Please note that I gave this 3.5 stars and rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.
I have to say that I really do enjoy a good cozy mystery. I started reading these type of books when I was in college and even though they may not have been the most sophisticated mysteries out there, they have enough mystery and romantic elements that can appeal to a wider audience. I decided to read the first book in the "Pizza Lovers" mystery after my library recommended it to me. Fair warning though potential readers, do not read this book on an empty stomach. I craved pizza and red wine the entire time I was reading this book.
Taking place in Timber Ridge, North Carolina, "A Slice of Pizza" follows Eleanor Swift who finds a dead man after delivering pizza to his home. We find out a quick backstory to Eleanor (and I do mean quick) that she is now running her pizza parlor with her sister after her husband died (I think possibly a year or so earlier than the events in the book). Eleanor usually does not do deliveries, but after her pizza delivery boy calls off sick, she thinks nothing of running one by. Due to an altercation between Eleanor and the deceased she finds herself on the top of the suspect list. Due to a past with the local police chief, their animosity is also causing him to believe that Eleanor could be behind the murder.
I honestly found Eleanor a little meh for the most part. I absolutely adored her mystery loving sister Maddie though. Any fictional character that loves Agatha Christie is alright by me! And that is what through me for the most part. Eleanor is reluctant to investigate but then does once she realizes she stands a real chance of being arrested. However, it is really Maddie's insights and leg work that keep the story moving. I was not a fan of a lot of things happening off screen that we didn't get to see as readers. There was a lot of Maddie calling Eleanor to tell her what is occurring or the two of them briefing each other while making pizza in the kitchen at the pizza parlor.
The other characters needed a bit more development though in my opinion. The police chief was a jerk pretty much through the whole book. The backstory to his and Eleanor's relationship was a non-starter. Thank goodness the author does not seem to be throwing them together in a love triangle. I will say though that it's a bit much that a lot of men in this town seemed to have romantic designs on Eleanor (or at least it seemed that way to me). She finally deigns to go out on a date with someone and that whole thing stopped the momentum of the book for me. Eleanor spends a lot of time talking about how perfect her husband was though Maddie definitely seems like she has some things to say about it.
I found the writing good and honestly the descriptions of how Eleanor made her dough, created her pizzas and sandwiches, etc. sounded delicious. I was not kidding about do not read this if you are hungry. I maybe made myself a nice Italian hoagie with pepperoni, cheese, jalapeno peppers, and ham. Maybe (I totally did).
As I said though, the flow was off here and there and the mystery does drag a bit.
I did not guess the guilty party, and honestly the reasoning behind the murder was a bit of a letdown. I thought the ending could have been a little cleaner. Not a total home-run, but I could see myself reading the next book in the series.