This murder mystery centers on an annual TV baking show filmed in a magnificent remote Victorian mansion, that has been the ancestral home of Betsy, the show’s hostess, for generations. Think Agatha Christie hits the Food Network for a confection of a who-dun-it.
Six home bakers have come in for the annual week-long bake off, each with their own secrets, ambitions, or ambivalence. There’s Stella, a New York city journalist who has quit her job and spent the past year learning to bake by cooking all of Betsy’s published recipes. Lottie, a retired 72-year-old nurse from Rhode Island, loves to bake for her daughter and has an extensive collection of mixing bowls in her cottage. Pradyumna, a dashing entrepreneur made rich off a parking app that has since gone obsolete, cooks mainly for attracting women and distracting himself from his boredom. Hannah, a young baker from Minnesota specializes in pies and baked goods for the small diner where she works a and dreams of escape to a bigger stage. Gerald, a Bronx high school teacher, uses his mathematic skills to bring absolute precision to both his baking and his life. Peter, a gay New Hampshire renovator of historic homes, cooks mainly for his partner and daughter Lulu. Add into the mix a new charismatic co-host Archie who emerges as Betsy’s archnemesis, as well as Melanie, a producer Betsy has promoted up the ranks to head this year’s baking contest and who harbors built-up resentment.
And the book opens with Betsy screaming upon finding a dead body late at night in the baking tent, which she’s been asked to check due to torrential rain.
All this builds into powerful reveals, with deeply satisfying side mysteries and personal revelations that go down as easily as a well-baked sweet.
Oh, and get excited for a Hulu series already in the works based on the book!
Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.