Public Anchovy #1
April 1, 2024

Book Review

Public Anchovy #1

reviewed by Warner Holme

Mindy Quigley’s Public Anchovy #1 continues the delightful Deep Dish Mystery series. Now well into its run, the series seizes the opportunity to explore another classic mystery setup: the regulars, along with a few new faces, get stranded in a large mansion by inclement weather.

Naturally, it isn’t long before the bodies start to accumulate.

As a part of the series, this volume offers more developments than many others. It introduces new twists in the ongoing romance with a certain descendant of a famous mobster. While it doesn’t resolve the tension between them, it significantly escalates the romantic intrigue in a delightful manner. Moreover, this installment introduces characters likely to recur and delves into the secrets of others’ pasts.

Amusingly, Butterball, the beloved pet cat, enjoys his own set of subplots, ranging from his belief that he may have caused an accidental death to a new interaction with a local feline. Despite technically owning the large home where our protagonist resides, Butterball’s adventures are treated as a light-hearted aspect of this cozy mystery. They contribute to the fat cat’s character development as he forms a feline connection, adding a layer of humor that cat owners will find especially relatable.

The mystery itself is rich with twists and turns, sprinkled with food and literary references throughout. Knowledge of The Maltese Falcon enhances the reader’s understanding of the story and aspects of the mystery, though some connections may be telegraphed a bit too clearly. Nonetheless, appreciating these hilarious references doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the mysteries in the book and is especially valued by aficionados. However, some readers might prefer more surprises in their mysteries. The isolation of the characters is explained, with overloaded emergency services playing a significant role.

An unexpected delight is found towards the end: instead of the usual one or two recipes, this volume contains a small recipe book. These recipes range from expected pizzas and appetizers to drinks and desserts, catering to a variety of tastes. Personal favorites include O’Leary’s Deep Dish Apple Pie, and those with dietary restrictions will appreciate a certain plot-centric pizza variant.

Fans of the series and aficionados of culinary-themed mysteries will find much to enjoy in this addition. While not the ideal starting point for new readers, the characters are introduced in a manner that makes them accessible, and their more eccentric traits are thoroughly explained. This volume, slightly more suggestive than typical cozy mysteries, remains non-explicit, with the lead’s discomfort with sexual references serving as a narrative point

Public Anchovy #1 is available at:

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