The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.
With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery—a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.
To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods—and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer—before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim…
SERIES: Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery, General Market
PUBLISHER: Berkley Prime Crime
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2016
Eclair and Present Danger is everything a cozy mystery should be! Laura Bradford has created the perfect recipe for fans of the genre – winsome characters, humor, quirky pet, cute small business, and a whodunit that isn’t immediately obvious. Plus, a dash of romance to make your heart flutter and a fun title to make you smile!
I loved Winnie, a baker in her thirties who lives on a street with mostly senior citizen neighbors – who were a hoot & the source of most of the book’s humor. Mr. Nelson and Bridget and their bantering (the way Bradford subtly wrote in a line where Bridget sticks her own finger in Mr. Nelson’s ear to turn up his hearing aid had me chuckling out loud), Mr. Nelson and his flirting, Mr. Nelson in general. Clearly, Mr. Nelson is my favorite character in the book!
The Emergency Dessert Squad business idea was super fun as well, and I loved all the dessert names Winnie and Renee came up with to treat those life emergencies that call for something sweet – stat! Names like “Hot Flash Fudge Sundae” or “Don’t Be Blue Berry Pie” or “You Are One Smart Cookie” or even “Worry No s’More Bars”. Besides making me drool and wish a dessert ambulance would pull up outside my own house, these creative names made me smile throughout the book.
Of course the key element to any mystery is … the mystery. I thought there was a nice realistic balance between Winnie’s life upheaval going on and the still-unsolved questions regarding the death of her friend Bart. She wasn’t focused on one to the exclusion of the other, nor did she suddenly morph into Nancy Drew overnight. Her crime-solving actions actually seemed “normal”, like something I would totally do in the same situation – not annoyingly foolhardy or surprisingly skilled, etc. Bradford did an excellent job of creating an amateur sleuth that could be any one of us … well, so long as we drive an antique ambulance decked out with an icing-dispensing IV pole.
Bottom Line: With Eclair and Present Danger, Laura Bradford delivers a fun, heartfelt cozy mystery full of well-written characters and great dialogue. The whodunit is just out of reach enough to keep armchair detectives on their toes, but it also stays enough in the background so as not to overwhelm the other storylines. All of the plots and subplots blend together perfectly in a delicious treat for readers!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
Reviewer’s Note: As I normally review Christian fiction here, I should point out that there are a couple of very minor profanities scattered around this general market book. However, as it is otherwise completely clean, I have no problems recommending it for both my Christian fiction audience and my general market readers.
My Rating: 4 stars / Loved it!
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) is the author of several mystery series and a handful of romance novels. She is a former Agatha Award nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends. In addition to the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, Laura writes The Amish Mysteries and The Jenkins & Burns mysteries, as well as The Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (as Elizabeth Lynn Casey).
Other Books by Laura Bradford
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What about you? If you were running an “Emergency Dessert Squad”, what’s a dessert name you would have on the menu?