Book Review: The Secret Ingredient to Murder by Terry Ambrose

Posted March 28, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, clean, contemporary, cozy mystery, mystery/suspense, Terry Ambrose / 8 Comments

The Secret Ingredient to Murder book review

The Secret Ingredient to Murder by Terry AmbroseTHE SECRET INGREDIENT TO MURDER by Terry Ambrose
Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mysteries #8

GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Independently Published
RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2024
PAGES: 323


Other Books I’ve Featured In This Series

The Secret Ingredient to Murder might be my first read in the Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast Mystery series by Terry Ambrose, but it was easy to orient myself to the characters and the setting. I really loved the warm family dynamics of the Atwoods, and I especially enjoyed how the narrative switched between Rick Atwood (third person) and his 13-year-old daughter Alex (first person), the latter giving me delightful Nancy Drew & Trixie Belden vibes. This dual perspective served nicely both to keep the story moving and to allow readers to be in two places at once in the investigation… all the better to try and put the puzzle pieces together before they do.

‘Try’ is the operative word in that last sentence, because the red herrings are cleverly mixed in with the legitimate clues and I didn’t figure it all out until just before our intrepid sleuths did. In fact, I had a completely different suspect in mind for most of this novel – and a different motive altogether. The mystery covers everything from theft to murder and a host of other things in between, the layers building one on top of the other like a decadent chocolate cake (which you may want after reading certain taste-bud-tantalizing parts of this plot). It might be a bit of a stretch that Rick and Alex work so closely with the chief of police in Seaside Cove – after all, what kind of police chief would ask a thirteen-year-old girl to snoop undercover for him? Well, except for the one in the Nancy Drew series… or the Hardy Boys series … or the Trixie Belden series… or … you get the idea. Readers won’t care if it doesn’t seem quite realistic because it’s fun and charming and the characters are really likable.

Bottom Line: The Secret Ingredient to Murder by Terry Ambrose combines a quaint setting with appealing protagonists, folds in a well-plotted mystery, and smoothly blends the red herrings with the valid clues to deliver a story you’ll enjoy from beginning to end. A host of plausible suspects kept me guessing and, despite a bit of continuity confusion over one part of the plot, I thought the story flowed well and stayed engaging. My favorite aspect of this book is the warm family unit that the Atwoods have cultivated – it was refreshing to see the love and respect and concern that they each had for one another as well as the way they encouraged each other to be themselves. A nice choice for fans of Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and Ellery Adams.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!

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Terry Ambrose

Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark to “help” when negotiations failed.

A resident of Southern California, he loves spending time in Hawaii, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, where he invents lies for others to read. His years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as—always keep your car in the garage. Connect with Terry at his website.

What about you? What makes you want to read The Secret Ingredient to Murder by Terry Ambrose?

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8 responses to “Book Review: The Secret Ingredient to Murder by Terry Ambrose

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on THE SECRET INGREDIENT TO MURDER by Terry Ambrose. It’s on my TBR list and can’t wait for the opportunity to read and review it.

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