Title: Cupcakes and Casualties (Peridale Cafe Mystery #11)
Author: Agatha Frost
Published on: 27 March 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Candy Bennett, a famous actress, is building a house in Peridale. She has purchased the land where Barker’s former house stood. The Peridale Preservation Society has other plans for Candy. They will not let her demolish the partially collapsed structure and build a modern house. The protestors include Harriet, the local florist, and our very own Her Quirkiness Grandma Dot.
On the second morning of the demolition, Dot arrives at Julia’s cottage, banging the door like there’s no tomorrow. She asks Julia to hurry up to the building site – she’s found a dead body! The victim is builder Shane. Barker is on a two-week leave from work so DS John Christie is going to handle the case. Christie and Julia do not see each other eye-to-eye. This is surely going to throw a monkey wrench in Julia’s sleuthing. Oh hum!
Surprises, surprises! Cupcakes and Casualties is full of surprises! And then some more… Jessie’s adoption procedures are almost over; Barker and Julia are engaged. Sue has given birth to twin girls – Pearl and Dottie. Everything’s going well in Peridale until Candy arrived, bringing with her a murder for Julia to solve.
Among the construction worker is a young tattooed man named Alfie. Julia feels she’s seen this man somewhere before. Alfie’s arrival surely brings a humongous twist to the story. I did not see this coming. I am pretty sure this twist is going to change a lot of things in the future books of the Peridale series.
Candy and Katie were friends. (Katie is Julia’s stepmother; she’s almost the same age as Julia). Candy ‘rekindled’ her friendship with Katie – Candy is always looking for freebies. She’s heard Katie owns the Peridale Manor so she doesn’t want to spend her money staying at the B&B.
Shane, the victim, had quite a reputation. He was rude, arrogant and homophobic. The list of Shane’s enemies runs long; Julia saw Candy and Shane in a pretty heated kissing session and hours later Shane is found dead. Did Candy kill him? Or was it someone else? A sorry note and a bouquet of red roses is found at the place where Shane was killed. Was Shane’s death an accident? Or was it a premeditated crime?
The reason for murder keeps one guessing till the end. The identity of the culprit is very cleverly hidden amongst the red herrings. Oh yes, plenty of red herrings so quit playing the detective! The best part of this story is the surprise that sweeps Julia, Jessie, Barker and Billy off their feet. Phew!
I cannot wait to see how this new twist in the series is going to change things in Peridale. Cupcakes and Casualties is surely one of the best in this series. This book can be read as a standalone but I recommend you to start from book #1 to get a feel of the series plot.