Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
It is my pleasure to give you my thoughts about Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
by Valerie Burns today!
About Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder
Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington Cozies (August 30, 2022)
Paperback : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496738225
ISBN-13 : 978-1496738226
Digital ASIN : B09MZTN6YC
In this delectable new cozy mystery series, social media maven Maddy Montgomery’s perfectly ’grammable life has come undone, and she’s #StartingOver in a tiny town with one giant problem—a killer on the loose . . .
When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great-aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 250-pound English mastiff named Baby.
Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka the Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .
Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions, too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.
Maddy Montgomery’s life has been all over social media. She was even going to live stream her wedding but that imploded when the groom failed to show up for the nuptials. Unsure what direction her life may take she receives notification that her great aunt Octavia has died and she has left everything to Maddy. Her home in New Bison, Michigan, her bakery, and her Baby, a 250-pound English mastiff. The only stipulation is that she must live in Octavia’s home for a year. Much to her father’s dismay, Maddy takes off for Michigan to start over. Of course, she doesn’t bake so hopefully that is not a problem. She also knows nothing about caring for a dog as big as a horse.
Thankfully all of Octavia’s friends aka Baker Street Irregulars take Maddie under their wings to help her get her life in New Bison off to a good start. But then the mayor of New Bison is found dead and Maddy’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Not the way she intended to be #StartingOver. She soon learns that Octavia thought something strange was going on in New Bison and Maddy believes it too. She needs #catchthekiller before they strike again and Maddy becomes the next victim.
Maddie was a spoiled military brat and her father provided for every need. Her job as a social media influencer kept her busy and flush enough to buy the fancy shoes she loves. Drop the socialite in a small midwestern town on her own where she will either sink or swim. I was so happy with the way Maddy developed over the course of this book. She still spent time on her phone letting her followers know what she was doing but she also used her knowledge to help others. I loved all the #hashtags Maddy used throughout the book and that she stayed upbeat for her fans.
I also enjoyed meeting Leroy Danielson. He works at the bakery and was a great friend to her great aunt. He didn’t let Maddy get away with the “I can’t bake/cook” line. We also meet several more of Octavia’s friends, including Miss Hannah who suffers from dementia but loves to bake and her grandson, Michael, the local vet, Mr. Russell, Octavia, and now Maddy’s lawyer, Tyler Lawrence who owns a shop with the most wonderful knit sweaters and scarves. and Sheriff April Johnson. All these characters felt genuine and diverse and they all loved Octavia and were ready to help Maddy in any way they could, especially after the mayor’s murder.
Baby, the English mastiff is a great character too. He goes almost everywhere with Maddy and tries to protect her just like he did Octavia. You could tell how much he missed the woman that took care of him since he was a pup. Ms. Burns always has dogs in her stories and like those other dogs, Baby grabbed a place in my heart.
The mystery was top-notch too. Octavia was on to something when she died and left clues for Maddy to find. As she delved into her investigation she learned that the people in town had plenty of secrets and that the current deaths may be connected to her great aunt’s death. The closer she got to the truth the pace really picked up. I really enjoyed the scene when that final clue dropped into place for Maddy.
The small-town atmosphere and the way everyone came together several times to help with the bakery or talk about the case really pulled me in. It was surprising that the sheriff was part of the Baker Street Irregulars. It was refreshing to see her wanting help and not just telling everyone to leave the investigation to her.
I have to take a moment to praise all the delicious baking that happens within these pages. Maddy may not have known how to bake but she has a great teacher in Leroy. She also found all her great aunt’s recipes. I am excited to see Baby Cakes Bakery back in action.
Ms. Burns has set this series off to a wonderful start with Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder. She has found the perfect recipe for what I hope is a long-running series. I found the story to be very entertaining and difficult to put down.
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About Valerie Burns
Valerie (V. M.) Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Her first book, The Plot is Murder, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel. She is the author of the Dog Club Mystery Series, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, a three-time finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and an Edgar Award-nominated short story. Her newest series, Baker Street Mysteries, will release later this year, and her Pet Detective Mystery series will release in 2023. Valerie is on the board of Sisters in Crime and the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and International Thriller Writers. She is a manager for a Fortune 100 company and a mentor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie currently lives in the southeastern United States with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at vmburns.com.
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