Bedeviled Eggs (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs.*
The Cackleberry Club Cafe is owned and run by Suzanne Dietz and her two best friends Petra and Toni. It's a charming place, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. The building also houses the Knitting Nest and the Book Nook. The three women are extremely creative in their programming, holding themed teas and parties.
This book (the third in the series) opens during a "read dating" event where the participants register with information about their favourite authors. The evening is progressing well, until college registrar Jane Buckley and mayoral candidate Chuck Peebler have a loud disagreement. Toni immediately tells the group that it's time to switch places, and the event continues peacefully.
But later that night, when Suzanne is heading to her car, she meets Peebler behind the building. Whatever he plans to tell her is interrupted by the twang of an arrow, which lands directly between his eyes.
Jane Buckley's argument with Peebler makes her the prime suspect, and her good friend Petra asks Suzanne to find evidence to clear Jane's name.
The characters in this series are well-defined, and the relationships between them realistic, especially the friendship between the three women. Also refreshing is the slowly blossoming romance between Suzanne and Sam.
Yes, this is a murder mystery, but there is an unusual heartwarming quality about it that sets it apart.
*Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.