cover image Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder

Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder

Chris Cavender, Kensington, $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7582-2950-2

The pseudonymous Cavender (Tim Myers) offers few surprises in his talky second mystery starring Timber Ridge, N.C., pizzeria owner Eleanor Swift (after 2009's A Slice of Murder). When someone bashes in the head of Wade Hatcher, the brother of Eleanor's best delivery guy, Greg Hatcher, with Eleanor's maple rolling pin in her pizzeria kitchen, it appears at first that Greg killed Wade, who was contesting their grandparents' will. Eleanor and her sister, Maddy, join forces to investigate after the local police chief, Kevin Hurley, who always knows how to ruffle Eleanor's feathers, doesn't do much. As the sisters pursue some sticky but somewhat predictable clues, their suspect list grows. Could the killer have been Greg's estranged girlfriend, Katy Johnson; ill-tempered Sandi Meadows, who was dating Wade; or Roger Henderson, Wade's boss, who claims Wade was stealing from his customers? Some readers might wish that Cavender had added a little more spice to his comfortable recipe of food, mystery, and smalltown vibes. (Aug.)