Buttercream Bump Off
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $6.99
In Scottsdale, Arizona, Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura own successful Fairy Tale Cupcakes along with silent partner rich Tate Harper. Mel’s widow mom Joyce calls her daughter to tell her she has a date with entrepreneur Baxter Malloy, her first in centuries. On the night of the date Joyce goes into the cabana to change so she can enter the hot tub. When she comes out she finds Baxter dead; apparently while she was inside the cabana, someone choked Baxter with Myra’s stocking.
The next day, a man enters the bakery shouting at Mel for killing his father. Mel states her mother was on the date with his dad not her and besides her mom did not kill him either. Angie recognizes Brian Malloy AKA Roach the drummer for the Sewers band. Angie and Roach are attracted to one another while Mel tries to find out who killed Baxter. Widower Tate (see Sprinkle with Murder to learn the fate of his late wife) does not realize he loves Angie, fears for her life as he believes Roach killed the father he has not seen in three years. Mel realizes Baxter ran a Ponzi scheme that sucked in many Seattle residents; thus a horde of suspects had strong motives to kill him.
This is a fun timely amateur sleuth mystery with plenty of suspects whose lives were destroyed by Baxter’s con. The three pastry partners are BFFs, but the sprinkles on the cupcakes are their intimate relationships as this trio and Angie’s brother Joe sing Sister Sledge’s We Are Family (with Pittsburgh’s Pops smiling down on them). Tate’s ignorance of how he feels about Angie though Mel sees it quite lucidly and Angie suspects it; and Mel’s boyfriend Joe who naps when he sees her add humor to this sublime mystery. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this sweet (cupcakes and friends) and sour (con and murder) whodunit.