A Doomful of Sugar By Catherine Bruns: Review/Giveaway

Nov 5, 2022 | 2022 Articles, 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.

In 1998, Victor and Selma Khoury purchased Sappy Endings and, through long days and hard work, turned it into one of the top maple syrup producers in Vermont. Along with bottling premium maple syrup, they opened a café and gift shop full of homemade goods. Growing up, their daughter Leila Maya dreamed one day of being the “boss,” however, her relationship with her mother was extremely challenging and, after a major disappointment over a failed engagement, Leila left the family behind and moved to Florida for a teaching job that turned out more of a regret than a reward. Her younger brother Simon was always close to their mother and grew up to be a journalist with the local newspaper. Leila did have her best friend Heather Turcot since kindergarten, and despite being opposites in their appearance, they were always very close, even when miles and miles apart.

Then came the phone call…

A Doomful of Sugar Earns 5/5 Maple Candies…Deliciously Engaging!
Ten days ago, Leila’s brother Simon called to give her the most horrific news. Her father was found dead in his office, and it’s obviously murder. The small town of Sugar Ridge was the epitome of a safe town and Victor was such a well-liked, well-respected, generous man, so the murder shocked everyone. Police suspected a robbery gone wrong, and although no leads, they believe it to be someone who knew the layout of the property and her father’s routine. When the family gathered for the reading of her father’s last will and testament, Leila and Simon were surprised to learn he had made a new one just months before leaving the entire farm to Leila. The will stipulated that Leila only needed to run the farm for a year, at which time, she could keep it or sell it and share the profits. But, “I’m going to find out who did this to you, Dad. I promise.”

Maple-rrific! Catherine Bruns has burst out with a new series highlighting maple syrup! What could be better…well, add a strong female lead, multi-cultural family, a best friend, a bit of romantic tension (or just plain tension), a fur buddy, and murder! The emotions connected to losing a husband and father are difficult, but learning it’s murder is unimaginable. It seems Victor had seemed out of sorts, worried, and somewhat secretive the weeks before his death, and although good family friend Police Chief Crosby is determined to bring the culprit to justice warning off Leila’s intervention, she is just as determined. Is it a disgruntled employee, the competition, a former partner’s son, or someone closer to home? The journey was complex, yet very easy to read, with a wide range of suspects and an assortment of motives including good ol’ greed, revenge, and a need to keep a secret, a secret. It all leads to a final confrontation and shocking arrest.

Catherine’s writing style is always entertaining with descriptive language that does best to depict the environment, character appearances, food, and mood along with banter that illustrates multi-generational personalities. The mystery is clever, well-paced along with opening up with introductions to the characters and their connections and showing a family dynamic filled with realistic conflicts and expectations. A clever crime, realistic involvement with law enforcement, and surprise conclusion is important, but Bruns’ characters are always enjoyable with a special talent, viewpoint, or connection, but romance? Catherine doesn’t forget romance, whether it is “love at first sight,” reuniting previous loves, or “me thinks” they protest too much, Leila has options. There’s also a wedding on the horizon for Leila’s best friend, so lots of wedding planning in between snooping and hunting a killer. Leila is first-generation Lebanese-American with some references to her culture, yet more insights would be well received. Bruns also includes fascinating details into maple syrup production that she credits Baird Farm in Vermont. Great first-in-a-series book. I am eager for more!

And what is more appropriate…Recipes! Catherine always makes sure to add a treat. Enjoy Sappy Hour Café’s Baklava with a maple syrup topping, Maple Shortbread Cookies, Maple Syrup Bagels, Glazed Maple Doughnuts, and a special Maple Pork Chops Inthink might be a change of pace for Thanksgiving.

Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns pens many of my favorite cozy series that true cozy fans should not miss. Along with this new Maple Syrup Cozy Mystery, she has the Cookies & Chance Mystery series with the cryptic messages found in fortune cookies, the Cindy York Mysteries illustrating the murderous side of the real estate biz, with Carrie Jorgenson in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery multi-author collection she gives us a delightful Hawaiian setting, and with her Italian Chef Mysteries she serves up pasta, problems, and peril. Something for every cozy interest and many with easy-to-follow recipes!

Catherine Bruns Books (Facebook)
Catherine Bruns (Website)
Newsletter Sign Up—Catherine Bruns

To enter to win a copy of A Doomful of Sugar, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “sugar,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 12, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. 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 went up this week.

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. This sounds really interesting. Thanks for the article.

  2. Family interactions are always challenging.
    Sounds like a good read. thanks

  3. Hope to get to read this entertaining book!

  4. Sounds great! Count me in!

  5. A Doomful of Sugar by Catherine Bruns sounds like a sweet read for lovers of cozy mysteries!

  6. We have a winner!


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