Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always happy when Laura Bradford drops by for a visit!
First Suspend, Then Fun
By Laura Bradford
Author of Dial M For Mousse,
an Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery
When you write a cozy mystery you have certain aspects you must adhere to, not the least of which is the whole small-town/amateur sleuth backdrop. In and of itself, basing a story in a small town provides lots of background fodder—gossip, connections, fights, secrets, etc. But when it comes to the mystery component and the fact that murder must happen in this small town again and again (and again), you need your readers to be willing to suspend reality to an extent. Still, just as they need to accept the fact that ten murders have happened in quaint little Nowheresville, Ohio in as many (or less) years, you, as the writer, must make your sleuth’s reason for getting involved believable. Because really, why is the average-Joe bookseller going to keep putting herself in harm’s way to solve yet another murder?
It’s that challenge that I find particularly fun about writing a cozy mystery. I like seeing how the main murder plot can draw my main character toward it, rather than away from it like most normal people would go.
Just by the very nature of my Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, my main character, Winnie Johnson, is on the go—delivering her emergency themed desserts to college dorm rooms, businesses, personal residences, and even local politicians. So the potential for her to stumble across something out of the ordinary is higher than, say, a bookseller who stays in one place. But even if she comes across a body, there has to be a reason she’d want to get involved rather than just go home, detox with a hunk of chocolate, and let the local cops do their job.
In Éclair and Present Danger, the debut book in the series, grief propels Winnie to get involved when her elderly neighbor is murdered.
In The Silence of the Flans, book #2 in the series, desperation propels Winnie to get involved when the victim dies while eating one of her desserts.
And in Dial M for Mousse, the latest book in the series, anger propels Winnie to get involved when a routine delivery is manipulated into an alibi for murder.
So while it may be hard to fathom stumbling across dead bodies on a routine basis, everyone, on some level, knows grief…and desperation…and anger. And as long as we can identify on some level, suspending reality for our small town backdrop isn’t all that difficult. In fact, it’s actually kind of fun…
Thank you for visiting today, Laura!
Dial M for Mousse (An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (January 2, 2018)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B06Y573L55
Murder takes the cake in an irresistible Emergency Dessert Squad mystery from the national bestselling author of The Silence of the Flans.
The Emergency Dessert Squad business is booming, with owner and baker Winnie Johnson working overtime to satisfy the emergency cravings of Silver Lake, Ohio. Her latest order, a plate of motivational desserts for an artists’ retreat, is just what she needs to keep her mind off her own relationship woes.
But Winnie’s problems seem like trifles when she discovers the body of retreat owner Sally Dearfield mere inches away from five oh-so-eccentric and viable suspects. Now, this baking detective must uncover the inspiration behind Sally’s murder before another creative genius is iced.
Winnie’s business continues to grow. With all her friend’s help, she creates delectable desserts to rescue her customers from things like a bad breakup, loss of a job, and anything else you can imagine. In this story, she has been asked to bake up motivational treats for a group of artists with different talents at a local retreat. After she delivers the goodies she goes to tell the owner and finds her dead on the floor with all the artists standing nearby. The police immediately suspect foul play and Winnie has a dessert connection with all the viable suspects which lands her right in the middle of another murder investigation.
The author has created a very unique theme for this series. After the expenses of having a bakery in a storefront became beyond what Winnie could afford she started a home-based business and uses an old ambulance she inherited to deliver her desserts to her customers. The treats even arrive on a stretcher complete with icing IV’s. She also inherited a cat that goes along for each delivery.
The characters are all very well developed. Most of Winnie’s friends are senior citizens and she has a real bond with them. They along with her best friend Renee are her taste testers and her confidants. Renee is also Winnie’s only employee. Her romantic relationship with a local college professor, who she met when making a delivery to him, is a little murky. His teenage daughter does not like her father giving anyone else attention and she has done everything she can to break them up.
I thought solving the murder this time would be easy as we knew from the start there were only five suspects, but it turned out to be very complex. None were very forthcoming and all appeared to be hiding something. Winnie didn’t give up though and I really enjoyed following each little hint and clue right along with her.
The clever theme of this series, interesting characters, and a very imaginative plot kept this reader very entertained. All the dessert talk and descriptions made my mouth water. I loved the names Winnie gave her goodies.
A fun read that stands on its own but the series is better served if you start at the beginning.
About the Author
Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of many mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, will release in June 2018. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”