In Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay, Angie, Melanie, and Tate have been best friends since childhood. So when the two women decide to open a cupcake shop a few years after Melanie has finished culinary school, Tate, who comes from an insanely wealthy family and has made even more money as a successful stock trader, happily invests in the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. He then brings them their first catering order, for 500 cupcakes for his upcoming wedding to the fashion designer Christie Stevens. Christie proves to be the worst bridezilla of all bridezillas, insisting that the cupcakes at her wedding must be of totally unique flavors and that Mel must sign a nondisclosure agreement that she will never serve the flavors created for Christie to anyone else. Then, too lazy to go to Fairy Tale Cupcakes to test her new flavors, Christie sends two assistants to pick up the box of new cupcakes. That night, while Melanie, Angie, and Tate are having one of their regular movie nights, Tate gets a call from Christie. The fiancee is upset that he insists on spending time with other women and includes a demand that Mel meet her at Christie’s fashion shop at 7:30 to discuss the changes she wants in her cupcakes. But when Mel shows up at Christie Stevens Designs the next morning, she finds the woman on the floor, dead. A cupcake lies near her outstretched hand.
It doesn’t take long before the coroner gives a preliminary ruling of foul play, and Mel becomes the chief suspect, both because she found the body and because cupcakes seem to figure into the case. Making Mel even more upset is the fact that her own mother thinks she did it, always certain that Mel has been deeply in love with Tate her whole life.
Next, Mel’s police officer uncle comes to investigate her followed by Angie’s older brother Joe, an assistant DA in their city of Scottsdale, AZ and upon whom she has long had a crush, comes by and asks questions that lead to further feelings of being attacked.
Feeling under strong suspicion for this crime, particularly since the media have decided that she, possibly with Tate’s help, committed this murder in a love triangle, Mel decides she must do her own investigating of the crimes. Doing so leads her in different directions, since Christie has created so many enemies for herself. In doing so, Mel connects further with her friends and renews old relationships before finally catching the killer.
This book was a whole lot of fun to listen to. I enjoyed the descriptions of all the types of cupcakes and the way the characters interact with each other. The rivalry between Fairy Tale Cupcakes and the Confectionary, whose owner, Olivia, has a serious (and rather strange) grudge against Mel and Angie, adds a nice touch of comic relief.
This book is performed in its audio edition by Susan Boyce, a fairly popular narrator who does a good job of getting into the heart of each book. She further embodies her characters to make them believable and ones you can become invested in, whether positively or negatively, depending upon the nature of the character. I thought her acting job (since narrating an audio book really is a form of acting, often more challenging than ensemble acting) was highly entertaining and fun.
Sprinkle with Murder is not nearly as developed in its characters or plot as the Library Mystery series by McKinlay, which I really love for its depth and creativity, but I still had a very fun time listening to the book. I give it four stars.
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