Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Going, Going, Ganache - Jenn McKinlay




Going, Going, Ganache
A Cupcake Bakery Mystery
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Prime Crime

 
Mystery
 
The day started out so well for Mel and Angie, co-owners of Fairy Tale Cupcakes.  A local style magazine, Southwest Style, discovered their bakery and decided to do a story and a photo shoot.  To almost no one’s surprise, Olivia, their baking arch-rival, appears during the shoot and tries to force her way into a photo.  The whole scene degenerates into a food fight.  Not terribly professional.  The owner of the magazine agrees, and in order to foster a spirit of cooperation among his team – and they need it, badly – he declares that the next week will be spend in an improvised corporate boot camp, making enough cupcakes for a charity gala to be held on the weekend.

Naturally, this news does not go over well with anyone, with the possible exception of the food editor.  The editor, Brigit essentially takes over Mel’s office for the duration.  Sam Kelleher, who won a Pulitzer for hard news during his days at the L.A. Times, opines that perhaps a quick death would be better than this humiliation.  Sadly, he appears to get his wish.  Unlocking the bakery early the next morning, Mel discovers Sam’s body in the alley behind the building.  The magazine staff members react with varying degrees of horror and black humor, prompting Mel to view them all as suspects. 

The most welcome news of this installment (following SPRINKLE WITH MURDER, BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF, DEATH BY THE DOZEN, and RED VELVET REVENGE) is that Angie and Tate finally resolve the too-long ‘will they or won’t they’ dance.  This would be fantastic news if Mel didn’t suddenly get a case of cold feet and begin waffling between her D.A. almost-finance and a handsome detective investigating the case.  I’m hoping that this will be resolved quickly, as this kind of love triangle stuff doesn’t interest me overmuch, and tends to force the mystery into the background for too much of the time.  Although, another member of the bakery team has very surprising romantic tryst that makes me want to forgive all of the above.
 
The mystery here is a good one.  The author makes great use of the various members of the magazine team, from their media titan owner to the career-driven editor to the reporter who fears his best reporting days are behind him.  Each character is a real individual, with quirks and opinions that make them unique.  It’s clear early on that the killer is one of the staffers, but the narrative evolves in such a way that it could be almost any of them.  As always, there are some great recipes offered at the end (I plan to try the pumpkin cupcakes asap) and a preview of the next novel.  I’m always happy to see a new installment in this entertaining series.
 
Rating: 7 ½
April 2013
ISBN# 978-0-425-25207-9 (paperback)

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