Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent

Murder Takes The Cake
~Gayle Trent

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Gallery
Publish Date: March 29, 2011
ISBN-10: 1451600011
ISBN-13: 978-1451600018

The back blurb:
A routine cake delivery becomes a culinary nightmare when a small-town baker discovers her first client’s dead body in this irresistible new mystery series.

It’ll take more than a little sugar to convince folks Daphne Martin’s freshly baked spice cake was not to blame for the mysterious death of town gossip Yodel Watson. Getting her new cake decorating business, Daphne’s Delectable Cakes, off the ground is hard enough now that Daphne’s moved back to her southern Virginia hometown, but orders have been even slower since she found Yodel’s body. She soon realizes, however, that just about everybody in town had a reason to poison the cantankerous busybody, from the philandering pet shop owner, to Yodel’s church potluck nemesis, to the Save-A-Buck’s cranky produce manager-turned-bagger. Now, to help prove she’s no confectionary killer, Daphne recruits her old flame, Ben Jacobs, editor of the local newspaper, and quickly stirs up a long-hidden family scandal that just might hold the secret ingredient she needs to solve the case. All she’s got to do is roll up her sleeves and get her hands a little dirty before the real culprit decides that taking sweet revenge on Daphne will be icing on the cake.

Daphne Martin is back in her hometown to start a new life; after her husband tried to kill her, she moved back to the little town to start a cake business. She's delivering a cake to her first customer, Yodel Watson, but when Daphne gets there, Yodel is dead! (<-- yes, that's her name, lol, it's explained later in the story) Now, even though the cake never left the box, the neighbors are blaming her cake for the death! Daphne soon learns that just about everyone in the town had a reason to dislike Yodel, she was a cranky busybody who kept a diary of all the sordid happenings around town. Daphne peeks into the diary and learns a deep, dark secret about her own family. As Daphne speaks with her family and her neighbors, trying to uncover the truth, she ends up with information in the mystery of Yodel's death. She's asking too many questions though, and gets a threatening warning to back off. Through it all she's baking cakes and more cakes and trying to keep her business afloat. My thoughts: Murder Takes the Cake was cute, short read, but ultimately it couldn't hold my attention.

Daphne is a likeable character, but we don't know too much about her past except that she's got an abusive ex-husband who tried to kill her. She's also got bad relationship with her mother, but we never find out why; just that her mother and sister have a good relationship. Apparently her mother thinks she should forgive the ex, which leaves my jaw on the floor just thinking about it. When she discovers her mother's secret, Daphne is even angrier, and I felt like this part of the story was never resolved.

The neighbors were quirky and provided for plenty of red herrings. The problem with that is that some of those herrings made the characters seem inconsistent, because we never found out the reasons for some of their weird behaviors, such as the pet store owner being really mean or the grocery store clerk acting suspicious.

The history with the romantic interest was a little more detailed and I thought we'd see some sparks, but really it was just awkward.

Throughout the book, Ms. Trent spends a lot of time describing the baking and decorating process. I have to be honest, I don't cook or bake, so I wasn't very entertained by all the baking references (although I'll admit I didn't know you could freeze cake!). She does include recipes for the cakes at the end of the book, which is pretty cool if you do enjoy baking.

My Rating:

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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