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Chili Cauldron Curse: 05/17/21
Chili Cauldron Curse by Lynn Cahoon is the prequel to One Poison Pie. In the first full length mystery from the Kitchen Witch mystery series we're given glimpses into events that lead to Mia Malone and her ex-boyfriend's sister moving to Magic Falls, Idaho. This novella is a short mystery that takes place just before those events.
Mia and her still boyfriend's sister meet in Magic Falls to help clean and organize a food pantry that has been receiving deliveries without anyone to manage it. The place is full of rotting fruit and other formerly fresh food and canned and dried goods that need sorting and inventorying. On the second morning of working through the backlog, Mia discovers the body of her grandmother's boyfriend.
Chili Cauldron Curse has only nine chapters. For the first seven, the pacing is similar to a longer mystery. What's different here is the abruptness of the ending. There's a point where Mia is confronted by the murder. In a longer book, she would either be captured and later manage to escape, or she would manage to talk her way out of the situation to postpone the final confrontation. Here, though, rescue comes quickly because the authorities aren't corrupt nor are they incompetent.
There's another novella immediately following One Poison Pie, Murder 101, which released in ebook format on April 27, 2021.