Cinnamon Twisted

Deputy Donut Mystery #7

By Ginger Bolton

ISBN 9781496740199

Author’s website:

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie


Weeks before summer begins, Deputy Donut Café owner Emily Westhill has it all—a tabby cat by her side, cinnamon twists powdered to perfection, and a murderer on her case . . .

An ordinary late-spring afternoon for Deputy Donut Cafe owner Emily Westhill becomes one that will remain baked into her memory from the moment a customer gives Emily’s cat a toy donut and then flees Deputy Donut, dropping an earring in her panic. Concerned about the customer, Emily attempts to return the earring . . . only this time the customer doesn’t have a pulse. Things get more complicated when an ambitious police detective finds the earring and an unsealed envelope addressed to Emily at the murder scene. The envelope contains a cryptic letter and a fading photograph of a woman standing in front of Emily’s house.

Why did the customer grab her cinnamon twists and flee Deputy Donut? With the detective eying Emily as a prime suspect, Emily is determined to find out. But once a donut-shaped murder weapon is discovered in her own backyard, Emily has no time to lose as she pulls apart the connection between the victim and the strange history of her property—while stopping the real culprit from ensuring her fate is done and sugar-dusted . . . (from


I have grown very attached to this series! Of course, I’ve been hungry for donuts since I began to read this latest mystery! For those who enjoy trying new recipes, several are included. I always look forward to seeing “Dep” Deputy Donut, Emily’s beautiful cat, and the gang at the donut shop named after Dep. Emily and her late husband’s father, Tom, are partners in this delightful shop that serves specialty coffees, donuts, and other creative food and beverage items. It is popular with residents, tourists, and Fallingbrook’s first responders.

Being around law enforcement people is second nature to Emily, whose husband Alec had been killed in the line of duty. Tom had once been the police chief, and she had been a 911 operator. Brent, a detective and Alec’s former partner, had been close friends with both of them when Alec was alive, and a friend to Emily since. They recently began dating, having grown close in the years since Alec’s death.

It is June and Misty, a police officer and one of Emily’s best friends, is getting married in a couple days. Pamela, a new customer, suddenly acts as if afraid of someone outside. She had brought a special catnip toy in for Dep that she asked to give to Dep in Emily’s office, which has been specially outfitted to keep Dep entertained when Emily is there.

Through the office window, Pamela saw a man come into the shop, looked more frightened, and ran out the back. She dropped an earring in the alley, and Emily picked it up to give back to her. Gregory, the man who came in just before Pamela ran out, also wants to see Dep, who uncharacteristically scratched him just before he, too, left out the back.

Emily was heading to Misty’s wedding rehearsal and dinner. She decided to make a quick stop at Pamela’s rental to make sure that whoever she was afraid of hadn’t bothered her. Pamela didn’t answer the door, the smoke alarm screeched, and something inside smelled hot. Emily ran in, took care of the stove, skillet, and its burnt offering. She found Pamela, dead, buried under the contents of a closet.

Brent, the only detective in the department, arrived first. The new police chief was next, but remained in his SUV. Chief Agnew told Emily to leave and give her statement at the station the next day. He saw them embrace and assumed the couple were too close for his detective to be objective. He took Brent off the case and sent him out of town to teach a class Agnew had been scheduled to teach. Agnew tried to find evidence to blame Emily for the murder, even going to her home and searching around the exterior when she was at Misty’s wedding. Chief Agnew is constantly after Emily and her neighbor, Daniel. They have been discussing the original owner of the property she lives in, local history, and an aged item she and Dep found hidden in the garden. Agnew kept trying to get both of them to confess to Pamela’s murder. Emily has helped with several cases in the past and is trying to stay uninvolved, especially with Chief Agnew on her heels.

I enjoy visiting the characters as much as I would old friends. They are described well and continue to grow throughout the series. It is wonderful how close Emily is with her in-laws, and how they support Emily and Brent being a couple now. I also like her parents and how close Brent and Emily are to her two long-time best friends and their spouses, all of whom are with the police or fire department. I did not like Agnew, and had less kinder titles for him than chief! I do love little Dep, the kitty after whom the donut shop is named.

Each time someone was added to my pet suspect list, removed them. This clever mystery kept me guessing, especially when it was clear that Agnew was familiar with the victim long before she came to town. I was completely surprised at who the bad guy was! The ending was very satisfactory, leaving no donuts uneaten. I highly recommend this mystery and series!