Everyone knows the key to a great pie is the crust, and Alice Anderson’s Aunt Polly had the best piecrust recipe bar none. Aunt Polly loved baking pies and made them for her neighbors free of charge. When she died suddenly, the inhabitants of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania knew they would miss her dearly.
No one missed her as much as Alice. Alice had grown close to her aunt and had spent hours watching her bake. She longed to have such a relationship with her mother who suffered from a bad case of sibling rivalry. Convinced that everyone favored Polly, Mrs. Anderson envied her sister’s baking abilities and was outraged when she learned that Polly had left her piecrust recipe to her pet cat, Lardo! Lardo was a grouchy, unpleasant creature. When he disappeared, no one seemed concerned except Alice. Little did Alice know, her search to find him would help her to overcome her grief.
Sarah Weeks’ mystery demonstrates the charm of life in a small town in the 1950’s. Not only does Aunt Polly know everyone’s favorite pie recipe, but she also understands their personalities. Alice and her friend Charlie have the freedom to roam Ipswitch looking for Lardo. Alice learns to find friendship and loyalty in unexpected places and to value her own special talents. Young bakers will enjoy the detailed accounts of Aunt Polly’s technique and may even want to try the recipes that accompany each chapter for themselves. Bon appétit!
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.