Death by the Dozen (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #3) by Jenn McKinlay


“Melanie and Angie are determined to win the Challenge to the Chef to promote their Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. Mel’s mentor from culinary school, Vic Mazzotta, may be one of the judges, but Mel and Angie will have to win fair and square. But, when Vic’s dead body is found inside a freezer truck, Mel and Angie will need to use their best judgment to find the cold-blooded killer or they may lose more than the contest – they may lose their lives.”

-Synopsis from StoryGraph


Cover image from StoryGraph

Death by the Dozen is book three in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. I listened to this book on audio on Libby through my library last December. This was a great addition to the series, with many laugh out loud moments and lots of suspects to keep me guessing the entire story.

Mel and Angie sign up to compete in the Challenge to the Chefs at a local food festival. Similar to cooking competitions on Food Network, they will have to create different dishes using a secret ingredient that will only be revealed at the time of the challenge. Their friend Tate helps them prepare for any possible strange ingredient that could be introduced. They assume that their biggest challenge during the competition will be beating their rival, Olivia Puckett, but it turns out there is more drama going on with the judges of the event that they expected.

With Mel and Angie away at the cooking competition, they bring in a new intern to help for a few hours in the afternoon at Fairy Tale cupcakes. The intern, a high school student named Oz, was a great addition to the cast! He wasn’t what Mel was expecting, but proves his worth time and again. He was hilarious and played a big role in the ending, too.

Angie’s seven older brothers make appearances as well, and they are always fun to see. Tate and Angie still have not admitted their feelings for one another, and Angie’s continuing to date her boyfriend from the previous book only adds to the tension between them. However, they did seem to reach a moment of understanding towards the end of this book.

I will admit that between Mel’s old cooking school instructors and colleagues, I couldn’t quite keep everyone straight. It may have been because I was listening on audio and sometimes I miss little details if I don’t have a physical copy to refer back to. Vick, Dutch, and Bertie kind of morphed into one person for me which I hate to admit but they all served their own purposes in the plot. I managed the guess who the killer was, shockingly, but it was still an exciting ending with lots of big discoveries. Overall, I really enjoyed this one.

I look forward to continuing this series this year.

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