When a festival of sweets is imperiled by the murder of its organizer, the owner of the host restaurant investigates to clear her chef of the crime.
Mimi Rousseau may have bitten off more than she can chew when she offered Maison Rousseau, her Napa Valley restaurant, as a site for the new Sweet Treats Festival. She’s relieved that she can rely on her executive chef, Camille Chabot, known informally as Chef C, to helm the kitchen while Camille’s sister, Renee Wells, runs the festival. Though Mimi knows Renee only through Camille, she trusts her chef, and Renee seems to have a real handle on supervising all the goings-on the Sweet Treats Festival entails. The only one who’s not so sure about Renee is Allie O’Malley, who regrets selling the festival to Renee and wants a cut of the profits. Renee isn’t sympathetic about Allie’s bad business decision and isn’t afraid to gloat. Allie may get the last laugh, however, after Chef C discovers that someone’s killed Renee. The town’s shocked to be the scene of yet another murder (A Deadly Éclair, 2018, etc.), and Mimi’s determined to clear Chef C of the crime even if her sleuthing implicates Allie or uncovers more enemies of Renee. Concentrating on what happened to Renee is the perfect distraction for Mimi, who’s afraid to scrutinize her feelings for Nash Hawke, who may be trying to get closer than she’s ready for.
Spicing the mix with an impressive 14 recipes, from Autumn Quiche to Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies, Gerber balances a beautiful setting with a predictable but enjoyable cozy plot.