Thank goodness for The Google or else I would have lost this challenge a long time ago. This one took the longest to figure out and I spent hours online searching.
A book with a cat on the cover: Murder by the Slice by Livia Washburn.
Small town Texas, outside of Fort Worth, where the biggest concern is how to raise funds for the PTA. Two retired teachers, Phyllis and Carolyn, and recruited to help with a cake auction/bake sale at the yearly carnival. When a murder occurs, the entire town is rocked. Meddling, nosy and very sharp Phyllis begins her own investigation into the murder to find out the truth.
I found the book entertaining enough and realized 1/4 of the way through that it was the second in a series. It didn’t matter though, the author interspersed enough flashbacks of the important bits of the first novel that I felt filled in enough to enjoy the book.
It was well written, quick to read and predictable. The murder took a little while to occur, but the characters were enjoyable so I didn’t mind. One fun addition were the recipes from the bake sale that the author included in the back of the book.
My criticism is a personal irritation of mine in all books: after the characters are introduced, when they keep recurring I find it redundant to keep referring to them by both first and last name over and over again. I can remember who they are without it.
Is it a masterpiece? No, but it was enjoyable fiction.