Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent


A routine cake delivery becomes a culinary nightmare when a small-town baker discovers her first client’s dead body in this irresistible new mystery series.

It’ll take more than a little sugar to convince folks Daphne Martin’s freshly baked spice cake was not to blame for the mysterious death of town gossip Yodel Watson. Getting her new cake decorating business, Daphne’s Delectable Cakes, off the ground is hard enough now that Daphne’s moved back to her southern Virginia hometown, but orders have been even slower since she found Yodel’s body. She soon realizes, however, that just about everybody in town had a reason to poison the cantankerous busybody, from the philandering pet shop owner, to Yodel’s church potluck nemesis, to the Save-A-Buck’s cranky produce manager-turned-bagger. Now, to help prove she’s no confectionary killer, Daphne recruits her old flame, Ben Jacobs, editor of the local newspaper, and quickly stirs up a long-hidden family scandal that just might hold the secret ingredient she needs to solve the case. All she’s got to do is roll up her sleeves and get her hands a little dirty before the real culprit decides that taking sweet revenge on Daphne will be icing on the cake.

My thoughts:
I am totally loving cozy mysteries! Up until last year I had never even heard the term, but the ones I’ve read so far I have really enjoyed! I read this book as part of Pocket Blogs Book Tours on Book Blogs. With going back to work this year I haven’t participated in very many sign-ups for blog tours or review books, I’ve mostly been reading books I buy for myself, already own or borrow from the library. It is fun though to be introduced to new authors I might not have found for myself.

I enjoyed this book so much I finished it in two days. I started it yesterday and finished it tonight. I had planned to watch a movie tonight but once I got into the book I didn’t want to put it down! Daphne Martin’s story reminded me of a few others I’ve read recently, but it was still all her own. At the beginning when she describes her new house, one-eyed stray cat and baking business the most recent Janet Evanovich book in her new Diesel series came to mind, Wicked Appetite, because her main character has a one eyed cat she has inherited, an old house and works in a stumbled upon job baking for a bakery. From there the two stories are quite different. Since there is quite a lot of time in between the writing of a book and the actual finished product, I am not in any way implying that either author took elements from the other; it was just an odd coincidence. Or perhaps it isn’t and I’ve just been away from reading mysteries for that long!
This story totally sucked me into its small town drama and the whole culture of everyone knowing everyone’s business. It took me longer than I would have liked but I did figure out the killer before the end of the novel. The clues were all there but I won’t risk spoiling anything.

The cakes that Daphne creates and makes for Daphne’s Delectable Delicacy’s made me hungry. The way she described decorating them made them come to life. I have a long list of things I would like to eventually make the time to do, and learn to decorate cakes is on it, along with horseback riding and tap dancing! If I were really and truly passionate about these things I would think by now I would have made the time to make them happen, but I honestly do plan on giving them all a try some time in the future when my children are older. But back to the story, Daphne goes to deliver a cake to her first non-family client in town and finds the woman dead. This leads to some erroneous assumptions that the woman died by poison in the cake. A lot of colorful characters are introduced, some of whom have secrets the dead woman knew about leading to a lot of suspects in her murder.

Daphne niece and nephew were a lot of fun. I also loved that Daphne and her sister Violet were named by their mother for her two favorite authors, Daphne Du Maurier and Violet Winspear. There is a mystery that goes hand in hand with the murder of Yodel Watson. The story is a mystery as well as being about a family and secrets that are held within a number of families.

This is the first book in what looks to be a series. There are a few pages of the next book in the series included at the end of the book, along with a few recipes and directions on how to make some of the cakes and foods included in the novel. I may even try some of the tips to decorate a cake one of these days. I do know that I will be looking for Gayle Trent’s next book since I enjoyed this one so much!

Product Details

Pub. Date: March 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Paperback , 288pp
ISBN-13: 9781451600018
ISBN: 1451600011


Gayle Trent lives in Southwest Virginia with her husband and two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. She's a full-time writer/editor/mom/wife and chief cook and bottle washer, and she love every minute of it. Okay, not the bottle washing so much, but the rest of it is great.


  1. Hi, Jill! Thank you for such a terrific review! I had no idea Janet's character in Wicked Appetite has a one-eyed cat. I've read her Stephanie Plum series but not the new one. That IS a strange coincidence. Daphne's cat was based on one that came here and left us with three kittens (two of which we still have). I used to say, "She's really a beautiful cat." To which my husband would reply, "Until you see her up close." :) (She WAS beautiful.)

  2. Thanks for dropping by my blog @ WV Stitcher. I totally agree with you about this book making you hungry. I am not a big cake fan but had to bake a chocolate cake because I couldn't get cake out of my head after reading this story!