cover image Murder at an Irish Bakery: An Irish Village Mystery

Murder at an Irish Bakery: An Irish Village Mystery

Carlene O’Connor. Kensington, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3081-7

At the start of O’Connor’s excellent ninth Irish Village mystery (after 2022’s Murder on an Irish Farm), a protester shouts, “Join the health revolution. Sugar is not your friend,” outside Pie Pie Love, “Kilbane’s best bakery housed in a historic flour mill,” where a reality baking show is about to be filmed over the coming week. “Neither is noise-pollution before coffee,” thinks garda Siobhán O’Sullivan, who’s part of the security team for the show. The anti-sugar protestor collapses, possibly from an allergic reaction, after one of the contestants, Aoife McBride (aka “the Queen baker of Ireland”), puts makeup on his face for the camera. Later, a representative of the show’s anonymous sponsor creates complications by providing the contestants with what he calls “secret weapons,” which could be “a special ingredient, a new piece of equipment, or a coveted recipe.” When one of the contestants dies under mysterious circumstances, Siobhán investigates, even as the show must go on. Distinctive, captivating characters match a gripping plot full of surprises. O’Connor reinforces her place among the top rank of cozy writers. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Mar.)