Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fatally Frosted-Jessica Beck

Fatally Frosted
Jessica Beck
St. Martin’s, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312946111

In April Springs, North Carolina (population 5001), Suzanne Hart owns the popular Donut Hearts donut shop. She is a reasonably contented person who loves her vocation especially being her own boss doing what she enjoys. Suzanne has a nice boyfriend, State Police Inspector Jake Bishop and several close friends. For the September Kitchens Extraordinaire, her buddy Marge asks Suzanne to demonstrate how to make donuts in her remodeled kitchen. Suzanne leaps at the chance to make beignets for the gala.

On the first day of the festival, Suzanne demonstrates to a large crowd how to make beignets when someone screams: “she’s dead.” Kitchen tour organizer Peg Masterson has been murdered with the weapon being Suzanne’s lemon-filled pastry which the victim was addicted to and everyone in town knew it. Suzanne is at the top of Police Chief Martin’s suspect list with Jake investigating though he rejects the notion that his girlfriend poisoned Peg. Distrusting the professional law enforcement officials including her Jake to do their jobs, Suzanne and her sweet tooth posse conduct an inquiry.

Suzanne in her second amateur sleuth (see Glazed Murder) knows that Peg was a nasty sort so had several enemies with strong motives of whom the donut maker places on her list. Fatally Frosted is a sugary concoction that provides readers a glimpse through the donut hole of living in a small town. Although one must wonder why she does not trust Jake to do the job and still see her, the story line retains a sense of realism due to the recipe like method employed by the amateur sleuth to uncover who were the strongest motivated and who had the means.

Harriet Klausner

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