Title: Death, Lies, and Apple Pies
Author: Valerie S Malmont
Publisher: Dell Books 
Length: 280 pages
Setting: The fictional village of Lickin Creek, Pennsylvania, present-day
Genre: Amateur sleuth / cosy
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My rating: 3.5/5
One-liner: A fast-paced, light read with fun characters.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Tori Miracle is a struggling horror author in New York who plans a week-long vacation in Lickin Creek Pennsylvania with her beau who is the town’s Sheriff, Garnet Gochenauer. On her first night in town one of the residents dies in her arms, but not before whispering that he was poisoned. Tori can’t make Garnet or the town’s doctor or anyone else believe the man died of anything other than natural causes so she starts investigating on her own. In the process she visits the town’s enigmatic herbalist, learns about plans for a nuclear waste dump in the town and uncovers a potentially historically significant graveyard.
This book has everything you’d expect in a cosy: a motley collection of quirky characters, a decently plotted if slightly absurd story and an amusing protagonist who hasn’t got the common sense of a 3 year-old (but if cosy protagonists were sensible there wouldn’t be cosies). I particularly enjoyed the exotic (to me) setting of the small Appalachian town (the local linguistic oddities that Tori explained as she went along were quite fascinating) and the fact that issues like the environmental and economic impacts of a waste dump weren’t just glossed over.
The story was fast-paced and kept my attention through a day of back-strain inducing queues and noisy waiting rooms (which is a task that other books have tried and failed) and is recommended as a light but far from silly read.