This is the first in a new series, and I love getting to introduce new series to you. The concept of an Emergency Dessert Squad was clever and hooked me. Below I share my thoughts on this new series.
Copyright: June 2016 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 1st in Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy
Main Characters: Winnie Johnson, Delectable Delights bakery owner
Setting: Modern day, ? don't know where
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
From the cover: "With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery—a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.
To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods—and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer—before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim."
Winnie Johnson was a delight. She truly loves seniors and most of her friends are older folks who also love her. This was a wonderful uniqueness for the character. Renee Ballentine, the slileto wearing, recently divorced sidekick to Winnie. Mr. Nelson is the comic relief with his bad hearing where he misinterprets what is said and his penchant for appreciating pretty younger ladies. Bridget is the elderly newspaper gossip columnist who has the entire town calling the new fireman "Master Sargent Hottie". Greg Stevens, the new fireman, shows an interest in Winnie's recently inherited vintage ambulance...and Winnie. But does he mesh with Winnie and her older friends? Jay Morgan, Winnie's first Emergency Dessert Squad delivery takes her by surprise when she has an instant attraction to him. Then there is Lovey, the cat she also inherited that hisses at her continually is the breakout character. The cast of this first novel help it shine.
I can't say anything about the setting in the larger scale, I don't even remember the name of the town or even region of the country. The plot shows how Winnie is concerned about dear older friends who are very distraught by the murder and feeling very vulnerable. The pace was maintained with the subplots of starting a new business and Winnie's lack of a love life that may turn around.
The climax is where the stellar debut hiccups. Winnie figures out who the killer is and out of anger goes to confront the murderer...alone, without telling anyone where she is going. Not smart. I took issue with this. The wrap-up was great and does set the stage for another adventure.
Overall a solid debut with a charming concept, plenty of humor, and a mystery that tantalizes as it unfolds gradually.
Rating: Good - A fun read that cozy mystery fans will enjoy, good beach read.
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (16 ounce) package graham crackers
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream chocolate frosting
In a large bowl, combine pudding mix and confectioners' sugar. Whisk in milk until mixture is smooth, then gradually fold in whipped topping.
Place a layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Spread 1/3 of pudding mixture over crackers. Cover pudding with another layer of graham crackers. Continue layering until pudding mixture is gone. Cover last pudding layer with another layer of graham crackers.
Soften frosting: Remove lid and the seal from frosting and microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until frosting is pour-able (about 1 minute total). Spread frosting evenly over top layer of graham crackers - a thin layer is enough as too much can make it too sweet. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving - crucial step.