Release Date: Dec 11, 2018
Series: Southern Cake Bakery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Sophia Cummings left her life as a New York City pastry chef behind to start over in her childhood hometown of Rumford, Kentucky. She has opened her own bakery called “For Goodness Cakes” which gives her the added benefit of working alongside her best friend Charlotte Harrington. The two women are thrilled to be catering a fundraiser to help pay for an addition to the Rumford Library being held at a local winery. However, the winery’s landlord, Ray Peel, backs out of a huge pledge he had promised and now the project may not go through. Sophia literally stumbles over Ray’s dead body, but it’s her good friend Madison who was seen arguing with Ray and who becomes the prime suspect. Sophia launches her own investigation to help Madison and is determined to find out which of the many Rumford residents who have been wronged by Ray is a killer.
Batter off Dead is the second in this series, but the first book I’ve read by this author. Sophia is a likable main character and what stands out in this book is her friendship and loyalty to her friends Charlotte and Madison. Even when her boyfriend, who is the sheriff investigating the murder, tells her to quit nosing around, Sophia keeps at it for Madison’s sake. I like Sophia’s knack for getting people throughout the town to confide in her, sometimes paving the way with her delicious baked goods. I also like the way Sophia, Charlotte, and Madison get together regularly to report what they’ve learned and brainstorm for new motives and suspects. I don’t care for Sophia’s mother, Bitsy, even when she’s trying to be helpful. I found her annoying throughout the book with her constant judging of Sophia and need to be the center of attention.
The story goes off on a lot of tangents and it seems like most of the town become one of Sophia’s suspects at one point. There are a lot of characters to keep straight which may have been easier if I had read the first book in the series. After a while, I was getting the suspects and their possible motives confused. It is a quick, easy read with several humorous moments in a series that has promise if the friendship between Sophia, Charlotte, and Madison remains at center stage. Fans of Joanne Fluke may want to give this book a try. There are a few recipes at the end for treats mentioned in the story. The desserts sound delicious and a couple of them, such as the Nanner Mini pie, sound easy enough that I may even give one or two a try.