A Sheetcake Named Desire by Jacklyn Brady (2011)

November 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm (mystery)

Yes, the cozy mystery subgenre suffers from punny titles.   That’s one of its charms, to my mind, though occasionally they work a bit too hard.

Professional cake decoration is the gimmick of this series!  As a hobby baker, I always regard such confections with awe, so I was quite interested to get an “inside look” at the business.  Of course I’m assuming the author has done her homework, but it all certainly sounds credible.

As the title suggests, the “Piece of Cake Mystery” series is set in New Orleans (the next one, due in February, is called Cake on a Hot Tin Roof.  That was probably inevitable).  The lead character and unwilling sleuth is pastry chef Rita Lucero, whose visit to her not-quite-ex’s business – to get his signature on the divorce papers! – goes pear-shaped when he’s murdered and her mother-in-law starts leaning on her, heavily, to help deal with things … including her husband’s business’s problems.

Rita is an interesting and believable character, her mother-in-law is a fascinating portrait of old New Orleans gentry, and the Zydeco Cakes employees are an interesting and individual bunch.  So’s the police detective who’s on the case (I scent a potential romantic interest there, but nothing came of it in this book).  I remain as baffled as Rita, however, about why Philippe Renier left her and radically changed his taste in home decor and women (his girlfriend is … very different from Rita); I hope that the next book explores this a bit more, rather than leaving it totally unanswered.  I have some hope, as Rita’s relationship with her mother-in-law must remain important too.

It’s a mystery: I’m not going to tell you what happened!  Except to note that Rita’s role as potential-murderer didn’t last long, since interviews showed that she did not, in fact, have the opportunity to do the deed.  The need to solve the mystery arises from the fact that the murderer was either the competition, or one of the Zydeco Cakes employees – and Rita is pressed into trying to save the business from further sabotage for several complicated personal reasons.  Much more interesting, to my mind, than “ZOMG they think I did it!!!!”

I hope my library keeps buying this series, and I look forward to reading the next volume.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul (@princejvstin) said,

    Not to my taste but a good review of same. 🙂

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