Cupcake Bakery Mystery (Book #5)

By Jean McKinlay

Berkley Prime Crime; April, 2013 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-25207-9

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(February, 2014)

When a culinary rival crashes a photo shoot at Scottsdale's Fairy Tale Cupcakes, mayhem ensues. Cupcakes go flying between the crashers and the crashees, and the film crew gets in on the action too. To make up for the cost of the ruined shoot, Ian Hannigan, who commissioned it, comes up with a fitting repayment. Hannigan is the owner of Southwest Style, a slick lifestyle magazine. The staffers are equally slick and polished, but he notices that during the cupcake war they did not work well together.

He admires the close-knit teamwork of the cupcake employees and wants them to teach his staffers how to cooperate with each other. He convinces Fairy Tale Cupcakes owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura to hold a cupcake boot camp for the magazine employees. At the end of the project, he expects them to have produced one thousand cupcakes for a magazine gala.

The mismatched groups begin an uneasy détente, but soon everyone is doing his or her part with good will, with one glaring exception. Melanie and her friends sense major tension between Hannigan, his editor in chief, and one the writers, and learn that they have a troubled and complicated history together. When one of them ends up murdered behind the shop, Melanie and Angie don't believe it was a random crime, and they set out to dig up that history.

Melanie is also dealing with a personal dilemma. She has been in love with Joe DeLaura, Angie's brother, since she was twelve, but now that he's asked her to marry him, she's got cold feet. A handsome homicide cop who's working the case is interested in her, and the feelings he stirs up makes her even more confused. To add to her woes, the day after the murder her best friend Tate quits his cushy job in his father's company, packs up and leaves his penthouse, and disappears.

This is the fifth in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, and it is delicious. The characters are well-rounded and well-developed, and the mystery has plenty of twists, turns and surprises. The products of the bakery will make the reader's mouth water, and there are recipes included to satisfy any sweet tooth.

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