I stumbled on to The Cupcake Caper and author Kelle Z. Riley by accident. I was in of a group of authors talking about our books in an online gathering, The Romance Caper, along with Ms. Riley. My usual choice of reading material is dark murder mysteries. However, I decided to take a chance on this book. I’m glad I did.
The Cupcake Caper is unique. It is a light-hearted murder mystery with a splash of romance. There are no gruesome death scenes. The romance is hinted at without the erotic love scenes to distract from the story. It is also well written, with detailed references to chemistry, research practices, and business practices. The characters are developed and it is easy to become invested in their interactions. While I had a good idea of who the murderer was early on, Riley threw some unexpected twists into the tale.
The story revolves around Dr. Bree Mayfield-Watson, a chemist who works for Chemical Industries Corporation, Ltd. (CIC) who discovers the dead body of her boss, Buckminster Davis, on his office floor. There are plenty of suspects in the large corporation where Davis was not a popular character. Bree falls under suspicion as the crime is investigated by an attractive police detective, James O’Neil, and the less agreeable Detective Griffin. Bree decides to wage her own private investigation. She methodically builds a chart of suspects, motives, and alibis. Among them is the attractive but married Matthew Tugood who is the marketing manager assigned to her project, Project Midas. As the story progresses the reader will find there’s more to Tugood than meets the eye.
There are many clues throughout the story but you must be on your toes to put it all together. One of the clues comes via the late Buckster Davis’s cat who is adopted by Bree. Detective O’Neil is kind enough to bring the cat to Bree’s condo when she expresses concern for the animal.
Cupcakes play a large role in the story as well. Not only is Bree a kitchen whiz who enjoys preparing and bringing treats to the office for the staff, the wife of one of the company vice-presidents also provides sweet treats on occasion. The descriptions of the cupcakes had me drooling. Riley must have anticipated this because she includes recipes for some of the desserts at the end of the book.
The author does an excellent job of pulling all the strings together and the story ends with a satisfying conclusion. There’s a hint of further adventures for Bree in the future. I hope there will be more tales of detective work and more delicious treats with recipes in upcoming books from Ms. Riley. To put it bluntly, I’m hooked!
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