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Val's new pies are foolproof—but not bulletproof.
Old West ghost towns are as American as apple pie. So what better place to sponsor a pie-eating contest than the Bar X, a fake ghost town available for exclusive private events on the edge of Silicon Valley. Valentine Harris is providing the pies, hoping to boost business for her struggling Pie Town shop and become a regular supplier for the Bar X.
But no sooner does she arrive in town than a stray bullet explodes the cherry pie in her hands. And the delicious dessert is not the only victim. Val finds the Bar X bartender shot dead in an alley. Egged on by her flaky friend and pie crust specialist, Charlene, Val aims to draw out the shooter. But solving a real murder in a fake ghost town won't be easy as pie. And if Val doesn't watch her back, her pies won't be the only thing filled full of lead . . .
About the Author
Renee Chambliss got her start in audiobook narration in 2009. She loves transforming the written word into audio and feels privileged to be able to spend so much of her time telling stories.
Read an Excerpt
I gripped the pie box as the Jeep bumped along the winding, dirt road.
Charlene, my octogenarian piecrust specialist, yanked the wheel sideways. Her white cat, asleep on the dashboard, slid toward me and the Jeep's open window.
One-handed, I steadied the cat, Frederick. Charlene believed Frederick was deaf and narcoleptic, so she carted him everywhere. I thought he was rude and lazy and didn't belong on important pie-selling business.
Oblivious to Frederick's near-sudden exit, Charlene hummed a western tune. The breeze tossed her white hair, its loose, glamour-girl curls shifting around the shoulders of her lightweight purple tunic.
Certain in the knowledge I wasn't getting that tune out of my head in the near future, I sighed and leaned closer to the windshield. My rollercoaster fear mingled with optimism in a heady brew of nervicitement. We were zipping toward a faux ghost town as super exclusive as only an event site on the bleeding edge of Silicon Valley could be. The Bar X was so private, I'd only learned about it three days ago, and I'd been living in San Nicholas nearly nine months.
Now, not only was I going to see the Old West town, but I was delivering pies that would be featured in its charity pie-eating contest. If all went well, the Bar X would become a regular Pie Town client. If all didn't go well, I didn't want to think about it.
Frowning, Charlene accelerated, and gravel zinged off the Jeep's undercarriage. "I don't know why Ewan had to make the roads so authentically awful. Now about our case —"
"Mrs. Banks is a lovely person." I gripped my seat belt. "She buys a strawberry-rhubarb pie every Friday. But she's a little distracted, and she's not a case."
"You mean you think she's gaga. Not every old person is nuts, you know." Her white curls quivered with indignation.
"She says when she buys groceries and brings them home, they disappear from her backseat."
"Mrs. Banks is forgetful, and no," I said before Charlene could object, "I don't think all old people are forgetful. But she is. She might not have remembered to load the groceries into her car in the first place." And the Baker Street Bakers, our amateur sleuthing club, didn't have time for another tail-chasing case. I had my hands full with my real job.
Four months earlier, in a fit of sugar-fueled enthusiasm, I'd doubled Pie Town's staff. Now, the pie shop I'd put everything I'd owned into was barely scraping even. At the thought of the financial grave I'd dug for myself, nausea clutched my throat.
"I've researched Banks's problem." She veered around a curve, and my shoulder banged the passenger window. "I'm thinking fairies. They're known thieves. I wouldn't put a few bags of groceries past them."
"It's a well-known fact that there are no fairies on the California coast." Or anywhere else, since they're not real.
"You're wrong there. There've been reports of fairy activity in the dog park. Of course, most people think it's UFOs."
"Right. Dog park. Because where else would they be?" The late summer morning was already warm. I smelled eucalyptus and sagebrush and a hint of salt from the nearby Pacific.
"Or the cause might be ectoplasmic," she said enthusiastically. "The groceries could be apporting."
I struggled not to ask, and failed. "Apport? What does that mean?"
"It's when ghosts suck objects into another plane." She made a whooshing sound. "Then the spirits make the objects reappear in different places in our dimension. I told her we'd stop by on Friday night and try out my new ghost-hunting equipment."
I rubbed my brow. Right now, I wouldn't mind apporting to another plane. Our armchair crime-solving club was all in good fun ... until Charlene left the armchair. "I really don't think it's a case."
"We don't know that. And it's not as if you have other plans for Friday night."
My cheeks heated, and I braced an elbow on the window frame. Charlene knew very well what I'd scheduled for Friday night. "Sorry, but Gordon and I are going on a date on Friday. Remember?" My insides squirmed with pleasure. It had been a long time since I'd been on a date — not since my engagement to Mark Jeffreys had gone kablooey earlier this year. Detective Gordon Carmichael and I had been dancing around going out for months, and it was finally happening.
"Are you sure it's a date?" She quirked a white brow. "Not just two people getting together?"
"Of course, it's a date."
"Because you two have been having a lot of 'notdates.'"
"We've been getting to know each other," I said, defensive.
"Usually that happens on dates."
"It's the twenty-first century, Charlene."
She grimaced. "Don't remind me. Have you bought new knickers?"
"What?" I yelped.
We rounded a bend. Charlene cut the curve close and scraped the yellow Jeep against the branches of a young eucalyptus tree.
"You heard me," she said. "You can't be too prepared."
I sputtered. "It's only a first date!" And knickers? Who even talked that way anymore? It's not like she was from Regency England.
"High quality unmentionables —"
"Unmentionables?" Had we time traveled to the Victorian era?
"Are a confidence builder."
And Charlene knew all about confidence. She'd been in the roller derby. Had scuba dived off the Great Barrier Reef. Had gone skydiving. And if it hadn't been for her, there never would have been any Baker Street Bakers.
I hadn't quite forgiven her for that.
"Besides, your date will be over by the time the ghost hunt starts. Things don't really get going until midnight or one AM."
"And you know I have to be at work by five. If I'm not in bed by ten, I'm done for." I yawned just thinking about it.
We trundled into an Old West ghost town. Its single dirt road was lined with ramshackle wooden buildings. Hills carpeted with low, green scrub cascaded from the east.
"I wonder where Gordon will take you," she mused. "Your options are limited in a small town like San Nicholas. Maybe he'll take you to the ... Marla!" She slammed on the brakes, and I careened forward.
The seat belt caught me in the ribs, but not quick enough to keep my head from banging into the windshield.
"The pies!" Ignoring the thudding pain in my skull, I whipped around and peered anxiously at the pink and white boxes stacked in the rear of the Jeep. I exhaled a shaky breath. The boxes hadn't fallen.
A growl vibrated beside me.
I turned, eyeing Frederick. The sleeping cat hadn't budged from the dashboard.
Charlene's knuckles whitened on the wheel. "Marla, here. Here!"
"What?" I looked around. The street was empty. "Who's Marla?"
Charlene floored the accelerator, whiplashing me against the seat. We rocketed down the dirt road and flew past a saloon, a chapel, and other random Old West buildings.
I yelped. "Pies. Pies!"
She braked hard. The Jeep screeched to a halt, engulfed in a cloud of dust.
Coughing, I rolled up the window. "What was that about?"
"Marla, is what," she snarled. Opening her door, she gently dislodged Frederick from the dashboard and arranged him over one shoulder. Charlene strode into the dust cloud and vanished.
I unbuckled myself and clambered over the seat. Holding my breath, I lifted the lid on one of the pies in the cargo area. The air whooshed from my lungs. The pie had survived. The others might be okay as well.
Pie-eating contests are traditionally messy, but it wouldn't do to prebreak the inventory. Not when I wanted to make a deal with the Bar X to be their regular pie supplier. Aside from guns, cowboys, and those old-timey photos where you dress like a prostitute, there's nothing that says "Old West" more than hand pies. And we made awesome hand pies.
Lurching from the yellow Jeep, I dusted off my pink-and-white Pie Town T-shirt. Beneath its giant smiley face was our motto: TURN YOUR FROWN UPSIDE DOWN AT PIE TOWN! I'd designed the shirts myself, one of the perks of owning my own business.
The downsides of entrepreneurship? Baker's hours and knuckle-biting payrolls. If I could add this wholesaling business, the latter worry would be a thing of the past.
The dust dissipated, leaving a brownish ground fog. We'd parked in front of a squat wooden building set amidst a stand of eucalyptus trees. A sign above the one-story wooden shack read: POTTERY.
At the far end of the dirt road, Charlene vanished into a carriage house, its ginormous, barnlike doors wide open.
A shot rang out, and I flinched.
Mr. Frith had warned me about the gunshots. It was only the sharpshooters, practicing for the event later today. But since a homicidal maniac had attempted to shoot me earlier this year, I was an eensy bit sensitive to gunfire.
"Charlene!" A woman shrieked inside the carriage house. "You look awful. What happened?"
Three more shots rang out in rapid succession, and my jaw clenched.
I trotted into the carriage house and slithered past a massive coach that looked like it had driven out of a Wells Fargo ad. Straw lay scattered about the wood plank floor, and the massive room smelled strongly of manure. Past the coach were rows of empty stalls, and a second set of open doors on the other end of the building.
An elegant, silver-haired woman in a salmon-colored silk top and wide-legged slacks was awkwardly embracing Charlene. Diamonds flashed on the woman's fingers. An expensive camera hung from one slim shoulder.
An older gentleman in jeans and a crisp, white button-up shirt beamed at them both. "I'd no idea you two knew each other." He chuckled. "That's life in a small town. I should have guessed."
The woman released my piecrust maker. "What are you doing here?"
"Pies," Charlene said, gruff. "For the event today."
"You're the pie maker?" The woman's lip curled.
"Charlene, I would have thought you'd have retired." She sighed. "That's California though. So impossibly expensive. Fortunately, I've got my real estate rentals. I had no idea I could make so much money renting houses. So much money."
Charlene stiffened. She owned rentals as well. And as one of her tenants, I didn't like that this conversation was headed toward higher rent.
The snowy cat looked up from Charlene's shoulder and yawned.
"I work because I want to," Charlene said. "I like to keep my hand in, stay busy."
"Of course, you do," the woman said. "Ewan, take a picture of the two of us. I can't wait to compare this to our old yearbook photos."
The man stepped forward, and she handed him her camera.
The woman — Marla? — pressed herself next to Charlene and struck a pose.
Charlene flushed, her fists clenching.
Uh-oh. For some reason, Charlene was seriously annoyed. I cleared my throat. "Mr. Frith?"
He returned the camera to Marla and swiveled, his teeth gleaming white against his rough and ruddy skin. "And you must be Val. I'm Ewan. Welcome to the Bar X, young lady!" He strode forward and took my hand, pumping it enthusiastically.
I was twenty-eight, but I'd take young lady, and I grinned.
"Charlene's told me so much about you," he continued. "Not that she needed to. Your pies speak for themselves."
I grinned. That sounded promising. "And this is the famous Bar X! I'm excited to finally see it."
The mystery woman — Marla, it had to be — sidled up to him and draped a diamond-spangled hand over his broad shoulder. "And who are you? Charlene's employee?"
"Ah ..." I darted a glance at my piecrust maker. "We work together," I said, deliberately vague.
Charlene's shoulders dropped. She raised her chin. "Val owns Pie Town. I run the piecrust room. Val Harris, this is Marla." Her voice lowered on the last syllable, dripping with disdain.
Marla scanned me. "How adorable. And your skin! What I wouldn't give for the skin of a twenty-something, right Charlene?"
Adorable? I'd always figured myself for kind of average, and I warmed at the compliment. I was a normal California gal — blue eyes, five foot five, and a little curvy (the tasty tragedy of owning a pie shop). I touched my brown hair, done up in its usual knot.
Charlene harrumphed. In her mind, she still was a twentysomething. Or at least a fortysomething.
"When Ewan suggested a pie-eating contest for our little fundraiser," Marla said, "I'd no idea you two would be involved."
"Who is it supporting?" I asked.
"The local humane society," she said. "All those poor lost doggies and kittens. I'm on the board. You know how it is when you're retired. It does help to stay involved, even if my passion is helping others rather than baking pies." Her nose wrinkled, and she linked her arm with Ewan's. "Now, did you say something about a private tour?"
"Of course," he said. "The carriage isn't hitched up, so we'll have to walk. Charlene? Val? Would you like to join us?"
"Val can't," Charlene said. "She needs to get the pies out of the Jeep."
I shuffled my feet. The pie retrieval wasn't that urgent. "But —"
"Before they get soggy in the heat," she continued.
"But I could go for a walk," Charlene said.
Marla's face tightened. "Lovely. We really do need to catch up. Are you sure you can manage the exercise, Charlene? You look rather tired."
Charlene glowered. "I'm fit as a fiddle."
"Oh, Charlene." Marla laughed, a jewel-like tinkle. "You haven't changed a bit. At least, not on the inside." She snapped a photo of the carriage house, and the three ambled toward the open doors on the other side of the barn.
Another shot rang out, and I started. "Wait," I said. "Where should I put the pies?"
"The saloon," Ewan called over his shoulder. "My daughter Bridget will be there to help you."
"Okay," I said. But they'd already disappeared around the corner of the carriage house. My lips compressed with disappointment. I wouldn't have minded a tour, but I could take a hint, and Charlene's had been as obvious as an elephant on Main Street. She didn't want me around.
I stomped to the Jeep, opened the driver's side door, and paused, chagrined. Charlene had the key. I could get inside, but I couldn't drive the pies closer to the saloon, which was across the street and down a bit. I'd just have to make lots of trips.
Another shot cracked.
A murder of crows rose noisily from the nearby eucalyptus trees. Uneasily, I watched them flap toward the hills.
I stacked six pink pie boxes in my arms and clamped my chin on the top box to steady them. Nudging the door shut with my hip, I lurched across the road, automatically looking right, then left. I gave a slight shake of my head. It wasn't as if buggies were racing down the —
A shot cracked. The top box flew from beneath my chin. It exploded in a burst of pink cardboard and piecrust and cherry filling.
I shrieked, the boxes swaying.
I slapped my hand on the top box, and they steadied. Okay. Okay. I was alive. But what-the-hell? Another shot rang out, louder.
Heart banging against my ribs, I scrambled for cover behind a horse trough. My tennis shoes skidded in the loose dirt, and I half fell against the trough. I clutched the remaining boxes to my chest. Someone. Some stupid person ...
My fingers dented the pink cardboard. Probably some kids, or hunters, or a random idiot. The trick shooters couldn't have been this careless.
I forced my breathing to calm. "Hello?" I shouted. "Hold your fire!"
No one answered.
Still clinging to my pies, I squirmed about and peered over the trough. Since I hadn't been hit, the bullet that had taken out my pie must have come from an angle, from my side rather than my front or rear.
The eucalyptus trees across the street shivered. They would have made a good hiding place for a shooter.
Hiding place? The shot had to have been an accident, but suddenly all I wanted was to get out of here.
I hunched over my remaining pie boxes and speed walked toward the saloon, the nearest shelter. It now seemed light years away. Its front doors were shuttered closed.
I scooted up its porch steps and set my pies by the door, rattled the heavy wood shutters.
Locked. I gave a small whimper.
Abandoning my pies, I ducked into the alley between the saloon and a bath house. Panting, I peeked into the main street.
I was probably safe here. I'd probably been safe behind the watering trough. This was twenty-first century California, not the Wild West. But cold sweat trickled down my neck. I backed deeper into the shade of the alley.
My heel bumped something. I staggered and braced my hands against the rough, wood-planked wall. Legs wobbly, I exhaled, turned.
A man lay sprawled on the dirt, his plaid shirt soaked with blood. Mouth open, he stared sightlessly at the cloudless sky.
Excerpted from "Bleeding Tarts"
Copyright © 2018 Kirsten Weiss.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good read, good characters
Valentine Harris is a baker who does a bit of amateur sleuthing on the side. She's a bit stressed lately because she recently expanded her pie shop and it's been a bit difficult juggling finances. To bring in a bit of money, she's providing the pies for an eating contest at an area tourist attraction. Bar X is a fake ghost town and Valentine wants a contract with them. Supplying pies for the tourists would bring in some much needed steady income for Pie Town. As she is delivering the pies for the event, things get a bit dicey. Sharp Shooters are practicing for an event at the ghost town, and a stray bullet slings through one of the pie boxes she's carrying. Valentine is hardly recovered from the explosion of cherry filling and pie crust when she sees a dead man on the ground. The Bar X bartender has been shot dead. Calling the police covered in bright red cherry pie filling makes her a suspect at first, but soon Valentine is on the case, doing whatever she can to identify the killer. Baiting a killer is dangerous though. If she's not careful, it won't be just the pie and the bartender that have a couple extra holes in them. Bleeding Tarts is the second book in the Pie Town cozy mystery series. It isn't necessary to have read the first book, The Quiche and the Dead, to enjoy this mystery. A bit of the character background is continued from the first book, but there is enough background info included in the second book to make it easy to just jump in and read. I enjoy this series. It has a nice mix of humor, background theme and mystery. There are recipes included at the end of the mystery as well. Pie recipes of course! Not all are dessert pies though. One is savory and involves cheese...definite yum there. :) The mystery in this newest addition to the series moves along at a nice pace. The murder happens pretty quickly in chapter one, so there isn't a lot of waiting for the dirty deed to be done. The setting of a fake ghost town with every sort of tourist trap trick is very entertaining and fun. I thought it was hilarious when Valentine gets shot right in the pie....and then the police think she's covered in blood when it's actually cherry pie filling. :) The rest of the book was just as cute and fun. Definitely a great cozy! A 3rd book in the series, Pie Hard, is coming out in February 2019. **I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
This is the second book in the Pie Town Mystery series, but I did not read the first book and had no problem following this story. Val Harris owns Pie Town and is trying to drum up new business after hiring new employees. She had taken on a catering job for the Bar X Ghost Town that is holding a benefit. When Val and Charlene (her pastry baker) arrive at the fake ghost town, Val is shot at along with finding a dead body. As the story continues, Val is the victim of a couple more attempts on her life. Obviously, she is not taking that sitting down and is out to find the murderer as well as whoever is trying to kill her. Charlene and Val are the Baker Street Bakers, sleuths ready to solve a mystery. Charlene, who says she is 42 but more like 82, is a hoot. She and her old nemesis Marla are trying to outdo each other in solving the murder and their encounters are so funny. She and Val get themselves in some sticky situations while trying to sort out the situation, but her individual investigations almost always end up in hilarity. The murder in this story happens right at the beginning of the story and the plot moves along quickly. The setting of a fake ghost town is pretty interesting and certainly very different from any others I have read about. If you are looking for a fun cozy mystery with a good mystery, pick up this book. I will definitely go back and read the first book in this series to see what I have missed. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Bullets are blazing everywhere when Val arrives with her delivery to the Bar X, one even takes out a pie SHE WAS HOLDING!! Covered in cherry pie she discovers one of the bullets hit someone. She finds the bartender from the Bar X Saloon dead in the alley when she runs for cover. She really wants the business from this fake ghost town to improve her bottom line but is it worth getting killed over? Charlene has one of her “pie in the sky” ideas that she and Val (the Baker Street Bakers) can prove her old friend Marla is the murderer, I mean find the killer. But someone is not happy with their interference and lets them know it in some very dangerous ways. Charlene is flakier than any of her fabulous crusts and Val loves her too much to call her out on her weird conspiracy theories. That is until she decides her old arch enemy Marla is guilty from the moment the shots were fired. Instead of trying to catch the real killer, who could still be Marla, Charleen tries to twist up all the facts. I will admit to laughing out loud as Marla and Charlene’s rivalry soared to new heights throughout the story. The author also introduces a supporting cast at the Bar X. These characters, like the ones we met in the first story, are very well written. We learn a lot about all of them within these pages. I really enjoyed the setting of the Old West ghost town. Still new and just getting ready to open with a big event, a pie eating contest. A great way to mesh together the Pie Town shop with a new business. I also liked the little place Val has moved into. A very unique idea and the views are to die for. The murder at the ranch gave a wide range of suspects. Who had alibis and who didn’t? Was it two people working together? Another murder shakes the investigation up as the fingers are being pointed at almost everyone. A lot of drama took place away from the Bar X too. Val is being targeted by the killer, Heidi, owner of the gym next door is still on her SUGAR KILLS rampage, Val ex is still hanging around every though Val is trying to actually make it through a date with Detective Gordon Carmichael, and there may be fairies or ghosts in the local dog park. Between Charlene’s trying to divert attention to Marla and the nice twists given by the author, I found this mystery very entertaining. Life at Pie Town and Val’s personal life added a lot to the story. I have never watched Stargate, but fans will love that Val and Charlene are watching the series and will enjoy the references to the characters. Put all of this together along with all the pies and you have a delightful cozy mystery. I really like the cover too! You are going to want to have pie available as you are reading. I recommend cherry, but skip the bullet!
Bleeding Tarts by Kirsten Weiss is the second slice of A Pie Town Mystery series. Val Harris owns Pie town in San Nicholas, California. Val along with her crust maker, Charlene McCree are taking pies out to the Bar X (an Old West ghost town available for events) for a pie eating contest. Val is hoping to get a contract to regularly supply pies from the owner, Ewan Frith which will help her struggling business (she has hired too many employees). Val is carting the cherry pies to the saloon when a shot rings out and shoots one of the pies splattering her with cherry goo. Val ducks into an alley and finds a man dead on the ground, and he is not playing opossum. Who was the shooter aiming at? The victim is Devon Blackett who was the bartender for Bar X. With Val once again a suspect in a murder case, her dinner date with Detective Gordon Carmichael is canceled. Charlene is determined that they (Baker Street Bakers) will solve the case especially since her archrival, Marla Van Helsing has decided sleuthing is her new profession (she even printed up cards). The killer, though, is a nasty varmint who wishes to derail their sleuthing by taking out Val. Then a second Bar X employee is killed. Val and Charlene need to work quickly before the Bar X turns into a real ghost town. Bleeding Tarts is a humorous, quick paced cozy mystery. While this is the second installment in A Pie Town Mystery series, it can stand on its own. There are numerous quirky characters along with zany antics sprinkled throughout the story. Heidi, who own Heidi’s Gym, is back and she has increased the size of her “Sugar Kills” sign (her business is next door to Pie Town). Charlene is still going around town with Frederick, her cat, draped about her shoulders. Marla Van Helsing is a black widow (all of her husbands were rich and are now dead) on the prowl for her latest victim (i.e. husband). Val needs this venture with Bar X to be a success since her business is doomed without it. She has taken on too many employees and there is not enough money coming in to support them (assistant manager, pie crust maker, dishwasher, pie maker). It might help if she did not have coffee available for customers on the honor system (put money in a jar). I think Val should take some business classes or get a good accountant. Let us not forget Charlene’s obsession with ghosts, fairies and all things extraterrestrial. She is not sure if the problem in the local park is a ghost or if fairies have moved in. I did love the Samantha Carter, Rodney McKay, and Dr. Zelenka references (fans of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis will get it). I wish the mystery had been a stronger. There are a limited number of suspects, and I was able to identify the guilty party. There is some misdirection that could send readers down the wrong trail. My rating for Bleeding Tarts is 3 out of 5 stars. Bleeding Tarts will have you laughing from the very first page as Charlene drives them out to the Bar X (she should have her license taken away).
In this second book of the series Val is hard at work trying to keep Pie Town in the black. She has taken on Bar X, a Wild West Town, as a new client. They need pies for their pie eating contest and Val can't wait to add their name to the list of places Pie Town serves and delivers to. While making the delivery with her crust maker they run into a woman that is Charlene's nemesis. Charlene goes off to confront Marla leaving Val to deliver the pies and while doing so not only does she find a body but someone shoots one of the pies in her hands. The dead man is a bartender at the Bar X and has only been working there a few months, who would have wanted to kill him and why? Charlene intends to find out, she has been friends with the owner and his family for years and knows he nor his daughter could have done it. The only problem is Marla, Charlene's nemesis, saying she's is going to find the killer first. Charlene drags Val into the investigation and they start asking questions of the workers. When Val almost gets run over by horses she wonders if they are on to something. There are only so many suspects and all claim to have an alibi but do they really? Val aims to find out. Follow along as Val runs her business, follows clues, helps another client and tries to make a date with a certain cop. This is a fun series filled with interesting characters who believe in fairies, aliens, and so much more. It's a wonderful series that will have you laughing out loud. I look forward to seeing what Val and Charlene get into next.
Bleeding Tarts is the 2nd book in the Pie Town series. This is a cute series, built with strong characters that will continue to grow as the series progresses. Val is excited to be providing the treats for the Pie eating contest. What she doesn't expect is to become the victim of a mysterious stalker who seems determined to keep her quiet. I enjoyed how the author wrote about Val and her nemesis Heidi, and about Charlene and her nemesis, Marla. Charlene sees Marla as an arrogant, spiteful woman whose main goal is to out best her at every opportunity. I would like to see Val become more confident in her abilities. There's a fine line between lack of confidence and a whiny character. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.