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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Smothered by GP Gottlieb is part of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series. Alene runs the Whipped and Sipped Cafe and has found a balance between her role as a mother and her relationship with Frank. The street her cafe is on comes with several neighbors but that doesn't mean that all of them are liked. Alene thought her biggest concerns would be her relationship with Frank and worrying if she's being a good mother to her children. When the owner of a neighboring business is found dead, Alene is quickly drawn into the case. Now, to solve his murder, she must dive into the middle of the family drama he left behind. She must navigate his relationship with his children and the bitterness of his wife who had plenty to complain about with her husband's actions. Can she catch the killer before the killer catches onto her sleuthing?
Alene is a complex character with deep facets that are explored throughout the story and contribute toward her attitude as a sleuth. The best part about cozy mysteries is the dynamic sleuths at the center. GP Gottlieb has succeeded with Alene by showing her as a mother who is protective, a daughter that is compassionate, and a woman that is strong-willed. Her relationship with Frank is a little tense with his job as a detective taking him away from their dates and it coincides with her own investigation. The murder investigation takes her into Stanley's family drama which includes strained relationships with his children and his wife who has plenty of reasons to hold a grudge. The family life that he left behind is drawn throughout the story as Alene gets closer and closer to catching a killer. Smothered is a cozy mystery that has a sweet and humorous tone with a grounded story, family drama, and a realistic protagonist that must balance her role as a mother with her role as a sleuth.