Poisoned with Peanuts in “Death by Scones”

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Death by SconesIn Death by Scones by Jennifer Fischetto and Elizabeth Ashby, Riley Spencer is having a grand reopening of the Cinnamon Sugar Bakery in Danger Cove to celebrate the fact that her grandmother has formally handed ownership of the bakery to her. Then someone plays a mean prank on her by sending out an email with Riley’s name on it offering free samples to the recipients of the email. Frantically, Riley scurries to the kitchen to cut up pastries baked for the afternoon rush into smaller pieces to give away, just as the bakery gets inundated by a horde of women. The group gets silenced when Nathan Dearborn, the local recluse, enters, but eventually they resume talking. Then that afternoon Riley goes to use the restroom, only to find Nathan dead of a peanut allergy. Since the bakery makes a point of never using nuts and artificial ingredients, Riley knows this death cannot be an accident. But with her business suffering badly, Riley has to get to the bottom of things in order to save the bakery and maybe her life.

I found this book enjoyable light reading. This is the third in the Danger Cove series, in which each book features the experience of a different character in the town of Danger Cove. I like the clever idea of doing this. Since this is my first book in the series, I don’t know how much intersection each book has with the other.

I thought the plot pleasurable, doing a good job of both entertaining me and keeping me guessing about the identity of the murderer. It had a realistic romance to it as well. I did wish the characters had deeper development of their personalities, as too often I had to stop and think about who each name belonged to when a character appeared on the scene.

I enjoyed the fact that one woman who visits the bakery for the sale is named Elizabeth Ashby, one of the authors of the book. I am not sure whether Jennifer Fischetto, the other author, appears in the book too.

One detail that I found annoying was the way the book put a recipe at the end of several chapters, and the narrator took about two minutes to read each out. Recipes in books do not work very well in the audio edition, as the readers are generally not prepared to write down the instructions. But if the author wants to include all the recipes, it’s better for them to appear at the end of the book instead of interrupting the plot. This also makes them easier for the reader to locate at a different time.

Melissa Meshy performs the audio edition of this book. It took me time to get comfortable with the recording. The reading has less expression than I would have liked, and the voice sounds a little whiny at times. But once I got comfortable with listening, I had no problem with the performance. However, I think Meshy would be more suited to books with younger narrators or main characters than the 30-year-old Riley. In addition, there are a couple times when the book has a break to shift content, but the recording gives no pause at all to indicate the shift, making me me at first think the recording made an error.

Overall, I enjoyed my time spent listening to Death by Scones. Many cozy mysteries take place in bakeries, and sometimes they can get a little repetitive. But this book contains enough unique touches to make me enjoy it, and I plan to go back to the first book and listen to that. I give this book four stars.

Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook BOOM, but that in no way influenced my review.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.

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