Title: Cheesecake and Confusion (A Peridale Café Cozy Mystery #18)
Author: Agatha Frost
Published on: 29 September 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Julia is staying at the Peridale Manor for a night to look after her sixteen month old baby brother Vinnie while her dad Brian and her stepmother Katie spend a quiet dinner and stay at a hotel. Hilary, the housekeeper at the manor humiliates the new help Samantha. Hours later, Julia tries to console her but Sam leaves. (It’s pouring and there’s no way Julia could stop or find the girl in the rain.)
The next morning, Julia wakes up early and finds two burglars in the house. They ask her to lay still while they empty the house of its beautiful and pricey paintings and artifacts. Julia calls the police and her dad soon after the burglars leave. The next day, Samantha is found dead by the side of the road – mostly hit by a vehicle during the storm.
Cheesecake and Confusion is the 18th book in Peridale Café Cozy Mystery Series by Agatha Frost.
First things first, we saw Julia wanting a baby with Barker. In the beginning of this story, we see Julia going through bouts of nausea. Surprise, surprise! Julia finds out she’s preggers. But this good news couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Julia learns her dad and Katie have gone almost bankrupt. Katie picks up a fight with Brian when she learns the stolen articles were not insured. Katie’s dad is on his death bed and there’s no money to do whatever it takes to keep him alive.
Meanwhile, Barker’s new book gets into some trouble and the publishers postpone the release date indefinitely. Also, Barker isn’t allowed to publish his books via a different publisher, thanks to the clauses he overlooked.
Julia tries to tell Barker about the pregnancy but every time she starts to talk, his phone rings or he’s bitten by a wasp and whatnot! We also have Grandma Dot trying her hand at yoga and meditation. The quirky old lady was into go green and save the Earth until last month. This time, she’s up to some stretching and balancing the chakras.
Halfway through the story, Jessie and Julia join hands and go sleuthing. Brian wants Julia to find the burglars so that he could have his last chance at getting Katie back. Julia cannot say no to her father.
The mystery behind the burglaries was intriguing but I cannot say about the same when the real reason behind it is out in the open. I was expecting something else, maybe something to do with revenge rather than monetary issues.
Having said that, I really like the changes in the series plot. Jessie and Billy broke up a couple of months ago. There are some new developments on this front in this book. We also see Brian and Katie taking a more sensible decision about the debts they have to pay. Barker’s writing career has seen some changes and Jessie jokes he would make a good P.I.
Speaking of Jessie, she identified the killer long before Julia could. Even in the previous book, Jessie warns Julia about a certain somebody. Is Julia losing her acquired sleuthing skills? Only time will tell.