by: Janel Gradowski
Series: Culinary Competition Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: June 4, 2015
From bestselling mystery author Janel Gradowski comes a deliciously deadly mystery...
Amy Ridley’s best friend, Carla, is getting married, and Amy is delighted to be recruited as the head wedding planner—even if Carla's demands are less than conventional. Case in point: Carla insists on a tower of doughnuts in place of a wedding cake. But navigating the world of nuptials becomes the least of Amy's problems when the owner of a menswear shop is found dead, and Carla's fiancée is assigned to the case. With the honeymoon in jeopardy, Amy and Carla vow to help track down the killer...but they soon discover there are even more sinister happenings affecting the businesses in downtown Kellerton, Michigan. If Amy doesn't figure out who is behind the deadly schemes, the nearly newlywed detective may just be solving another murder—hers!
“These are so good,” Carla said as she broke off a chunk of the cinnamon maple doughnut. She popped the pastry in her mouth and washed it down with a sip of coffee. “I want a mountain of doughnuts instead of a fancy wedding cake.”
Carla had said the W word—wedding. Amy sighed as she turned back to her work. She plunged her latex-gloved hand into the bowl of blueberry glaze to retrieve the warm doughnut she had dropped during the moment of shock. The cake rings were supposed to only be dipped half way into the lavender-colored glaze, not released to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Her fingers closed around the wayward doughnut as she reached with her other hand to free a square of waxed paper from the dispenser box at the back of the counter. She turned to look at her best friend as she let the excess glaze drip back into the bowl. “You’re thinking about wedding cakes…or at least a version of one. Does that mean you’ve set a date?”
Detective Bruce Shepler had asked Carla to marry him at the beginning of the year. It was a huge milestone for her formerly commitment-phobic friend, who had asked Amy to help plan the wedding right after the glittering engagement ring landed on her finger. Great. Wonderful. She would love to help. But since then the couple had refused to actually plan the wedding, saying they were too busy or hadn’t figured out what they wanted. Until now.
The quip about doughnuts instead of cake was the first time Carla had mentioned the big day on her own without being prompted by Amy.
Carla grinned. “June fifteenth.”
Amy plopped the overly glazed blueberry doughnut onto the square of waxed paper and set the extra-gooey baked good on the metal-topped table in front of Carla. They were in the smaller, original kitchen of Riverbend Café that housed the doughnut makers and a pastry decorating area. Carla had stopped in for breakfast, like she often did after she finished a night shift at the hospital. She ate and chatted while Amy worked through her morning baking tasks.
“So we have a year to plan? That should be enough time to come up with a fabulous wedding,” Amy said as she resumed her icing duties. She needed to catch up. Sophie, the café’s owner, had been quietly churning out doughnuts while Amy was distracted by the big wedding announcement. She deposited two, perfectly glazed doughnuts onto a cooling rack and turned to look at Carla as she grabbed two more naked doughnuts. Her friend was pretending to be completely engrossed in studying the newly delivered sweet treat. Amy cleared her throat.
“Not a year.” Carla looked up and met her gaze. “About three weeks from now.”
This time both of the unusually slippery doughnuts escaped from Amy’s grasp. They ricocheted off the edge of the stainless steel worktable then rolled across the white tile floor before ending their journey in front of the convection oven. Her mind would likely follow suit with all of her mental marbles rolling away, possibly never to be found again.
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The Culinary Competition Mystery Series:
(Click on the book covers for more information or to purchase from Amazon.)
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Chicken Soup & Homicide ~ Review
Barbecue & Bad Juju is part of the Killer Beach Reads Collection
I swear, there is rarely a day that goes by that I am not thankful for ebooks. Yes, I write culinary mysteries and the amount of ebook sales is far greater than for paperbacks. But that’s not why I’m thankful for the books that only take up memory space on my Kindles.
I love ebooks because my house would be groaning from the weight of thousands of cookbooks, if they were made of paper instead of computer code. One of my daily rituals is to peruse the Cookbook Bestseller list on Amazon. I am an adventurous eater, so I buy cookbooks with topics ranging from vegan breakfasts to French desserts, and everything in between. I love them all!
Since I write books that are filled with descriptions of food, and also include recipes, the cookbooks can be used as research. But, honestly, this obsession began long before I started writing foodie fiction. When I got married, making a palatable dinner for my husband and I was a hit or miss affair, even when I took a shortcut and used Hamburger Helper. So I began buying cookbooks, I loved the magazine-style Pillsbury Bake-Off books that were often sold on endcaps in the grocery checkout lanes, and watching cooking TV shows. I learned how to cook, but I have to admit, I still can’t make Hamburger Helper!
You can follow along with Janel’s Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes Blog Tour here.
Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life. She writes the Culinary Competition Mystery Series, along with The Bartonville Series (women’s fiction) and the 6:1 Series (flash fiction). She has also had many short stories published in both online and print publications.
Places to find Janel Gradowski: