Murder Most Sweet: A Bookish Baker Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 289 pages
Kindle ASIN: B08272M182
In this series debut for fans of Jenn McKinlay, baker Teddie St. John spends her time away from the oven writing murder mysteries. But is she herself a murderer?
Everyone in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, knows Teddie St. John. Tall, curly-haired Teddie is a superb baker, a bohemian bon vivant, and a mystery writer. Teddie is walking her American Eskimo dog, Gracie, when her four-legged friend finds Teddie’s missing silk scarf. Only problem: the scarf is tied tightly around the neck of a beautiful blond woman, the fiancée of a touring British author.
Before you can say “Wisconsin kringle,” Teddie becomes a murder suspect. Everyone in town knows all too well that the distinctive scarf was hers. But there are more layers to this case than there would have been on poor Kristi’s wedding cake. Tavish Bentley should be bereaved after his sweetheart’s strangling. Instead, the dashing Brit takes a shine to Teddie’s witty wisecracks and to-die-for cookies, and soon he’s mooning over her instead of mourning his bride. That is, when he’s not dodging the attentions of Annabelle, an obsessive fan who’s taken to stalking him.
And when a second murder shocks the community, the plot thickens to the consistency of fondant as Teddie stands accused of not one, but two, murders. With the help of her friends Sharon and Char, can Teddie clear her name and deliver a killer’s just desserts?
I had planned to read and review this book closer to the release date but I was suffering from chemo side effects and preparing for surgery at that time. Now I have just a few radiation treatments left and am in a much better place to read this book that features a breast cancer survivor protagonist.
Teddie St. John loves to bake and she’s good at it. She also loves to write mysteries and she excels at that too. A breast cancer survivor she has plotted her life around those two things, plus her friends, her mom, and her American Eskimo dog, Gracie. She is excited to attend a book signing at her BFF Char’s bookstore. The author, Tavish Bentley, is a famous British suspense writer who ended up in Lake Potawatomi when his event in Milwaukee was canceled. Sadly just as the event is getting started Teddie suffers one of those dreaded side effects brought on by cancer treatments and ends up leaving the book signing early.
Later while out walking Gracie she makes a gruesome discovery. Behind her friend’s bookstore, she finds the famous author’s fiance dead with a significant clue that points directly at Teddie as the murderer. Thankfully she is friends with the sheriff and he knows she didn’t kill anybody. The author does have a fan who is obsessed with him, and Teddie’s money is on her as the killer but then a second body is found and that really twists things up. Teddie enlists the help of her besties to help her find the real killer and serve them up on a silver platter.
I love Teddie St. John! It is always nice when you have something in common with the lead character in a cozy but this time it isn’t just a craft or an occupation, it is something neither would have chosen for ourselves. Surviving cancer is a battle and her road was much tougher than mine. I know the author drew from her own experiences and that makes the story even more special. Ms. Walker also surrounded Teddie with excellent friends, an overbearing mother, and a lovable pup. These characters all drew me in right away.
Setting the story in my home state, also the author’s, grabbed my attention too. The dialogue rang true, the descriptions of the people and places was like looking out my back door, and OMG the food/Kringles mentions brought me actual joy.
The mystery was top-notch, with actually two to solve. Teddie was an interesting sleuth to follow. If you are looking for quirky, somewhat creepy characters look no further than the people that land on Teddie’s suspect list. She takes some risks but none of the “too stupid to live” kind that some amateur sleuths do. I did hone in on a few things before she did but was very entertained by the way things played out.
The story had a great flow with one scene near the beginning of the book that had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. There is also the start of a romance for Teddie. At first, I thought it was happening too quickly but who am I to judge. Teddie has been through a lot and deserves all the happiness she can get.
Murder Most Sweet is a terrific cozy mystery that has set this series off to a fine start. My appetite has been seriously whet, I can hardly wait for Deadly Delights that will be hitting shelves June 8, 2021.
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About the Author
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.”