Review: Battered to Death by Gayle Trent

Battered to Death by Gayle Trent
Series:  Daphne Martin Mystery (# 4)
Release Date:   September 24, 2013
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Pages:  336
Source: book provided by the publisher for review



Life is sweet for Daphne Martin right now, from her flourishing cake-decorating business to a rekindled romance with her high school boyfriend, Ben. All that’s about to change, courtesy of famously foul-mouthed celebrity chef Jordan Richards. The TV star has come to Brea Ridge, Virginia, for the town’s lavish cake competition, but he won’t be leaving under his own steam. After his first master class, Jordan is found bludgeoned with a cake stand and drowned in some very bitter batter.

Plenty of townsfolk think the curmudgeonly confectioner had it coming, but the half-baked evidence points to Daphne as a prime suspect. With Ben mulling a new job offer—in Kentucky—Daphne is faced with a multilayered dilemma. She needs to somehow keep her boyfriend, win the cake competition, and sift out the real culprit . . . before the killer serves up another victim.


Review:   Battered to Death is a cozy mystery that has cakes and baking at its center along with a murder to be solved.  Daphne owns a bakery and is a cake decorator who is entered in the First Annual Brea Ridge Taste Bud Temptation Cake and Confectionary Arts Exhibit and Competition (what a mouthful).  Daphne is also enrolled in the cooking class being given by an acerbic but famous celebrity chef  who is woven throughout. She is also an amateur sleuth with her friend and surrogate mom, Myra.  Myra’s boyfriend Mike is a private investigator and Daphne’s boyfriend, Ben, is the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper.  With the four of them on the case, watch out!  The competition and the weekend are front and center in the story since all the action takes place over the long weekend and there are quite a cast of characters besides those already mentioned.

There are family and friends, kids, bakers, competitions, laughter, happiness, sadness, fear, love and romance.  The descriptions of the cakes and the demonstrations made it easy to visualize in my mind.  The mystery wasn’t hard to solve and I was easily able to narrow it down to two suspects.  There was a happily ever after and the epilogue tied up the loose ends and gave nice closure. It was a quick reading and enjoyable cozy mystery with a couple of recipes in the back of the book.

This is the fourth book in the Daphne Martins Cake Mystery series and I will go back and read the first three to help set the stage.  I will add Trent’s other books in this series and her others to my TBR pile.