A Trifle Dead, Livia Day, Twelfth Planet Press, 2013.
In my other reading life, I do enjoy a good armchair crime novel. For a week’s holiday last year, some friends and I went to Tasmania and travelled around for a few days living the stereotypical foodie and nature lifestyle. A Trifle Dead by Livia Day celebrates the culture of Hobart within the trappings of a crime novel. Tabitha Darling is a policeman’s daughter who owns a hip cafe in Hobart. A man dies of an overdose upstairs from her cafe and Tabitha, who has a nose for gossip and a love of rubbing local policeman, Bishop, up the wrong way, soon wants to know exactly what is going on. The thing is, the more she discovers, the more things seem to be spiralling back to her!
From the blurb because it is too funny not to quote:
Tabitha Darling has always had a dab hand for pastry and a knack for getting into trouble. Which was fine when she was a tearaway teen, but not so useful now she’s trying to run a hipster urban cafe, invent the perfect trendy dessert, and stop feeding the many (oh so unfashionable) policemen in her life.
When a dead muso is found in the flat upstairs, Tabitha does her best (honestly) not to interfere with the investigation, despite the cute Scottish blogger who keeps angling for her help. Her superpower is gossip, not solving murder mysteries, and those are totally not the same thing, right?
But as that strange death turns into a string of random crimes across the city of Hobart, Tabitha can’t shake the unsettling feeling that maybe, for once, it really is ALL ABOUT HER.
And maybe she’s figured out the deadly truth a trifle late…
This was a fun, modern read, that managed to be a mystery story, a celebration of cooking, a sparkling romance and a portrait of Hobart all at once. The writing was humerous and characters leapt off the page. I loved that the author acknowledged social media and current popular culture, in particular hipster popular culture, rather than simply ignoring it and I especially loved the sparks flying between Tabitha, Bishop and the scottish blogger, Stewart. I don’t want to ruin the plot so I am keeping this review brief but the bottom line is that I had a rollicking good time reading this novel. Bonus points to the publishers for the trifle recipes supplied at the end of the book. I certainly hope that more Livia Day novels are forthcoming!
A Trifle Dead: 4/5 inky stars
NB: A copy of this novel was supplied to InkAshlings by the publisher
Copies can be purchased from Twelfth Planet Press