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The Walking Bread: 05/06/20
The Walking Bread by Winnie Archer is the third in the Bread Shop Mystery series. Every year Santa Sofia has an Art Car contest and parade. Ivy Culpepper's brother has been entering a car and coming in second place to developer Max Litman for years. He's finally realized that his art school teacher has been acting as a spy for Litman and this year Billy has managed to send false information to his rival.
Ivy as a photographer is allowed into the warehouse to photograph the cars before the show. Billy has a fantastic Alice in Wonderland car and Litman has created a grotesque zombie car. When Ivy comes in closer for a better view, she realizes that Litman's body is part of the display!
Before Ivy can even mentally and emotionally process what she's found, her brother is arrested for the crime. No one seems willing to investigate any other angles, so Ivy decides to follow the clues herself. Of course Mrs. Branford is on the case too.
In previous volumes, Deputy Sheriff Emmaline Davis has taken the lead on the murder investigations. This time she can't because of her involvement with Billy and her long friendship with Ivy. This one major detail combined with a few smaller ones took away a little from my investment in the mystery.
In most of the cozy series I've read (the other exception being the Goldy Bear Culinary series by Diane Mott Davidson), the amateur sleuth is a newcomer to the town. Their newness is what allows the author to gradually invent / insert a history and traditions for the town.
In The Walking Bread it's presented that Billy has been part of this Art Car show for years, and presumably started before Ivy left. It's also been established that Billy has a busy work schedule, so his time for working on elaborate art cars would be precious and fleeting. Given the timing of these books, it would have been nice if the Art Car show had been mentioned in a previous text. Billy could have even been shown coming in second again as a side plot.
With the Art Car showing up whole cloth in this volume with an obvious hinderance to the normal flow of the investigation, the over all flow of the plot becomes rather obvious. I'm only taking one star off because the characters and setting are still so engaging.
The next book is Flour in the Attic (2019).