Friday, October 29, 2010

Sprinkle With Murder

Sprinkle With Murder
Author: Jenn McKinley
Berkley, 2010
215 pages

I needed a quick read after my last book, so I grabbed this one off my shelf. I was missing my Foodie friends back in Indianapolis, especially my friend Lisa B. (Hey, Lisa!), who has a talent for and an interest in all things Cupcake.

Fairy Tale Cupcakes is a cupcakery (is that a word? If not, it should be) in a tourist area of Scottsdale, Arizona run by Melanie ("Mel") and Angie, who've been friends since grade school.  Mel was bound for a career in marketing, and Angie in education, but they decided to go for their dream of making people happy with cupcakes instead. They've got some simply amazing creations, and if you read the book, you'll actually find some recipes - what a nice bonus! (Unfortunately, I'm on a diet right now. Not quite sure how I managed to read Sprinkle With Murder under those circumstances, but I did.)

Unfortunately, they've also got a jealous rival (Olivia, who owns the other cupcakery in town) who's doing crazy things like driving past their store several times a day giving them dirty looks. But there's a bigger problem: best friend and investor Tate (who grew up to be a rich corporate executive) is about to marry Christie Stevens, a bee-yotch-y fashion designer who can't seem to get along with anyone. When Christie hires the ladies at Fairy Tale to make 500 cupcakes for the wedding, she can't just let them bake. She insists that they come up with five original recipes, which Christie (not Mel and Angie) will own.

Main character Mel isn't happy with this idea, but she accepts the challenge, and sets about creating some really yummy-sounding flavors - including a dark chocolate cake, cherry filling, dark chocolate ganache icing with dried cherries that sounds divine if you ask me. Mel sends the samples to Christie via Christie's assistants. When she goes to Christie's office the next morning to get her feedback on the samples, Mel finds Christie dead. Um, and there's a piece of a cupcake in one of her hands.

Of course, everyone thinks Mel did it. When business tapers off as a result of nasty rumors, Mel decided she has to find the real killer. She and Angie come up with some very clever investigative techniques and encounter some colorful individuals along the way. Whodunnit? The crazy cupcake rival? The dour, spooky assistant who looks a lot like a grown-up Wednesday from The Addams Family? The cross-dressing photographer who Christie constantly yelled at? Or perhaps Tate, the fiance and best friend of Mel and Angie? (And just why was he marrying Christie, anyway?!!!)

Unlike most cozy mysteries, I didn't guess the killer until that character was revealed. The murder technique was original, and all things considered, I really enjoyed the book. The only downside to me was what I considered an overuse of references to Mel's former weight issues and references to emotional eating. I really don't think it's necessary to get into that. After all, cozy mysteries are supposed to be fun. And darn it, if I can't eat the cupcakes, at least I can read about someone else eating them -- without guilt! :-)