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Retro Reading: Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay

Updated on May 13, 2022
The mystery ingredients for these unique cupcakes may make you go "Hmmm"
The mystery ingredients for these unique cupcakes may make you go "Hmmm"

Crazy Cupcakes and a Body on Ice

It's time for the annual Scottsdale Food Festival newcomers Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura have decided to enter the festival. That is if they can get their registration in on time.

The bakers have been having a few slight problems with their rival Olivia Puckett of Confections in past installments of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and now Olivia wants to take them down once and for all. Puckett has been the winner of the festival for the last five years and she wants to retain the title.

One thing the girls have going for them is Melanie's former mentor from culinary school is Vic Mazzotta, now a Food Channel celebrity (and friend of the Cooper family) and Melanie knows how tough he can be.

In the weeks prior to the contest the girls decide they'll have to practice since everyday of the contest will have some type of mystery ingredient. Each morning before they open, their other best friend Tate Harper, has agreed to bring in mystery ingredients. They'll have one hour to prepare a cupcake using what he's brought in. Melanie's the brains behind the creations since Angie's been spending a lot of time thinking of her rock musician boyfriend Roach.

On the first day of competition Vic's body is discovered in an ice truck and once again Melanie goes into detective mode. The contestants aren't too happy when Vic's current squeeze Jordan takes over as judge.

As the week draws on Melanie's distracted by solving the murder and keeps wondering what's going on at the bakery. They've already hired Marty on a part time basis plus on any given day one of Angie's seven brothers dons an apron to help out. They decide to hire a temp from the local vocational school and are given a teen named Oz. Much to Melanie's surprise the teen works out and they have something in common- the annoying movie quoting.

Although it was fun from the beginning by the time you get to Death by the Dozen I guarantee you'll be pulling your hair out with these movie quotes. I may be exaggerating but there seems to be a quote on every page or every couple of pages.

Since this is the third installment, Olivia's character is expanded a little more rather than just a minor part. If the series is ever turned into a movie franchise I could definitely see Sissy Spacek as Olivia. From the first time this character was introduced I saw her in the role complete with cat eye glasses.

Jenn McKinlay has slowly started to bring more life into these characters and although I haven't really taken to them yet, there still is potential but I can't place where or when they'd win me over. I think they still need to be developed more and now with the addition of Marty and Oz working at the bakery there could be some good future storylines.

Again at the end of the story there are some rather unique cupcake recipes and I don't think I'd want to try them anytime soon.


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