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A Cupcake Bakery Mystery
By Jenn McKinlay

Berkley Prime Crime Mystery ($6.99)

ISBN-10: 0425244059
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-24405-0

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are partners in Fairy Tale Cupcakes. They are determined to win the $10,000 Grand Prize in the Scottsdale Food Festival's "challenge to the chefs" this year and even more determined to beat their rival Olivia Puckett! The contest is designed to test the skill of the chefs by choosing a new "secret ingredient" everyday. The gals are prepared for the cooking challenge but not the killer, who seems to be using the competition for his or her own reasons to target the participants.

The author has created a memorable ensemble cast of characters. The two main characters are smart, energetic, and funny. Also, for the most part, they don't do anything stupid or too dangerous to be believable. (What cozy sleuth doesn't venture into a bit of danger in her quest for truth?) The secondary characters are well drawn, sympathetic, and also very clever. Even the minor characters are memorable (and I hope some will return in future cupcake mysteries).

This is the third book in the series. Readers new to the series, as I was, can start with DEATH BY THE DOZEN without worry of being lost. The author provides all the necessary background the reader will need to enjoy the story. The previous titles are SPRINKLE WITH MURDER and BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF.

Recipes are included at the back of the book as is a preview of the next book in the series, RED VELVET REVENGE.

The author also writes the Library Lover's Mysteries.

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