Sunday, February 13, 2022

Stabbed in the Tart

Home bakery owner and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Kayla Jeffries has been hired for the Gourmet and Stay Valentine's Weekend at the historic Countryside Inn in Los Robles, CA. 

When one of her fellow cooks is murdered during dinner service, she becomes a person of interest-and a possible suspect.

read an excerpt...

My first orders came in. I whipped egg whites and scooped the foam onto eight cherry-filled tarts I’d finished earlier. Five minutes later, I retrieved the batch from the oven, pleased to see the meringues on top were nicely browned. I’d practiced my recipes many times over the last few days to the point that I had them memorized, but you never knew what could happen with an unfamiliar oven.

I removed the tarts from their pans, plated each dessert onto a red dish, and added a dollop of whipped cream to the side. Brenda gave me an appreciative glance as the waitstaff took them away.

Conrad came into the kitchen, beamed a smile at us, and said, “Well done, everyone. The guests are thoroughly enjoying their meals. I’ve never seen the dining room in such high spirits or the hotel so well-showcased. This weekend is going to be great for business.”

An hour later, I was feeling pretty good and Conrad once more was raving to us about how well everything was going. Then the wind howled, the windows shook, and all the lights went out. I almost dropped the cupcakes I’d just removed from the oven. I managed to slip the pan onto the counter.

“No one panic,” Conrad said into the darkness. “The generator will kick on soon. It’s a good one. It powers most of the hotel.”

Sure enough, a few seconds later, the lights came back on. Unfortunately, one light perfectly illuminated Edward facedown on the floor near the center island, the kitchen shears lodged in the back of his neck.

My review...

If the author of this book happens to be an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), she will not have to worry about being upset because I liked this. However, her main character, Kayla, happens to be an HSP and finding a fellow chef dead on the floor while baking a tart could make you Very sensitive.

This is a cute cozy, and it has a good mystery. Carol Ayer seems to be very good at throwing in a few red herrings making this a good read and a good puzzle. Upon arriving at the inn she is cooking part of a dinner for, Kayla runs into her father. Although they are not particularly close, the author builds in some tender times with them and I thought it added some good moments

As I said, an enjoyable cozy. This looks to be the second book in the HSP Mysteries series. While this could be read as a stand-alone, I’m sure the first book is just as enjoyable. Might as well start there.  

Check them out here:

about Carol Ayer...

Carol Ayer, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), lives halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento with her cat, Rainn. When she’s not writing, she’s reading mysteries and thrillers or watching movies and cooking shows. As a native Californian, she visits the ocean as often as possible.


Stabbed in the Tart/Amazon

Stabbed in the Tart/B&N

Stabbed in the Tart/Kobo


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  1. Thank you very much for the review! I'm so happy to be here. I am, indeed, an HSP myself!

    1. Glad to have you here. Best of luck with your book.

  2. Sounds like a book I will enjoy reading.

  3. The book sounds like a fun read. Love the cover!

    1. Thank you, Pippi! Scott Book and Melissa Vail Coffman designed the cover for Camel Press.


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