Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent

In this delightful new series by Gayle Trent, we are introduced to Daphne Martin, now returned to her Virginia hometown and trying to establish her new business as a free lance cake decorator. When Daphne is delivering a spice cake to one of her more difficult customers, Yodel Watson, she finds her reclining on the sofa in her bathrobe. Except for one thing, she is not just resting, she is dead! As Daphne explains to the police over and over after Yodel’s death is declared suspicious , I was just delivering a cake. Honest!

Yodel’s daughter, Annabelle calls Daphne from Florida and asks her to retrieve her mother’s diary and tells Daphne exactly where to find it. Of course, Daphne can’t help but peek into the diary and is appalled when she finds some volatile secrets concerning her own family and many others in the town. It seems there are a lot of people who would be happy to see the end of Yodel. The suspense is heightened when Daphne finds a warning painted on her walkway to MIND HER OWN BUSINESS. But of course, she just can’t do that! The fun begins as Daphne tries to find out who is the real murderer and the truth about her own family.

Trent has written an absolutely captivating cozy, complete with all the traditional elements of the genre. There is the requisite disliked victim, the nosy neighbor, the town blabbermouth and a host of possible suspects in a cast of colorful characters. Motives abound and there are enough red herrings and real clues to keep the reader guessing until the very end. Throw in a town full of petty feuds, the local beauty shop’s hot bed of gossip, a little budding romance between characters and you have the recipe for a delicious mystery.

I hadn’t even read past page 7 and I had laughed out loud numerous times. The dialogue in this book is filled with snappy wit that will regale the reader time and time again. The plot is well constructed and well paced with just the right amount of subplot to keep up the interest with characters that are so well drawn, the reader will feel as if they are real .

If you are a fan of the cozy mystery, this is one you will definitely want to read. If you like Diane Mott Davidson or Joanna Fluke, you will be delighted as Ms. Trent gives a lot of cake decorating details and the book contains some mouthwatering recipes. Highly recommended. 5****

Thank you to Gayle Trent and Bell Bridge Books for an advance copy of this book.

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