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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Dead Pan by Gayle Trent

Author: Gayle Trent

Copyright: 2009 (Bell Bridge Books); 235 pgs.

Series: #2 in Daphne Martin Cake Decorating mysteries

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery sub-genre: Cozy

Main Character: Daphne Martin – Pastry and Dessert Entrepreneur

Setting: Brea Ridge, Virginia – Holiday season

Obtained book through: ARC

Local Brea Ridge Pharmaceuticals Christmas party ended in the majority of its party attendees in the hospital with feared food poisoning, later indentified as the flu bacteria campylobacter. Daphne provided a cake for the event and wants to know what really happened even after her cake is cleared. Most of the partygoers recover after Brea Ridge Pharmaceuticals provides medication that counters the outbreak – all but one person, Fred Duncan. He alone never responds to the medication, slips into a coma and then dies. Fred had been the victim of a terrible car accident a year prior and Fred’s mother specifically begs Daphne to figure out who killed her boy.

Fred's tragic year-old car accident is one issue since the culprit who ran him off the road causing brain damage has never been found. Fred’s death from the suspicious outbreak is the other issue that has Daphne’s curiosity in full bloom. Are the two incidents connected and how in a small town did the hit and run car go undetected?

This is a light cozy mystery with a slathering of pop culture (guitar hero and texting lingo) mixed with a generous dollop of desert making with a coating of varied characters in a small town dish. If you like the Flower Shop mysteries by Kate Collins or the Pet-Sitter mysteries by Linda Johnston you might like this series.
Sparrow, it seems, came with the house. Not long after I moved here I caught a fleeting glimpse of the skinny little one-eyed Persian and began to feed her. She isn’t skinny anymore, but she still is a bit skittish. Lucas and Leslie named her Sparrow in honor of Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow. They said the one eye made her look like a pirate cat.

I saw the cat emerge slowly from beneath a bush at the upper end of my backyard.

“Come on, Sparrow.” I tore off a piece of ham and tossed it just beyond the porch.
She hurried to get it, watching to be sure I didn’t make any sudden movements. As she ate, I tossed another piece of ham – this one, a little closer to where I sat. She came and ate that one too.

We’ve been practicing this exercise for a few weeks now, and it’s beginning to pay off. I can’t actually pet Sparrow yet, but she will brush up against me occasionally now.
The main character is Daphne Martin who is building her desert making business, working out of her home. She is coaxing a stray cat to join her home permanently, getting addicted to playing Guitar Hero with her elderly neighbor and baking all while satisfying her curiosity (not being nosy or investigating) about Fred’s death.

The ending wraps up satisfactorily enough and the villain is anticipated without knowing fully how the dirty deeds were accomplished until the big reveal.

For your convenience, you may purchase your copy here.

Until next Monday's interview with Gayle Trent, I wish you many mysterious moments.
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