A Piper Donovan Mystery, No 2
Mary Jane Clark
William Morrow/Harper Collins
January 2012 / ISBN: 978-0-06-199556-9
by Laura Hinds
Piper Donovan is an aspiring actress who has moved home to live
with her parents while she is between gigs. Her mother Terri, runs
a very successful bakery, but is losing her vision and requires
help, and Piper is happy to be there to lend a hand. Piper has learned
from her mother over the years and now can make out-of-this-world
cakes, as evidenced by one she made recently for a soap opera actress
who was getting married.
When Piper gets an invitation to LA, it·s not for an audition
(at least not right away), but to make a wedding cake for the daughter
of the owner of an exclusive spa. Since she will only be gone for
a week, and she knows her mother's employees will help out, she
takes the job. The spa caters to the rich as well as the famous,
and they offer innovative anti-aging technology. The spa, Elysium,
features amazing amenities and Piper is thrilled that she accepted
the cake assignment. The bride-to-be is nice, and Piper learns she
will only have to assemble and decorate the cake, as a nearby convent
makes wonderful pumpkin bread that will be used for the cake layers.
Although an employee of the spa has recently been maimed by acid
thrown in her face, Piper feels reassured that there is now plenty
of security in place and that all will be well. It·s not
long though, before some dirty goings-on are suspected, and the
injured employee is actually murdered. Without her FBI agent boyfriend,
Jack, to watch her back, Piper must look out for number one as she
tries to uncover the truth behind the vicious attacks on the housekeeper.
Is the intended target really the bride-to-be? Is one of the spa
employees sexually assaulting guests while they undergo ·sleep
treatments?· Will Piper be able to find the answers in time
to keep herself from an early grave?
Author Mary Jane Clark has cooked up a delicious mystery featuring
ingredients like smart, strong women, devious employees and ex-employees,
a father who loves his daughter above all else, and enough possible
suspects to keep you turning page after page to find the next clue.
The book is a fast read, with short chapters that keep the action
moving at a steady pace. I was stumped as to who the actual killer
was until nearly the end. Piper is an intelligent character and
the depth of her emotions and insight into her thought processes
were written extremely well. I enjoyed the book and recommend it
to those who love a mystery without a lot of gore. The complex characters
and an interesting, warm, and sunny California locale had my mind
wandering to the warmer climate as I read this on a cold December
weekend. And that is a good thing!