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Bleeding Tarts by Kirsten Weiss
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Bleeding Tarts

by Kirsten Weiss

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This is the second book in the Pie Town Mystery series, but I did not read the first book and had no problem following this story. Val Harris owns Pie Town and is trying to drum up new business after hiring new employees. She had taken on a catering job for the Bar X Ghost Town that is holding a benefit. When Val and Charlene (her pastry baker) arrive at the fake ghost town, Val is shot at along with finding a dead body. As the story continues, Val is the victim of a couple more attempts on her life. Obviously, she is not taking that sitting down and is out to find the murderer as well as whoever is trying to kill her.

Charlene and Val are the Baker Street Bakers, sleuths ready to solve a mystery. Charlene, who says she is 42 but more like 82, is a hoot. She and her old nemesis Marla are trying to outdo each other in solving the murder and their encounters are so funny. She and Val get themselves in some sticky situations while trying to sort out the situation, but her individual investigations almost always end up in hilarity. The murder in this story happens right at the beginning of the story and the plot moves along quickly. The setting of a fake ghost town is pretty interesting and certainly very different from any others I have read about. If you are looking for a fun cozy mystery with a good mystery, pick up this book. I will definitely go back and read the first book in this series to see what I have missed. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
Bleeding Tarts by Kirsten Weiss
Book #2: Pie Town Mystery Series
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 4½/5 stars

Since nearly dying while investigating a crime, Val Harris and her crust maker, Charlene have taken to solving much more mundane mysteries. When not solving crimes, Val and Charlene are working hard to build Pie Town, improve customer relations, create new recipes, and bring in wholesale customers to increase revenue.

As it happens, the Bar X “ghost” town is looking for a supplier and if Val’s pies go over well at their pie eating contest, Val will have her first wholesale customer. There’s a lot riding on this deal and Val has high hopes. Just as she and Charlene are delivering their baked goods, everything falls apart. One of Val’s pies is shot right out her hands and as she is running for cover, she finds the shot-up body of the Bar X bartender. Yeah, another dead body and murder to solve is just what Val needed in her life.

As always, Charlene is more than ready to dive headlong into the fray and this time, she’s going up her against her arch nemesis! With three amateur detectives, one worthless police chief, and one real detective on the case, it shouldn’t take any time to ferret out the killer. Unfortunately for all those detecting, the killer has no intention of being caught. In fact, the killer has every intention of taking out one or two more people before the whole mess concludes. Unfortunately for Val, she’s on the killer’s to-do list and her detecting partner has lost her mind and drive to solve the crime. If Val doesn’t figure it all out, she’s going to have no wholesale customer, no way to pay her increasing bills, and no life. Just another day at the office, right?

The Bottom Line: Bleeding Tarts has the kind of evolution I like to see in books/series, slow and steady with real purpose. Weiss has given Val forward movement in both her personal life (the yummy detective!) and in her professional life, while giving us more about crazy Charlene’s past. The two women are such a mismatched pair, yet so perfectly suited for another. Charlene is a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of woman, while Val is far more conservative and thoughtful in her approach to detecting, life, and business. Between the two of them, there is always some sort of madness occurring which makes the read so much more fun. There are hijinks and shenanigans, more than a bit of personal drama, and some very real drama to keep the reader interested and moving forward. The pacing is perfect for the story and I enjoyed this one from cover to cover. ( )
  arthistorychick | Jun 20, 2018 |
The second Installment from Pietown goes along pretty well with a nice cozy mystery but the main characters seem to me a bit stagnant. Charlene is a bit too loopy - carrying a cat around her neck, always a bit alien/fairy/ghost excessive. Not sure that I can take much more of that. It definitely IMO needs to be toned down. Charlene's antics really detract from the mystery. Maybe a different sidekick? Petronella maybe?
I like the premise and other characters, but Charlene I can do without. ( )
  cyderry | Jun 4, 2018 |
Bleeding Tarts by Kirsten Weiss is the second slice of A Pie Town Mystery series. Val Harris owns Pie town in San Nicholas, California. Val along with her crust maker, Charlene McCree are taking pies out to the Bar X (an Old West ghost town available for events) for a pie eating contest. Val is hoping to get a contract to regularly supply pies from the owner, Ewan Frith which will help her struggling business (she has hired too many employees). Val is carting the cherry pies to the saloon when a shot rings out and shoots one of the pies splattering her with cherry goo. Val ducks into an alley and finds a man dead on the ground, and he is not playing opossum. Who was the shooter aiming at? The victim is Devon Blackett who was the bartender for Bar X. With Val once again a suspect in a murder case, her dinner date with Detective Gordon Carmichael is canceled. Charlene is determined that they (Baker Street Bakers) will solve the case especially since her archrival, Marla Van Helsing has decided sleuthing is her new profession (she even printed up cards). The killer, though, is a nasty varmint who wishes to derail their sleuthing by taking out Val. Then a second Bar X employee is killed. Val and Charlene need to work quickly before the Bar X turns into a real ghost town.

Bleeding Tarts is a humorous, quick paced cozy mystery. While this is the second installment in A Pie Town Mystery series, it can stand on its own. There are numerous quirky characters along with zany antics sprinkled throughout the story. Heidi, who own Heidi’s Gym, is back and she has increased the size of her “Sugar Kills” sign (her business is next door to Pie Town). Charlene is still going around town with Frederick, her cat, draped about her shoulders. Marla Van Helsing is a black widow (all of her husbands were rich and are now dead) on the prowl for her latest victim (i.e. husband). Val needs this venture with Bar X to be a success since her business is doomed without it. She has taken on too many employees and there is not enough money coming in to support them (assistant manager, pie crust maker, dishwasher, pie maker). It might help if she did not have coffee available for customers on the honor system (put money in a jar). I think Val should take some business classes or get a good accountant. Let us not forget Charlene’s obsession with ghosts, fairies and all things extraterrestrial. She is not sure if the problem in the local park is a ghost or if fairies have moved in. I did love the Samantha Carter, Rodney McKay, and Dr. Zelenka references (fans of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis will get it). I wish the mystery had been a stronger. There are a limited number of suspects, and I was able to identify the guilty party. There is some misdirection that could send readers down the wrong trail. My rating for Bleeding Tarts is 3 out of 5 stars. Bleeding Tarts will have you laughing from the very first page as Charlene drives them out to the Bar X (she should have her license taken away). ( )
  Kris_Anderson | May 1, 2018 |
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"Old West ghost towns are as American as apple pie. So what better place to sponsor a pie-eating contest than the Bar X, a fake ghost town available for exclusive private events on the edge of Silicon Valley. Valentine Harris is providing the pies, hoping to boost business for her struggling Pie Town shop and become a regular supplier for the Bar X. But no sooner does she arrive in town than a stray bullet explodes the cherry pie in her hands. And the delicious dessert is not the only victim"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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