By Susan Wingate (May 2010, Blue Star Books)
Book review by Dennis Moore
April 12, 2010 (San Diego)--If ever the expression, “Love is Blind,” would apply, it would be in the book by Susan Wingate, Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner. Georgette Carlisle, the owner of Bobby’s Diner in Sunnydale, Arizona, falls hard for Hawthorne Biggs, and basically everything he tells her. But it turns out that Hawthorne, whom Georgette is engaged to marry, has been leading a clandestine life of murder and corruption, unbeknownst to her. He conspires with others to steal the diner from Georgette, while love blinds her to his true intentions.
In the second book of the four-part Bobby’s Diner series, Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner, Georgette invites an old girlfriend back into her life, which imperils her ownership of the diner and her relationship with her fiancé. Georgette invites Helen to move in with her. Georgette’s old girlfriend, Helen, was always cloaked in something, always scheming, but true friendship has a tendency to overlook such faults. Georgette is an understanding and forgiving sort, not faulting Helen for trying so long ago to take her late husband Bobby from her. Georgette could afford to be understanding, as she and Bobby had pulled something similar with Bobby’s first wife, Vanessa.
Set in the Arizona desert, Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner could be described as a meeting between the Whistle Stop Café and the ladies from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, with all the similar elements of mystery and intrigue. Of course, it is a love story also, with all the elements of amorous behavior and innuendo! It has the playful interaction between men and women in those expressions of love between each other, which, coupled with the mystery and intrigue throughout the book, makes for a captivating story. The book is also a tale of betrayal, kidnapping, sexual assault, rape and murder. Easy As Pie at Bobby’s Diner, will find its home with women who like mysteries and exciting entanglements between men and women. It has elements of a Hitchcock film.
The way the author describes the various scenes and situations in the book, from the setting of the desert sun to the objects in Georgette’s home and diner, makes the reader feel as if they were actually in the scenes.
Other key characters in this book are Roberta, the town Mayor and daughter of Georgette’s deceased former husband, Bobby (whom the diner is named after), along with Willard (Willy) Cleary, the Police Chief of Sunnydale, who is also the first guy that Georgette dated after Bobby died. Although the dating between Georgette and Willy is short-lived due to Hawthorne coming into the picture, it adds to the mystery and intrigue. Georgette’s cat, “Gangster,” also has a central role in the story.
Georgette actually runs Bobby’s Diner with Roberta, the Mayor of Sunnydale, and Bobby’s daughter. Since Roberta’s mother, Vanessa, had also died shortly after her father, Georgette attempts to supplant that role. Georgette and Roberta are more like best friends than mother and daughter.
When an old friend, Helen, comes back into town after a failed attempt at a writing career, she is once again attracted to Georgette’s man. After they part company over this latest betrayal, Helen goes missing. Georgette and Roberta set off to find her, braving separation, danger and a new strength in their relationship – one that empowers them separately but bonds them together. Of course, it has a satisfying ending for Georgette and Roberta, but one has to read the book to find out what happens to Helen and Hawthorne, as well as the various other characters in this book.
I strongly recommend this novel to all those that like a good mystery, sprinkled with danger and intrigue.