Mount St. Joseph University

U-Pun My Word: Read These Books, Knot What You Think

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Brittany Hein

File Under: book recommendations, dateline

After a whole semester of reading novels and/or textbooks for classes, sometimes a change of genre is necessary for one’s sanity. With the impending holidays and whirlwind of parties that come with it, a compilation of short and sweet novels with punny titles seems more alluring. Each one is a genuine novel which could either be purchased or borrowed from the local library, but even just reading the titles is humorous. To perhaps pique interest in reading one, I included Amazon’s featured plot summary and star rating (scaled from 1-5 stars) for each novel. Be forewarned, on my search for punny books I found that common themes consist of mystery, murder, and food—although, what else does one need?

1. The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews (4.7 stars)

'Tis the season for tree trimming, mistletoe-dangling, and a cut-throat competition that has everyone in Caerphilly on edge. Whatever happened to the simple joys and magical spirits of Christmas? Meg Langslow's own mother is among those participating in a holiday-themed design extravaganza in which each room in an untenanted show house is decorated for the public to view. All the proceeds go to charity-so why are all the contestants fighting tooth and nail to win first prize?

2. Breach of Crust by Ellery Adams (4.7 stars)

Ella Mae LeFaye’s delicious pies are still drawing long lines—as well as the attention of Beatrice Burbank, president of the Camellia Club, a philanthropic organization comprised of high-society Southern ladies from the charming and affluent town of Sweet Briar, Georgia. To ensure the success of their centennial dessert cookbook, Bea hires Ella Mae to teach the tasty tricks of her trade to the club’s members at their annual retreat. Eager to work on new recipes for customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions, Ella Mae readily agrees.

But when Ella Mae finds Bea’s body floating in Lake Havenwood, she wonders what she’s gotten herself mixed up in. Someone certainly wanted Bea to eat humble pie, and the retreat offers no shortage of unsavory characters, including Ella Mae’s longtime nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor. Ella Mae definitely doesn’t need magic to tell her she must find the killer before someone else gets panned.

3. Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton (4.6 stars)

Opera singer Roma Toscano may have a crippling case of stage fright, but she certainly is stirring up drama in Autumn Vale, New York, as she prepares for an upcoming performance at Merry’s Wynter Castle. With her flamboyant style and flirtatious personality, Roma attracts fans as well as critics, including the town’s postmistress—and Merry’s bitter foe—Minnie Urqhart.

But Roma and Minnie’s heated rivalry goes cold after Merry discovers Minnie dead at the post office. While every clue seems to be another ingredient in the investigation of Roma, Merry thinks the case is half-baked, and she’s eager to get her mitts on the real killer...

4. Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander (4.1 stars)

Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary…especially when murder is thrown into the mix.

When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking down the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading―with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent―for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start…and risk getting burned?

5. The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames (3.9 stars)

Welcome to the grand opening of Fromagerie Bessette. Or as it's more commonly known by the residents of small-town Providence, Ohio-the Cheese Shop. Proprietor Charlotte Bessette has prepared a delightful sampling of bold Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, delicious tortes of Stilton and Mascarpone, and a taste of Sauvignon Blanc-but someone else has decided to make a little crime of passion the piece de resistance. Right outside the shop Charlotte finds a body, the victim stabbed to death with one of her prized olive-wood handled knives.

6. War and Peach by Susan Furlong (4.9 stars)

Nola Mae Harper is too busy restocking the jars of preserves and chutney flying off the shelves of her shop, Peachy Keen, to keep up with all the gossip about the upcoming mayoral election, but she does know the debate is sure to be a real barn burner.

Local farmer Clem Rogers claims he has a bombshell that could take small business owner Margie Price out of the running. But before Clem can reveal his juicy secret at the debate, his actual barn goes up in flames—with him inside of it. The town casts its vote against Margie, but Nola isn’t convinced the hardworking woman is capable of murder. Now to clear Margie's name Nola will have to work fast under pressure, before Margie gets taken in by the fuzz...

7. Knot What You Think  by Mary Marks (4.7 stars)

Martha Rose is alarmed by the discovery of Dolleen Doyle’s dead body, especially when evidence suggests a fellow quilter committed the crime.  Set on clearing her pal, Martha searches for answers—but with ties to a convicted fraudster’s stolen millions and a secret office room, the victim’s past raises even more questions. As Martha inches towards the culprit, she learns that wrapping the case up—and living to baste another square—will be trickier than she ever imagined…

8. Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea & of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists & Fools Including the Author Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn (3.4 stars)

When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn's accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive arena of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories. Moby-Duck is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable.

9. Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (4.4 stars)

When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They're having magical effects on the people who eat them--and the public is hungry for more.

Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe. But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate. When Loralyn's fiancé is found dead—killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin—it'll take all her sweet magic to clear her name.

10. Portrait of a Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart (4.2 stars)

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.