by Kathleen Costa
& Kim Davis
This week we have a review of the latest Cupcake Catering Mystery by Kim Davis (our last Christmas mystery review of the season), and Kim has shared with us a fun guest post and cookie recipe. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Frosted Yuletide Murder: A Cupcake Catering Mystery By Kim Davis
Review by Kathleen Costa
Emory Martinez is more than just talented with creating unique cupcake flavors, she’s also passionate! In her youth, she earned high praise for her mini treats which inspired her to bravely quit the “9 to 5” rat race and join her older, “only by a few minutes,” sister Carrie Berger in a party planning and catering business, Pacific Palates Catering. It was the perfect opportunity to highlight her sweet concoctions, and now, her reputation has led to some clients specifically asking for her desserts. Along with catering gigs, she uses her business skills working for David Skyler and cooking skills as a companion for his energetic octogenarian mother Tillie with whom she shares secrets, gossip, and her grandson Brian. Emory lives on the Skyler property in the pool house with roommate Piper, an attention-seeking pup. She recently discovered a previously unknown familial link…a half-sister. Zoom and email introductions have led to arranging a face-to-face meeting. Life is a bit bittersweet, though, she may have an even keel life with some professional popularity, but she’s, unfortunately, discovered and been implicated in too many suspicious deaths. It’s been disturbing and dangerous, but she can add amateur detective to her resumé.
Frosted Yuletide Murder Earns 5/5 Ritzy Yachts…Delicious Cozy Fun!
Mystery client. Private yacht. Annual Christmas boat parade. It’s a great opportunity for Emory and her unique cupcakes and cocktails to be noticed, but first impressions are blemished by messages not relayed resulting in a tight schedule for set-up. The relationship between the chief steward and her assistant are strained along with some unfriendly attitudes among the rest of the crew. It’s made more troublesome when Emory overhears a rather heated conversation between two people she can’t identify, and the comment “It needs to be taken care of” has Emory whirling. Is someone plotting murder or does previous experiences make her too sensitive to that kind of talk? The discovery of their client’s identity, however, sends her sister whirling…Blair Thornton, now the wealthy Mrs. Villman, Carrie’s torturous high school classmate hasn’t changed a bit with her snotty attitude, bossy manner, and horrible attacks on the quality of the food. What else will spoil the pudding? The dead body might!
Fun Felonies! Kim Davis always bakes up a flavorful mystery in her Cupcake Catering Mystery, and this time with all the intrigue of the rich and famous and…murderous! It’s hard not to get involved, or be accused of foul play, when your sister’s nemesis is found dead, but the long-ago high-school torment seems less of a motive when there’s plenty on which to hang an arrest warrant: disgruntled staff, an angry step-son, an emotionally distant husband, collateral lawyers, critics, and friends, and the first Mrs. Villman whose public argument with the current Mrs. Villman ended in a slap. The trail of suspects cleverly reveals the victim was cruel, selfish, and in desperate need of some karmic intervention, but murder, however final, seems extreme. Kim’s writing style is very entertaining, descriptive, and with dialogue that solicited lots of emotions. The murder investigations requires “all hands on deck,” with Emory having to deflect accusations, navigate roadblocks of lies and secrets, weed through untrustworthy persons of interest, and recover from perilous predicaments. But, Kim always adds those personal stories beyond the cozy mystery with a bit of romance, a bit of friendship, and a lot of cupcakes and cookie talk. Entertaining and well worthy it!
Recipes, too! Enjoy Kim’s easy-to-follow recipes meeting every sweet treat lover’s holiday needs: Vegan/Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Bark Martini Cupcakes, Chocolate Peppermint Bark Martini Cocktail, Cranberry Kick Cupcakes, Cranberry Kick Cocktail with homemade Cranberry Liqueur, Gingerbread Springerle Cookies, Hot Cocoa Cookies, Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies, Easy Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies, Lacy Oatmeal Cookies, Vega/Gluten-Free Almond Caramel Thumbprint Cookies, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Vegan/Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.
Be a Big Kim Davis Fan!
For me, Kim Davis, aka K.A. Davis, is a favorite book reviewer and blogger at Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder, but she has taken some of her creativity and became a writer. In 2017, she wrote the suspense thriller A Game of Deceit (reviewed HERE) to rave reviews, in 2020, she introduced the now very popular four-book cozy Cupcake Catering Mystery series, and this year, she’s hit big by introducing a new heroine Cassie Carmichael in Aromatherapy Apothecary Mystery with Essential of Murder (Reviewed HERE).
Contradictions and Cupcakes
Christmas and cozy mischief seem to go together like stockings and chunks of coal. It’s the contrast of the good and the bad that is engaging. Kim Davis had her own take on writing mysteries set during the holiday season…and of course, Christmas cookies!
By Kim Davis
Not many people would pair Christmas with murder, which is the antithesis of the spirit of the holiday. Yet, the Christmas season provides unique situations for murder to happen. Groups of people gathering together and consuming too much holiday cheer can contribute to ill feelings. Jealousies, old grievances, and outright greed can be exposed as far-flung families gather together. And the backdrop setting of festivities doesn’t get any better than Christmas time. ??
In Frosted Yuletide Murder, I used the backdrop of the Newport Beach Christmas boat parade for a tragic murder to happen. With colorful lights, music, costumes, and decorated boats, it’s easy to allow the reader to feel like they’re experiencing the festivities while providing a venue for conflict. I’ve attended the boat parade (both in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach) several times and loved being able to include the event in my book. ??
Another favorite aspect of the holidays is the food, especially cookies. Since my protagonist, Emory, is a cupcake caterer, she’s invited to provide cupcakes and cookies on board a private yacht during the boat parade. This gives her an insider’s view of the conflict that leads to murder and gives her a reason to get involved. ??
Speaking of cookies, it never feels like the holiday season until I’ve whipped up many batches of cookies and started baking. Before Covid hit, I used to bake over 3,000 cookies to share with my granddaughters’ teachers, therapists, aides, coaches, friends, and family. Being able to juggle that amount of baking with everyday responsibilities has been a process of trial and error over the years. I provided some tips in the book on ways to streamline the process so it’s doable. (The freezer is your cookie dough’s friend!) Of course, Emory does a lot of experimenting in the kitchen with both simple and complicated cookie recipes, and I’ve included six cookie recipes in the book (along with cupcake recipes and others). One of the recipes she came up with that is super simple yet provides an elegant look to the cookie platter is Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have, and I wish you a joyous holiday season as you celebrate!
1 (15.25 to 16.5 ounce) box red velvet cake mix
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together until well combined the red velvet cake mix, butter, and eggs.
Place the confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl.
Using a 2-tablespoon scoop to portion, shape the dough into balls and roll in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the cookies 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake 10–12 minutes, just until the edges are set and cracks appear on the tops of the cookies. The interior should still look moist in the cracks.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To enter to win a print or ebook copy of Frosted Yuletide Murder (winner’s choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, with the subject line “frosted,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 27, 2021. Only US entries and you must be at least 18 to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE SURE TO STATE WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK.
The first in this series, Sprinkles of Suspicion, was featured on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast. You can find the link here, or listen on the player below:
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. New Christmas episodes have gone up this month!
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