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Death by the Dozen
Cupcake Bakery Mystery, No 3
Jenn McKinlay

Berkley Prime Crime
Oct 2011/ 978-0-425-24405-0
Mystery / Cozy / Amateur Sleuths

Reviewed by
Laura Hinds

Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery, run by friends Melanie Cooper and Angie Deluca, is the small town of Scottsdale’s favorite dessert haven. Their competition, Confections, a bakery owned by personal and professional rival Olivia Puckett, keeps them on their toes. The Food Channel is coming to town with a competition called “Challenge to the Chefs.” Olivia has won it five years in a row and she is bound and determined to retain her title.

One of the Food Channel’s celebrity chefs, Vic Mazzotta, just happens to be Mel’s mentor from her time in culinary school. Yet Mel and Angie know the only way they will win is based on the merits of their baking and use of a mystery ingredient. Unfortunately, after Vic doesn’t show up for the judging, his body is found in a freezer truck. Who killed Vic and why? It’s up to Mel and Angie to track down the killer, bake the best cupcakes for the contest, and watch each other’s backs. If they aren’t on top of things, they could be the killer’s next victims.

This mystery literally gets off to a running start, and remains fast-paced throughout the book. Populated with interesting characters, readers may feel as if they are visiting old friends in a small-town setting. McKinlay sets a comfortable tone, and defines the characters smoothly. Scottsdale feels warm and familiar, yet is not idealistic, and readers can expect some action-packed scenes.

I enjoyed the book very much, and I recommend the whole series. This is fine as a stand-alone read, but even better if you read, “Sprinkle with Murder” and “Buttercream Bump Off” as well. “Death by the Dozen” is fine for teens and up, is a fast read, and even includes recipes at the back of the book. You can’t go wrong with cupcake recipes! Just make sure you have some cupcakes handy when you read it, or you’ll be running to a nearby bakery with your mouth watering!

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2011
© 2011