Sugar Plum Poisoned

Cupcake Bakery Mystery

By Jenn McKinlay

ISBN: 9780593549124


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


When up-and-coming singing sensation Shelby Vaughn arrives in town for two weeks of concert dates, she hires her old friend Angie and the rest of the bakery crew to supply cupcakes for the VIP guest lounge every night.

After overhearing Shelby in a heated argument with her manager, Mel is concerned, but she and the crew decide to make the best of their time working with the star. Just as the bakers fall into the rhythm of the job, Shelby’s manager is found dead, clutching a bit of fabric from a Santa suit and a cupcake. With the bakery crew and Shelby’s backup dancers all dressed in similar Santa costumes, it’s impossible to say who is the killer. When all suspicions lead back to Shelby, Mel and Angie stand up for their friend, determined to prove her innocence before she’s frosted for a crime she didn’t commit. (Goodreads)


I loved the Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series, when I entered it at book 10, Wedding Cake Crumble, and I still enjoy the series with the addition of this 15th installment – Sugar Plum Poisoned.

The reader is once again fully entrenched into the lives of Melanie DeLaura and Angie Harper – co-owners (with Tate Harper as well) of the bakery Fairy Tale Cupcakes. The bakery has just agreed to a catering job to supply cupcakes to the VIP lounge at the Hotel Grande for the entire run that Shelby Vaughn is in town and performing her Christmas show. Great opportunity for the business, though Mel is a bit apprehensive. Shelby is a “friend” from Angie’s dating days with a rock and roll drummer named Roach (with the band Sewers) and Mel does not really know Shelby. Everything is going well with the VIP lounge and the shows…well… until there is a murder of course. The murder victim is none other than Shelby’s manager! And get this – it is not the first time a manager of Shelby’s turns up dead. Well, this certainly gets Mel’s amateur investigative juices flowing.

What ensues is pretty standard for a cozy mystery. Identify the potential murderers’ and then sift through the evidence and talk with everyone…and of course the requisite danger for the amateur sleuths. And many “red herrings” and a few side stories to keep it interesting and add depth to the story.

As the story unfolds, Mel is starting to get to know and like Shelby and appreciate her down to earth essence. Mel is determined to figure out by whose hand the manager was killed. There are lots of clues to unravel. A number of potential suspects to rule out. All in all – an enjoyable read.

As the fun of sifting through the possible suspects is the major part of any cozy mystery, I will not expound upon the story further. Suffice it to say – the story will keep you engaged. If nothing else – just for the scenes where people are eating the cupcakes and describing their reactions regarding these delectable cupcakes. Makes my mouth water even thinking about them!

And what a way to get into the holiday spirit. I can even picture the holiday show that Shelby is giving each night. I suggest reading this book with Christmas carols playing in the background to get the full experience, with possibly a few bars of an ominous music thrown in for effect occasionally :).

As what is usual with stories penned by Jenn McKinlay – I was captivated and invested in the story immediately and wanted to continue reading until the end (from my experience at least). With this story in particular though I did get an inkling as to ‘whodunnit’ before the conclusion of the book and my suspicions were solidified in the end. So this is what lead me to give the story a 4 out of 5 rating.

If you like cozy mysteries with interesting and engaging characters and good writing, I suggest picking up Sugar Plum Poisoned by Jenn McKinlay. Though be warned – you may want a cupcake or two while reading!