How the Murder Crumbles (A Cookie Shop Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder
About How the Murder Crumbles
How the Murder Crumbles (A Cookie Shop Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (June 20, 2023)
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639102809
ISBN-13 : 978-1639102808
Digital ASIN : B0BG13HTC6
Debra Sennefelder whips up cookies and crime in a delicious new cozy series, perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Peg Cochran.
Wingate, Connecticut, is famed as one of the top ten shopping destinations in the state, and home to Mallory Monroe’s beloved Cookie Shop—a place where patrons are greeted with the heavenly aroma of freshly baked cookies that are as beautifully decorated as they are insanely delicious.
But things aren’t going so smoothly for Mallory. Her two employees are a disaster in the kitchen, she catches her boyfriend with another woman, and she’s seen having a fierce argument with food blogger Beatrice Wright, who accuses Mallory of stealing her cookie recipe. Then Beatrice turns up dead in her kitchen, flour outlining her body and a bloodied marble rolling pin nearby. Mallory immediately becomes suspect number one, her sales plummet, and she desperately tries to clear her name—but that’s not the only murder the killer is baking up.
Debra Sennefelder has cooked up a perfect recipe—endearing characters, a picture-perfect evocation of small-town life, and a quaint sweets shop. And just when things get a little too comfy, there’s always a murder or two for good measure.
In this first Cookie Shop Mystery, we meet Mallory Monroe who has taken over and updated her Aunt Glenda’s bakery following her passing. The former ad exec is now featuring cookies and cookie bouquets and offering a variety of classes. She also plans to feature a cookie from her aunt’s cookbook each month as a tribute to her. This month it is the Almond Meltaway. But it isn’t long before food blogger Beatrice Wright puts her on notice that the cookie recipe belongs to her and if she doesn’t stop selling them she will be contacting her lawyer. Later when Mallory goes to visit Beatrice to clear the air she finds the woman dead on her kitchen floor surrounded by flour and a marble rolling pin next to her body.
Now Mallory is the prime suspect in the murder and her business is a risk. Instead of clearing the air, she has to clear her name and fast and Detective Will Hannigan isn’t making it easy.
Ms. Sennefelder has set this series off to a great start. I really enjoyed getting to know Mallory Monroe and the rest of these core characters. Mallory is dealing with a lot. Within the first few pages, she learns he boyfriend was two-timing her and that she is at the top of a suspect list for a murder. Her best friend Kip Winslow works with her at her bakery. He also happens to be the son of the Chief of Police. His sister Lauren is a police officer and a good friend of Mallory’s too. Claudia Allen was an employee of her Aunt Glenda’s who has stayed on even though she is clearly not happy with Mallory’s changes. Mallory’s cousin Darlene is very involved in all the happenings around town. Detective Will Hannigan enters the picture in an amusing way shortly before he has to investigate the murder. And I can’t forget Mallory’s cat, Agatha. All the characters are interesting, but Kip was my absolute fave with his cute little jokes and the way he always had Mallory’s back.
I found the mystery to be quite captivating. Mallory really didn’t want to get involved but she didn’t have much choice with the way the evidence was stacking up. Her investigative style was a little clumsy and pushy at times but this is her first foray as an amateur sleuth so it was understandable. The same is true for her reactions when all the clues fell into place setting up an exciting showdown.
A lot of different things happened within this story. The author found a great balance between the main mystery and the subplots. I love the cookie shop theme and all the descriptions of the cookies and bouquets.
How the Murder Crumbles was a very enjoyable read and a great introduction to some entertaining characters. I absolutely loved the connection revealed on the final page that confirmed an inkling I had. I am excited for this series to continue.
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About Debra Sennefelder
Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series, the Resale Boutique Mystery series, and the Cookie Shop mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.
Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail, and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie, and Billy.
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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.”