I am a fan of entertaining and intriguing mysteries, and author Gayle Trent does not disappoint with Dead Pan, the second installment in her “cake decorating” series.
Heroine Daphne Martin returns and is the cake decorator of the series title. She is spunky, fearless and seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her into part-time sleuthing duties when the unfortunate Fred Duncan dies after attending a party that featured one of Daphne’s prized cakes — a party in which a handful of people fall ill after feasting on Daphne’s luscious dessert.
I did not have the luxury of reading the first book in the series, Murder Takes the Cake, but I was easily acquainted with Daphne and her menagerie of family and friends in her town of Brea Ridge, including her disapproving sister Violet, neighbor Belinda and her award winning guinea pigs and Daphne’s boyfriend Ben.
Ms. Trent’s writing style is light and breezy, the perfect description of Dead Pan. It is far and away more entertaining than suspenseful and thrilling; do not expect Agatha Christie or the like. I figured out “whodunnit” before the big reveal, but it did not spoil my overall enjoyment of the book.
The only downside to Dead Pan might be the excessive cake decorating details. I found them interesting, if a bit repetitive by the end. Other readers who care not about cake decorating might find the descriptions tedious. The baker at heart will appreciate the recipes included in the book.
For diehard mystery fans, Dead Pan might fall short of expectations. For cozy mystery lovers, Dead Pan should happily fit the bill.