Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers | Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway

Welcome to my tour stop for Bread of the Dead, the first book in the Santa Fe Café series of cozy mysteries by Ann Myers. The tour runs September 28 - October 23 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

The Blurb

Trick or treat — and murder — are on the menu in this first in a new culinary mystery series.

Life couldn't be sweeter for Tres Amigas Café chef Rita Lafitte, decorating sugar skulls and taste-testing rich, buttery pan de muerto in anticipation of Santa Fe's Day of the Dead bread-baking contest. That is, until her friendly landlord, Victor, is found dead next door.

Although the police deem Victor's death a suicide, Rita knows something is amiss. To uncover the truth, she teams up with her octogenarian boss, Flori, the town's most celebrated snoop.

The duo begins to sift through long-buried secrets and to take full measure of duplicitous neighbors, but the clock is ticking and their list of suspects is growing ever longer. Just as the clues get hotter than a New Mexican chile, one of their main suspects winds up dead. Rita fears that the killer is dishing out seconds — and her order might be up.

Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers
Series: A Santa Fe Café Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow / HarperCollins Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0062382276
ISBN-13: 978-0062382276
e-Book File Size: 2968 KB

The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all! Let me tell you a little about it. 

Bread of the Dead, a cozy culinary mystery, is the first book in the Santa Fe Café Mystery series by Ann Myers. Bread of the Dead is a really good, really fun read!

The main characters are:
  • Rita Lafitte — Chef, waitress, one of the "three friends" at the Tres Amigas Café, and narrator of Bread of the Dead. A transplant from Illinois, and newly divorced (as of three months ago) from...
  • Manny Martin — "Santa Fe's busiest philandering cop," and unfortunately for Rita, one of the detectives who show up to investigate the death of...
  • Victor — Rita's landlord. Excellent baker, supporter of the arts, creator of museum-quality saint art, and philanthropist with a nonprofit art studio that runs workshops for at-risk kids.
  • Celia — teenage daughter of Rita and Manny. She's going through a rebellious stage, and so sometimes Mom feels like she's the enemy, with Manny's new girlfriend being Celia's new BFF.
  • Flori Fitzgerald — Rita's elderly boss at the Tres Amigas Café, renowned for the regional delicacies she serves there. A blue-ribbon-winning baker of pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and "an irrepressible flirt" with men, including...
  • Jake Strong — "lawyer, gentleman rancher, and all-around hunk" in Rita's opinion, who has frequented Tres Amigas Café much more since Rita's divorce. 
  • Cass Sathers — Rita's best friend. A silversmith who makes and sells beautiful silver jewelry in her studio.

Bread of the Dead takes place around the time of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is, as Flori explains to Rita,
a holiday for the dead, but it's made for the living. It's a time of joy, a reminder that death comes to us all and we must enjoy our time in this world.
Victor explains the holiday further to Rita.
No one should be sad around this time. We want the departed to come back and visit. We have to remind them there's good in this world.

Rita and Flori are my favorite characters. Each one has a great sense of humor, as you can see in these examples.

Flori, now in her eighties, gives Rita advice for her lack-of-love life.
Don't get so wrapped up in tamales that you get old and miss out on something good. Pinch that strong and handsome Jake Strong on the butt next time you see him. Trust me, it's a pleasure.  
Flori is a "well-known snoop, with a sixth sense." She has assembled a "gossip network" headed by – 
a ninety-year-old wheelchair-bound man with a police scanner. He had chronic insomnia and spread news faster than high-speed Internet. 
Flori's "informants" visit the café weekly, using their secret code words to get their rewards of free food. She is a "firm believer in the persuasive powers of sugary praise and food."

Flori's love of snooping meshes well with Rita's "sleuthing tendencies." Rita is a "reluctant sleuth," at first, anyway, which means that Flori has to twist her arm sometimes. Their escapades in Bread of the Dead are not the first for Flori and Rita, by any means. In her narration, Rita mentions a couple of their past "cases." (I would love to know the details of these!)

Flori and Rita put their snooping to good use, when they set out to prove that Victor was murdered. Author Ann Myers has included several red herrings, which I use as my excuse for not figuring out whodunit until the big reveal. Can you figure out the killer before Rita does? 
One of my favorite sections of Bread of the Dead is when Flori and Rita snoop in investigate a Japanese garden. When they find a completely nude and completely unembarrassed man in a hot tub, inside what the ladies thought was just a teahouse, the contrast between their very different reactions is quite humorous.

Another favorite part is when a tourist customer at Tres Amigas Café threatens to post a bad Tweet review — not for the food or the service, as you would think, but for the supposedly bad grammar, "an embarrassing typo on your menu."

Since Bread of the Dead is a Culinary Mystery, of course it contains recipes. Seven recipes for a full Day of the Dead Feast are included: Carne Adovada, Perfect Pinto Beans, Fluffy & Flavorful Spanish Rice, Roasted Tomato Salsa, Guacamole, Pan de Muerto (aka Bread of the Dead), and New Mexican Hot Chocolate. (Hungry yet? I am!)

Author Ann Myers begins Bread of the Dead with –
I love holidays, especially those with food, which is pretty much any holiday worth celebrating.  
The holiday theme will continue in the next two books in the Santa Fe Café Mystery series. Cinco de Mayhem, Book 2, will be released on March 29, 2016, and is available now for pre-order at Amazon. Feliz Navidead will be the third book in the series. I am looking forward to reading both of them. 

I really enjoyed Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers, and I think you will too. I highly recommend it to all Cozy Mystery fans, especially to fans of the Culinary sub-genre. 

To Bread of the Dead I give Four Kitties — I really enjoyed it!  

  Four out of five kitties
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Bread of the Dead in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Author

About Ann Myers

Ann Myers lives in Colorado with her husband and extra-large housecat, but like her main character, Rita, they all feel most at home in Santa Fe.

Follow Ann's New Mexican cooking, eating, travel, and writing adventures on Facebook.

Also find Ann on the web at

The Giveaway

Ann will award three copies of Bread of the Dead
 to three randomly drawn winners (US only)
via rafflecopter during the tour.

Open to US addresses only.
Ends October 28, 2015 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please check out the tour page for schedule and more information.

Prizing is provided by the publisher, hosts are not responsible.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

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