Book Review: MURDER TAKES THE CAKE by Gayle Trent

5501200
Series: A Daphne Martin Cake Mystery, #1
Publisher: Gallery Books
Released: March 29, 2011; Reprint
Source: Review copy from publisher

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.

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Murder Takes the Cake is the first book in Gayle Trent’s Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series. Daphne has recently returned to her childhood home in a small Virginia town. She’s recently divorced from an abusive husband who is serving prison time for trying to shoot her. Her fresh start in life is opening her own cake decorating business, Daphne’s Delectable Cakes. Unfortunately for Daphne, she discovers one of her first clients dead when she delivers her cake order. The deceased happens to be a spiteful busybody who kept a journal full of the town’s secrets. When it’s revealed that the victim was poisoned, fingers point to Daphne and her cakes. Soon she’s forced to solve the mystery in order to save herself and her business.

I’ve decided that cozy mystery is my new genre for 2011, and Murder Takes the Cake is the first one that I’ve read (unless you count the Sookie Stackhouse books). Because I’m new to cozies, I can’t compare this book to others. But, I can say that I really enjoyed it! The mystery itself was a fairly simple one, so in my opinion the book’s strength came from the intersting characters and their interwoven relationships. The author did a great job making the small town characters’ quirky personalities pop off the page. I loved Daphne, and I could really connect with her. There was just the barest hint of romance between Daphne and her long lost boyfriend Ben who helps her solve the mystery. The only thing that slowed the story down somewhat was the detailed descriptions of Daphne’s cake decorating. Some of it I enjoyed learning about, but it did take up a big chunk of the story.

Murder Takes the Cake is a quick and entertaining read fans of cozy mysteries and even chick lit would enjoy. This book was first published in 2008. The copy I reviewed is the March 2011 trade paperback edition. Up next in the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series: Killer Sweet Tooth.

Rating: 3¾ Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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