Alene Baron is dealing with frustrated employees, closed schools, and a homeless man who harasses customers outside the door of her café. Then, two dead bodies turn up in the burned remains of buildings owned by the husband of Alene’s best friend and pastry chef, Ruthie. Both bodies are wearing jackets that once belonged to Ruthie and crumbled in the pockets are the café’s distinctive wrappers. At the same time, Alene's uncle, a convicted felon, has resurfaced after disappearing for 22 years. It's all too much for the owner of the Whipped and Sipped Café. (Summary via Goodreads)
Charred is the third book in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series by G.P. Gottlieb and boy is it packed with entertainment !!!
Gottlieb centers Charred around the time of the Coronavirus pandemic which hit main character Alene Baron hard as she is the owner of the Whipped and Sipped Cafe. While Alene is trying to work the schedule so that her employees still work and have a paycheck, she is also learning how to schedule her three children's home schooling work and relying on her elderly father Cal to help. Then her neighbor Kofi asks Arlene to drive him to a site of a recently burned building so that he could try and salvage things for his artwork. Little did either of them know that Kofi was going to see a dead body and swear Alene to secrecy and not tell her boyfriend Frank who is a homicide detective. When a second body is found Alene knows that she has to come clean and tell Frank.
Also in Charred Cal hears from him brother Finn who was involved in a bank robbery years ago, did his time, and then disappeared only to resurface and send money to family. The money that was stolen during the robbery was never recovered and Cal doesn't know that he can believe or trust anything Finn tells him.
Gottlieb packs a lot into this third book Charred... murder, arson, identity theft, gambling, kidnapping, destrucion of property, tax evasion, uncovering a hidden basement under the cafe with tins with treasures in them, family drama, secrets, the pandemic, trying to stay healthy, learning how to live a new life in semi-quarantine.... Readers are going to have so much fun reading this story !!! It is like nothing you have read previously and it grabs your attention instantly and you will not know what is going on around you as you get lost in this story.......