"BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE," by Josi S. Kilpack, Deseret Book, $17.99, 363 pages (f)

Sadie Hoffmiller is getting better at this detective business, and in the process, Josi S. Kilpack is becoming a more readable author.

Anyone who follows her culinary mystery series will admit that LDS author Kilpack is getting better and better.

The plots are more intricate, and the story flows more smoothly in this, her fifth novel in this series.

The recipes — from the start a delicious addition — are tempting, and for the first time, the one from this novel is going to be tried out. It just sounds so good.

Dessert aside, Hoffmiller is a likable heroine and getting more careful in her adventures.

It's still pretty hazardous to be this plucky lady, but she isn't so likely to fall off a porch or roll under a bush. She watches where she's going and she seriously tries to anticipate trouble. She's learning to look before she leaps and she leaps often.

A couple of hints from her on-and-off-again police detective boyfriend help. She keeps her keys with her these days in her pocket rather than in her purse across the room.

She's also become aware that her well-meant attempts to help where she doesn't belong often get her into trouble.

She's learned to be wary of reporters.

And she's learned to pick locks.

Although she's a hired investigator in this story, she doesn't have an official P.I. badge yet, so she's still at a disadvantage as she heads into the unknown to discover whether her employer's father died naturally of a heart attack or was pushed into one.

She relies on her gut feelings and her ability to get people to talk to her to gather information. Fortunately, she's pretty good at it. She's also good at figuring out how to make "Bacon Ice Cream." (You'll see when you read Chapter 27.)

She also has a knack for falling into situations that explain things somewhat but complicate her life. It's a gift.

So is this easy-to-read book, which is a quick read and a satisfying experience.

Sharon Haddock is a professional freelance writer with 30 years experience, 17 of those at The Deseret News. Reach her at haddoc@desnews.com or see her personal blog at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

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