Hard Dough Homicide By Olivia Matthews: Review/Giveaway

Jun 3, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it one from Amazon.

Add a Bit of Spice to Your Cozy Mystery
Lindsay Murray is living her dream now that her family and she have opened Spice Isle Bakery. She enjoys sharing all the exotic flavors of her family’s Grenadian heritage along with a West Indian decor, old-school reggae tunes, and fascinating stories often shared by Granny, and it’s not uncommon to see customers rockin’ out to the music’s rhythm while waiting in line. It was a rocky start, though, when another bakery owner took exception to the competition which almost put them out of business and Lyndsay in jail, but the real culprit was exposed and, now, Spice Isle Bakery is a gathering hub for Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean neighborhood. With her parents, Cedella and Jacob, as partners and bakers, her maternal Granny Genevieve Bain and older brother Devon as “not-so-silent” partners, and an aunt, uncle, and cousins along with Ziggy Cat, its popularity is growing daily. But, is there a dark cloud in this silver lining?

Hard Dough Homicide Earns 5/5 Curry Conundrums … Clever Cozy Gem!
The bakery is very popular with an eclectic group of visitors, neighbors, and Lyndsay’s least favorite homicide detective, Bryce Johnson, as regulars. However, they are not so busy that they can afford turning down business, but that’s what Lyndsay did. Guy Law has called multiple times to reserve Spice Isle Bakery for an upcoming retirement dinner, but the retiree has a difficult history with the Murray family. Emily Smith is the principal at Kings County Early College High School, the same school that Lyndsay’s mother spent thirty-one years teaching math. Unfortunately, the time Smith spent there as the “boss” was fraught with enough conflict her mother opted for early retirement. Lyndsay plays the money card quoting a jaw-dropping fee as a way to dissuade him, but it backfires. Emily accepts the quote, and since the money would be a godsend toward bills and loans, Lyndsay’s mother agrees they should move forward. Of course, serving dinner to one who you don’t like is nothing compared to what happens next … murder!

Olivia Matthews’ second book in her Spice Isle Bakery series poses an interesting question: would you host a dinner for one who made your life miserable? Even if the money is an inflated windfall? Remember, any issues that occur would then put you at the top of a suspect list. So, it’s easy, if not ill-advised, for Detective Johnson to make the leap toward Lyndsay’s mother when Emily collapses during dinner and later dies. There are plenty of people who see Emily as the bane of their existence, and her outburst at the party only proves the guests are equally suspected. As many cozy fans know, karma is unforgiving and Emily’s arrogant, dismissive, and cruel attitude makes her the ideal target. The engaging investigation has Lyndsay running into many obstacles, including the police, the local business leaders, the press, and the killer, but the final perilous predicament reveals clever details, motive, and a surprise arrest. Definitely a favorite series … Don’t miss this, Cozy Fans!

Olivia Matthews’ writing style is very entertaining. I greatly enjoyed the references to the West Indies culture, the close family dynamic, and a healthy mix of romantic angst. Lyndsay is an admirable character to follow as she stands by her family, presents a hardworking mindset, and performs as a pretty good amateur snoop including partnering with Granny, a delightful matriarch. Detective Johnson harbors a soft spot for Lyndsay making his mandate to solve the crime problematic when he has Lyndsay’s mother on his suspect list, and the local reporter who has his eye on Lyndsay, too, keeps writing misleading articles … nice triangle dilemma. I am, however, firmly on Team Bryce to break through Lynds’ emotional brick wall. A next book topic, I hope!

Recipes, Please!
Like the old adage, “It’s not over til the fat lady sings,” a cozy mystery is “not over til” the recipes show up. Straight from Spice Isle Bakery, you can enjoy a taste of the Caribbean with a Hard Dough Bread Recipe and Coconut Drops! Yum!

A Spice Isle Bakery series
Against the Currant (2023) KRL Review HERE
Hard Dough Homicide (2023)
Preorder Alert! Coconut Drop Dead is up on Preorder releasing in late December

Be a Big Olivia Matthews Fan!
Best-selling author Patricia Sargeant writes under a few of literary personas including Regina Hart and Olivia Matthews, and with that she has “a story to match your every mood.” Channeling her “cozy” Olivia persona, she has added this Spice Isle Bakery Mystery to the Mystery Peach Coast Library Mysteries with Marvey a librarian who finds more than books checking out and the Sister Lou Mysteries with L.A. transplant Sister Louise “Lou” LaSalle finding more felonies than faith in Briar Coast, New York.

Facebook: Patricia Sargeant (Olivia Matthews)
Website: Patricia Sargeant (Regina Hart – Olivia Matthews)

Enter to win a copy of Hard Dough Homicide by Olivia Matthews by making a comment below about baking and family heritage: (1) a favorite family recipe, (2) an experience with West Indian cultures, or (3) your favorite festival experience? or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “dough” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 10, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please be sure to include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up soon.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read.
    Always enjoy books with food in them.
    thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. I love baking. We have so many recipes because both my grandma and great grandma also baked. It’s so wonderful to have family recipes that my daughters can use also.

  3. I love street festivals. One time, I won a prize.

  4. My Dad was the baker in our family. He used to make Snickerdoodle cookies, coffee cakes and rhubarb bread. Book sounds like a great book.

  5. There are so many – I still have my grandma’s old cookbook with old handwritten family recipes!

  6. We have a winner!


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