Trigger Warning: Do NOT under any circumstances read this book while hungry! You will be made miserable by the descriptions of tasty cupcake flavors and frosting combinations! There are some recipes at the end, but that's not enough to help. So I'm begging you, eat first, then read. Trust me on this.
Mel Cooper, Angie DeLaura, and Tate Harper are partners in their franchised cupcake bakery business, Fairy Tale Cupcakes. And now Angie and Tate are going to be partners in life too. With their wedding only one week away, Angle is going around town to her vendors to make sure the bills are paid and everything is set for the big day. Angie and Mel start with the florist, making sure that the flowers are all set. Their next stop doesn't go so smoothly though.
Blaise Ione is a longtime friend of Tate's, and after a short stint in New York, the hipster photographer is back in Scottsdale, Arizona, and his business is booming. But when Angie and Mel stop by to make sure everything is ready for the wedding photography, they discover that Blaise has been murdered, strangled by his camera strap.
Mel calls her Uncle Stan, a local homicide detective, and he comes immediately to start investigating. The women think it's probably just a coincidence (a very sad one, to have lost a friend like that), and the women go back to the bakery. But Angie wants to keep making payments, making sure everything else is falling into place for the wedding. And that's when she finds out that her limousine driver has also been killed, bludgeoned with a tire iron. Could it be a coincidence, or is someone targeting Angie and Tate and their wedding day?
So when bookseller Cassie Leighton calls the bakery, begging for last-minute help with a book-signing, Angie says they'll take the job. Baking and decorating 500 cupcakes for the next day will help take her mind off of everything else that's happening. It's not until the women show up to the book-signing with their fabulous champagne cupcakes that they find out that Blaise was supposed to be there to take photographs. They'd hired the same limo driver that Angie had for the wedding. And the baker that Cassie had originally booked for the signing was also killed, a gas leak in her kitchen.
Mel and Angie start to wonder if it's actually the author, Elise Penworthy, who could be at the middle of all the murders. After her husband left her for a much younger woman, she wrote a scathing tell-all about her former friends and neighbors from an exclusive neighborhood in Scottsdale, and her memoir has made a long list of enemies. Their theory is confirmed when they find Elise with her pen sticking out of her back. Angie's brother is able to keep her alive until the paramedics show up, but it will take a lot of sleuthing to figure out who's behind all the killings. Will the bakers figure it out in time, or will more people have to die at the hands of one bitter soul?
Jenn McKinlay is back with her tenth (!) in her Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. Wedding Cake Crumble is yet another well written, smart, funny, fabulous cozy that feature complex characters and delicious baked goods. Includes recipes for Bourbon Cupcakes, Champagne Cupcakes, Black Forest Cupcakes, and Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting. Sadly, the actual cupcakes are not included. But even with that, I still recommend this book. Even better, I recommend reading it with cupcakes nearby.
Galleys for Wedding Cake Crumble were provided by Berkley through Penguin's First To Read program, with many thanks.