solve Anne's murder and find the missing Trevor. However, while Detective Cunningham is receptive to her offer of assistance, Madsen is off-putting and hostile from the very start. His expelling her from the crime scene leads her to investigate on her own, and she proceeds to follow up on leads she gains through means that aren't exactly above-board. Through her efforts, Sadie learns that Anne had some unsavory secrets, and somehow Sadie’s fiancé and brother are involved. Sadie is desperate to find the truth, even though she faces constant threats of arrest or worse. However, she knows she has to solve the case to save Trevor's life.
One of the fun aspects of Josi Kilpack's Lemon Tart and her other books English Trifle and Devil's Food Cake is that she includes recipes for some of the delicious treats that make appearances in the story, along with useful homemaking tips. However, the recipes aren't just a gimmick to get you to read. Josi Kilpack weaves a delightfully complicated story. I was guessing about what happened up until the very end, finding surprises at every turn. At the same time, it had that Chick Lit quality of a fun, kooky main character--even if she was frustratingly self-righteous at times. Although I found some of the characters to be a little unbelievable in some places, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book in the slightest. In fact, I found it hard to put down before I reached the very satisfying conclusion.
Lemon Tart is published by Deseret Book (March 4, 2009) and retails for $17.99. It is available only in paperback and is 368 pages long. At 8.5" x 5.5" .x 1", it is not an uncomfortable or heavy book to hold, but this is not a buying factor for me.