Monday, March 8, 2010
Dead Pan by Gayle Trent
This is the second book in Trent's Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series. I have not read the first book, Murder Takes the Cake. Daphne is a dessert caterer and because of her Nancy Drew type activities in the first book she has gained a private detective reputation in her little Virginia town. After a local Christmas party, a young man named Fred dies from food poisoning. Or, at least, that's the assumption that gets Daphne involved since she supplied the cake for the party. Worried for her business and that other people will get sick, Daphne starts nosing around to figure out what happened. Then there's a Campylobacter bacteria outbreak in Brea Ridge; random people are getting sick with something that the local pharmaceutical company can quickly cure using one of their new, experimental vaccines. Was Fred's death and the other cases accidental or murder?
I'm sure I'm not the only person who has thought this but this series is very similar to Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear series: A divorced woman who left an abusive husband starts a catering business and investigates crimes. I'm a fan of Davidson's series, especially the recipes, and think I still prefer Goldy to Daphne. I liked Daphne; she's warm with a good sense of humor, doesn't exactly know what she thinks of her relationship with Ben, her sorta boyfriend, and makes cakes for a living. Desserts have always been my favorite. The story/mystery wasn't too complicated or too long and I was surprised when I started reading it that I lost track of time since I wasn't expecting much. There are elements of the funky here - middle-aged women playing games like Guitar Hero and such. The technical info about cake making and conventions was interesting but I'm not too sure that I am interested enough to want to read the next one. This review also appears on LibraryThing.