Everyone in Lake Potawatomi knows Teddie St. John. Though to be fair, everyone knows everyone in tiny Lake Potawatomi. However, as a cozy mystery author and expert baker with a penchant for stylish scarves, Teddie has certainly found her own way to stand out. Unfortunately, after losing one of those scarves at a book signing for famed author Tavish Bentley, she soon finds it wrapped around the strangled neck of Tavish’s fiancée. With no other immediate evidence, Teddie’s name goes right to the top of the list of suspects. Unless she wants to end up as the mistaken villain in her own story, she’ll have to draw investigative inspiration from her novels, clear her name, and catch the real killer.
Teddie might be the most charming debut sleuth of the year. Smart, wickedly funny, and with a bold fashion sense, she’s the perfect guide through small town Wisconsin. Her attitude is routinely upbeat—even when facing accusations of murder—and it’s refreshing to find a character approaching the mystery she’s been embroiled in such a straightforward manner. Sure, she has her doubts, but it’s a testament to author Laura Jensen Walker’s ability to craft realistic characters that these never overwhelm the broader flow of the action. There’s hope in these pages. More pressingly, there’s a killer out there, and there’s never any doubt that Teddie has the pluck and determination to crack the case.
And what a case it is. Teddie, after her scarf is discovered as the murder weapon, unfortunately becomes the first suspect in the case. From there, it’s a whirlwind of clues, misdirection, and some inventive investigating on Teddie’s part. After all, it should be no surprise that someone so invested in clothing knows how to whip up a costume or two.
While Walker has expertly worked in enough tension to give this cozy some edge, it’s her humor that shines through. Teddie has an eclectic group of pals who help her along—or, in the case of a certain sheriff, hinder her—while dishing out jokes and positive energy. They’re an easy group to fall in love with as they banter, and several moments between them feel genuine. They’re usually chatting over one of Teddie’s regional delicacies, like fattigman bakkels, which Walker has no problem describing in delicious detail. It would be easy—though not recommended—to drool on these pages. Fortunately, she’s also included several tried and true recipes.
Baked goods galore. A clever mystery. Tons of fun. Murder Most Sweet is a stunning debut to a hopefully very long series.
Title: Murder Most Sweet
Series: A Bookish Baker Mystery #1
Author: Laura Jensen Walker
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: September 08, 2020
Classification: Cozy Mystery
Walker’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.