Like nearly everyone else in Paradise, Ohio, local stain expert and laundromat owner Josie Toadfern eagerly awaits the upcoming July 4th Founders Day celebration with its highlight, the annual Breitenstrater Pie Company pie-eating contest, sponsored by the owners of the town's upper crust enterprise. But things may not be so sweet this year, what with juicy rumors flying that a black sheep Breitenstrater wants to spill the beans about some deep, dark family secret. And when a pie-making bigwig suspiciously drops dead after sampling the company's latest wares, Josie leaps into action. She loves her teeny-weeny community, despite its blemishes--and any stain on its reputation must be eradicated!
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Everyone in Paradise, Ohio, is eagerly awaiting the upcoming July 4th Founders Day Celebration. Trudy Breitenstrater is a mixed up youth who gets local laundromat owner and stain removal expert Josie Toadfern to sponsor her to the Paradise Historical Society meeting. At this meeting the Paradise Town Hall Players usually each get their parts for the upcoming July Fourth Breitenstrater Founder’s Day play. Seems Trudy has rewritten the town play, unbeknownst to Josie. No one seems too happy about this. Especially her father, Alan.

Then Alan announces that at the annual pie eating contest sponsored by the Breitenstrater Pie Company, he will be making a big announcement. His brother Cletus says that he has one too.

Since Josie’s uncle Otis has walked off the renovation job at the Paradise Theatre, she steps in to help her cousin Sally complete the job before July 4th.

At the pie eating contest, Cletus is no where to be found, so Alan steps into his place. Unfortunately Alan ends up dead before he can make his announcement. Apparent heart attack, but Josie thinks the timing smells of murder. But, can she figure out what really happened.

She enlists her friend Winnie to do some research. She also gets her boyfriend Owen to help, but only minimally because he has recently lied and she isn’t sure what her feelings are for him anymore. This is just one of the many things going on to sidetrack Josie.

Many things begin to happen. Josie is right in the middle of most of them trying to uncover the truth. She ends up putting herself in danger as well.

This is a well-written mystery. It is a good cozy. Josie and her friends are likeable characters. Paradise is a typical small town with many secrets.

I recommend this book.

Dawn Dowdle