Winner Cake All by Denise Swanson publishes on 29 September 2020, my birthday, so how could I not be interested in reviewing the advance copy I received from Sourcebooks? I also like cozy mysteries that have catchy titles. Winner Cake All is the third book in the Chef-to-Go series; the first two books also have terrific names: Tart of Darkness and Leave No Scone Unturned.
One might think nothing ever happens, at least nothing bad, in Normalton, Illinois. Yet, Dani Sloan, owner of a catering establishment, Chef-to-Go in Normalton, manages to find bodies and solve crimes as well as cook.
In Winner Cake All, Dani has a great opportunity to cater a large event for Yvette Joubert and her fiancé Franklin Whittaker. Because Whittaker, “rumored to be the wealthiest resident of Normalton, Illinois,” chooses Dani to cater the wedding events, Dani feels sure she will soon be swamped with other bookings.
Readers will enjoy the mouthwatering descriptions of pastries and other foods sprinkled throughout the story. For example, in the beginning, Dani prepares coffee and a “platter of mocha truffle brownies, orange brown-sugar raisin swirl coffee cake, and her secret weapon: chai latte snickerdoodles.” Now, who can resist those goodies? Dani does not rely completely on sweet treats; she also caters full meals and those descriptions are equally appetizing.
Of course, we readers know to expect a murder, but who is it? And more importantly, perhaps, who did it? And how will Dani solve the murder? Mixed in with the cooking and catering and hunting for a criminal, Dani also finds a bit of romance.
Unlike some other culinary cozy writers, Swanson does not include recipes in the book, but readers can easily satisfy cravings unearthed by descriptions on the book by checking cookbooks and the Internet for recipes.
Fellow writer Julie Hyzy says of Denise Swanson that the writing is “fast-paced and fun.” Readers will find that is true of Winner Cake All and along the way will learn not only who dies, but who is the killer!