Of all the places I have visited, lived, or traveled to, I think New Orleans has to be the most mysterious. Probably also my favorite. It lends itself to a certain feeling and that feeling makes it a great setting The Cakes of Monte Cristo: A Piece of Cake Mystery by Jacklyn Brady, which involves a necklace with a dark past and a curse.
From the back of the book:
In the fresh new Piece of Cake Mystery from the national bestselling author of Rebel Without a Cake, a pastry chef becomes embroiled in a suspicious death as a mysterious curse casts a pall over an annual New Orleans ball.
Rita Lucero, co-owner of New Orleans’s Zydeco Cakes, is thrilled to be catering an annual ball held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. Designing the high-end desserts is her priority—until she stumbles upon a mystery long-buried at her shop. It’s an ornate ruby necklace, hidden underneath her staircase and rumored to be cursed.
After the gem’s appraiser suddenly drops dead and Rita herself is targeted by a menacing stranger, she’s no longer laughing at local superstition. Now with five cakes on order and an investigation into the necklace’s past revealing layers of unsettling clues, Rita has reason to keep looking over her shoulder while she’s frosting. Because any way you slice it, the next victim of the legendary curse could be her.
For a series that is six books in this really reads fresh and crisp. It was my first dip in the series and I was so easily lost in the setting and characters that I didn't feel like I had missed a beat. The mystery was so well woven and kept unfolding in unsuspecting ways. Initially I wondered if it would be about the necklace, then a dead body turned up and it deepened even further.
The pacing was fabulous, with new twists and suspects appearing at just the right time. It was first person which can be a hard narrative to make exciting but this was really done effectively and I was totally white knuckling it in places, not just the end!
Even knowing it is part six I expect this will be a long lived story as there seems to be so much life in the characters and so much more to explore. I hope I am right. While you are exploring make sure you peek in the back of the book for recipes too! One of my favorite southern comforts is included.
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