Alice Anderson's aunt has died, and the entire town is mourning the loss. Aunt Polly, owner of PIE, America's premier pie shop and winner of five Blueberry Awards from the American Pie Association, was not only the engine of the entire town's economy, with buses full of tourists coming in to sample her wares, but also the sweetest, kindest lady you'd ever know. And now that she's gone, Alice has lost her favorite person in the world, her best friend, and the maker of her very favorite peach pie--and also, the top secret recipe to Polly's pie crust recipe. Polly's will says that she's left the recipe to her cat, Lardo, and the cat to Alice...but no one has any idea as to how the cat is supposed to get the million dollar recipe. And no one--NO ONE--else knew it.
It seems like the whole town is suddenly full of piemakers, convinced that they could be the winners of the next Blueberry and the savior of the town. And then Lardo goes missing with a thump and a clink, and Alice's mother's pie disappears, and Alice is convinced that someone is out to find Polly's crust recipe--even if they have to steal it.
I loved this book. I mean, okay, I love pie, and there are fourteen pie recipes heading up the book chapters, and I want to try all of them, and so maybe I'm a tiny bit biased. But also, the small town setting, Ipswitch, PA, population 162, is terribly charming. The characters and their pies are hilarious and adorable. The mystery and Alice's attempts at solving it, with her sidekick Charles Erdlinger, reminds me of a cozy cat mystery, without a cat detective and, you know...less annoying, because, kids. Hijinks! Sweet, well-meaning hijinks! The parents are less than believable but ultimately loveable. I still don't understand how Polly kept a roof over her head, because you can't pay a mortgage with a coconut, but I'm suspending my disbelief because I am so incredibly endeared. I'd say I want more--I certainly wouldn't turn down a chance to revisit Ipswitch--except that it's just such a perfect package as it is. Woobies. 100% woobies.