Thursday, May 3, 2018

ARC Review: Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell

Cake and Punishment
Author: Maymee Bell
Series: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018)

Description: In the first of a delectable new Southern-set baking cozy series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder.

Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky has glowing fields of bluegrass, a fine selection of bourbons, and now a professional pastry chef. Broken-hearted Sophia Cummings has come home from New York City. She’s not there a minute before she’s charmed into making her high school friend Charlotte’s wedding cake. The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by.

With one look at the shiny, new frying pan, Sophia knows it’s not Emile’s. She offers her knowledge to Sheriff Carter and her talents to Evelyn, the manager, who needs an interim chef. The mood in the country club is grim: Emile’s peppery personality had burned members and staff alike. Sophia wonders which one of them burned him?

My Thoughts: After ten years away, pastry chef Sophia Cummings is back home nursing a broken heart after catching her chef live-in canoodling with another employee at the restaurant where they both work. Almost the first thing that happens when she returns home is the discovery of the body of the chef at the country club where she is meeting an old friend.

Since the old friend is in a panic about the loss of the baker who was making her cake and now the death of the chef doing the wedding dinner, Sophia jumps in to help. First, she'll be baking a wedding cake with only a couple of days before the wedding. Second, she needs to figure out who killed the chef and takes a temporary position as the new chef to let her investigate.

This cozy has great characters. Sophia's mother Bitsy is a hoot. New sheriff Carter is a hunk and catches heart-broken Sophia's eye. There are all sorts of suspects in Chef Emile's death from the manager of the country club to the dishwasher the chef bullied to the groom who doesn't want to eat or pay for the fancy French food the chef was to prepare for the wedding. Thrown into the mix are country club members who are rumored to have had affairs with the chef.

I loved the setting. I loved the descriptions (and recipes) for some of the delicious sounding treats that Sophia bakes. I thought the mystery was suspenseful and Sophia got into just as much danger as a cozy should have. I liked her realization that her dream job in New York City wasn't as fulfilling as a return to her roots would be. I liked her relationships with her old high school friends and her budding romance with Carter.

Favorite Quote:
After all, you can't be sad when holding a cupcake.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This sounds like a great new series! I'd take the unfortunate happenings to the chef and baker as bad omens for the wedding, and would read on to see how it all works out.


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