Review: Cupcakes & Conspiracies (Sweet Baked Mystery #1) by Katherine Hayton

Review: Cupcakes & Conspiracies (Sweet Baked Mystery #1) by Katherine Hayton

Welcome to Hanmer Springs. Small town. Big secrets.
With a divorce pending and her career hanging in the balance, Holly Waterston returns to her hometown of Hanmer Springs to lick her wounds.

According to her accountant, she also needs to sell the cupcake bakery owned and operated by her family for three generations. The bakery is the only place Holly’s younger sister Crystal has ever worked.

But when their mortgage holder suffers anaphylactic shock after eating a cupcake, Crystal is chief suspect for the attempted murder. Despite being labeled allergy-free, the cake was chock full of peanuts.

Holly must dig in her heels and don an apron if she’s to clear her sister’s name, uncover the real culprit, and find out why their booming business is hemorrhaging money. If she can’t, then Holly might lose Crystal to prison and lose the one place she can truly call home.

This Sweet Baked Mystery is certified allergy-free of the following ingredients:
No Swearing
No Gore
No Graphic Scenes
and absolutely No Cliffhangers!

Warning: May contain traces of danger and good humor.

Short and sweet cozy mystery. Less than 200 pages but it’s full of twists and turns, red-herrings abound. Overall, I enjoyed reading this new cozy mystery series.

My first book from Katherine Hayton. I didn’t know what to expect from this book and there’s always a certain degree of uncertainty and anxiety when starting a new series or a new author.
Nevertheless, it turned out a needless fear; this book, Cupcakes and Conspiracies entertained me from beginning to end, there wasn’t a dull moment – well, almost.

Failing bakery that Holly’s sister, Crystal has inherited after their father’s passing. The debt is snowballing and Holly and their accountant, Humphrey have decided selling it is the best option. Holly comes back to her hometown to have this very difficult discussion with her sister but she finds out the bakery is in fact booming with a steady, constant flow of hungry customers.

Then an incident happens; attempt murder of Brian Masters who supervises many businesses around the area and of all people, Crystals been pegged as a prime suspect.
In a bid to clear her sister’s name, Holly decides to take matters into her own hands and do a little investigation herself.

The writing is clear, easy to follow and draws a vibrant picture of the bakery and the overall backdrop of the story. I particularly adored the side story set on the bakery with equally vibrant characters – some annoying and some likable – it was nicely drawn out.

The mystery was a bit slow to proceed but well-plotted and delivered with some red herrings and suspicions scattered across the book. There were some things that I found a bit challenging to make the connection – the key to solving the mystery which is hidden beneath the facade of poker, logic, and math, and I kind of missed playing detective with Holly, but it didn’t take away a lot of enjoyment regardless.

Eventually, the case gets closed and the book comes to an uplifting end.
I wish it had been developed more (I felt it a bit rushed) but the characters, especially the dynamics between the two sisters and those of between Holly and Meggie, have a great appeal to me, I am already keen to follow this series to find out what adventure and crimes await them. A good start to an entertaining, scrumptious cosy mystery. I’ll give this book 3.5 stars.

4 thoughts on “Review: Cupcakes & Conspiracies (Sweet Baked Mystery #1) by Katherine Hayton

  1. I love the certified allergy-free part of the blurb. That is so cool! Sorry you didn’t love this one though, Noriko. I hope the other books in the series are better for you. Excellent review! 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jenn! Yes, it was really witty, isn’t it?
      I have read two books in the series, but I didn’t love the second one either. I am now thinking if I should proceed or not lol

      Liked by 1 person

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