Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Delightful characters, good mystery, fun
Cons: Comes with recipes and not actual cupcakes
The Bottom Line:
First date turned deadly
Lots of fun and mystery
Makes a page turner
Fun as Frosting
A year and a half ago, I finally started the popular Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, and I enjoyed the first book. Yet I didn’t get around to coming back and reading the second until now. (In my defense, I did read the first two books in the author’s Hat Shop series last year.) When I found out that Buttercream Bump Off was set leading up to Valentine’s Day, that seemed like the perfect time to bump the book up my to be read pile.
It’s a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. Mel and Angie, owners of Fairy Tale Cupcakes, are hosting a contest where the winner will get a fancy dinner on the holiday. This is in addition to their couple’s cupcake baking class. Even Mel’s mother, Joyce, has been hit by Cupid’s arrow since she is going out on the first date she’s had since Mel’s father passed away a decade ago.
However, Joyce calls in a panic in the middle of her date. She has found her date, Baxter Malloy, floating in his pool dead. With the police questioning Joyce, Mel feels the need to find out who really killed Baxter. The suspects are numerous since he was running a pyramid scheme, but some of them hit even closer to home. Which of the suspects actually committed the crime?
While the characters weren’t fresh in my mind, it didn’t take me long to short out all the relationships. While I had remembered liking the characters before, I had forgotten just how much. They are really fun to spend time with and feel like real people. The new characters introduced here are just as strong. I especially loved Marty and hope he sticks around in future books (or comes back in we haven’t seen him again).
The mystery was intriguing with some great clues and twists to the story. I would argue that the pacing could have been a little better overall, but quite often, things were slowed down by some funny situations that Mel found herself in while investigating. I laughed a couple of times and smiled at others, so it’s hard to complain about the pace for that reason. The ending was logical, exciting, and funny all at the same time.
Being a culinary cozy, the book has to include recipes, right? There are 4 cupcake recipes in the back, and my mouth watered reading them. That’s quite a feat since I’m not a big fan of frosting usually, but the frosting here sounds delicious.