Jealousy Filled Donuts
Deputy Donut Mystery #3
By Ginger Bolton
Author’s Website: gingerbolton.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
When a firecracker becomes a murder weapon, Emily
Westhill pursues a killer with a short fuse …
It is a truth universally acknowledged–cops and donuts go together. Exhibit A: Deputy Donut Cafe, owned and operated by detective’s widow Emily Westhill and her father-in-law, the retired police chief of Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. Named after Emily’s adored and adorable tabby, the donut shop is a favorite among cops, firemen, and EMTs, as well as tourists and townspeople. So when Fallingbrook needs donuts for their Fourth of July picnic, Emily’s shop gets deputized.
But a twisted killer has found another use for Emily’s treats. At the picnic, a firecracker is hidden in a stack of raspberry-filled donuts and aimed at the unwitting queen of the festivities. When it explodes, she is killed. Having her jelly donuts involved puts Emily in a sticky situation, and when a shady shutterbug tries to frame her with incriminating photos, she finds herself in quite a jam. To preserve her freedom and her shop’s reputation, Emily needs to solve this case–before the fuse-lighting felon goes off again …
What a great mystery! I was immediately taken in by Deputy Donut, both Emily’s beloved cat and the café! Tom, Emily’s father-in-law, retired police chief, is her partner in the business. Her late husband, Alec, was killed on duty as a police detective. Everyone knows how much cops love good coffee and donuts, so this has been a winning enterprise for them. These fine characters could step off the pages into real life, the plot is intriguing and suspenseful, and I could not figure out whodunit.
Emily is preparing to drive King Ian and Queen Taylor in the Deputy Donut 1950 Ford Fordor in the Fallingbrook Fourth of July parade. The king, queen, duke, and duchess will ride on the special float, and are typically just past their teen years. Queen Taylor refuses to ride in the “clown car” as she calls the Deputy Donut car, would only ride with the king and ex-boyfriend Ian in her fancy convertible. It’s hard to believe Taylor is queen. Not that she isn’t beautiful, as she is. She is also one of the rudest people Emily has met, snatching the loudspeaker from the girl helping organize the vehicles and shouting to the crowd who she is annoyed with and why.
Duke Nicholas, Taylor’s current boyfriend, and Duchess Gabrielle, Taylor’s best friend, choose to ride in the Donut Car. Gabrielle, flirting with Nicholas, loves the car and is enjoying her role. When they are delivered to their float, Emily goes back to Deputy Donut to pick up her assistant, Jocelyn, and boxes of donuts to give away at the festival. Jocelyn works hard and enjoys decorating the donuts and waiting on customers. She used to work with Taylor at the Freeze, the best ice cream store around.
Emily has a concern that has popped up several times this festival day. A Creepy Photo Guy was in the donut shop, at the lineup of cars for the parade, and now at the festival. He has been snapping pictures of her and, seemingly, Jocelyn, at least until Jocelyn sees him and hides. Nobody seems to know who he is, and Jocelyn deflects any questions about him.
After the Queen and Duchess get their donuts (the ones with stars on, of course), a five-year-old boy and his family come to get donuts to celebrate his birthday with. Jocelyn and Emily make a tower of donuts for him, Emily finds a slightly warm birthday candle in the car, and the boy is off with his best cake ever. Later that evening, Emily discovered the best birthday cake ever with a lit fuse burning instead of a candle…a foot away from Taylor, leaning towards her. Before she could warn the young woman, the best birthday cake ever exploded.
After giving her statement. Emily runs into Creepy Photo Guy by the Donut Car. He accuses her, loudly, of setting up the firework in the donuts, stating he saw her himself. She points to where the police are, tells him to go talk to the police and show them his “proof”, pictures he took.
The next day, there was a photo spread on the terrible event in the newspaper. There are several photos of Emily. Looking as grumpy as possible at the donut shop, in the Donut Car at the parade, and even worse. Some of the photos were doctored and cropped. Some are even worse, she learns, as she is at the police station being interviewed by the Brent, her late husband’s former partner, and Rex Clobar of the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation. She appears to be the main suspect, and without her friends, all first responders, vouching for her character, she just might be in jail now. Why the photographer is pointing to her, and who killed the festival queen is anybody’s guess.
Characters are drawn with care and are very well-defined; most are likable. I like Emily. The young widow is clever, with good business instincts and a kind heart. Her long-time best friends Misty and Samantha could step out of the pages into real life in their callings as first responders. I appreciate Tom and Cindy, Emily’s in-laws who treat her as their own daughter, and the protective guys in their group who are also first responders.
I was taken in from the first page, and the story held my attention throughout. The donut varieties sound delicious! I was definitely hungry for tasty sweet treats as I read this delightful small-town cozy. Romance may be in the wind, also, despite Emily protecting herself from getting close to another guy, especially anyone in law enforcement. Plot twists kept me on my toes! It was hard to determine who the real bad guy might be as there are a couple of very good possibilities. I was very surprised to find who the real culprit was, as I didn’t pick up any clues regarding the person throughout. All loose ends are tied up in the very satisfactory ending, and I am looking forward to returning to Fallingbrook again. Recipes for some of the sweet delights are included. I highly recommend this novel and series!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*