Framed and Frosted, the third book in the Cupcake Catering Mystery series, finds cupcake caterer, Emory Martinez, working at a Laguna Beach society Fourth of July soiree, with her sister and their new employee, Sal. With a host that seems intent on accosting both catering employees and guests alike, things go from bad to worse when he accuses Sal of murdering his long-dead son.
As the crescendo of exploding fireworks overhead becomes the backdrop for cupcakes and champagne, a deadly murder occurs. Can Sal and Emory explain why the cupcake the host ate, after shoving a trayful of buttercream frosted cupcakes onto Sal, resulted in his death? Or will the guests and detective alike believe that Sal is a murderer? Emory and her octogenarian employer, Tillie, whip into action to find out who framed Sal after being frosted by the victim.
Source: Purchase Rating: 4½/5 stars
The Bottom Line: I love it when a series continues to strengthen with each additional book and that is exactly what is happening with this series. By far, the plot and characterization in this book are the strongest they have been to date, and I devoured this book because of these qualities. Yet again, Emory finds herself embroiled in not one but two mysteries and both are threatening her livelihood and her life.
As always, Emory can’t keep herself out of trouble and when a man drops dead seemingly from ingesting her sister’s food, the race is on to find the real killer, save her sister’s catering business, and the life of a young employee wrongfully jailed for the crime. In the course of sussing out the culprit for one murder, Emory stumbles upon a very serious issue within the Skylar family. Through a series of very twisted and disturbing events, it becomes clear the two mysteries are related to one another and if Emory can figure out one, the other will also become clear. Unfortunately, solving both will prove to be both literally and figuratively painful for a number of people. I found this book not only suitably entertaining, but a step up in caliber. Davis upped her game with this book and really brought together two seemingly unrelated plotlines into one succinct and slightly more complex than normal plotline. Davis also created a deal of believable, real life drama for her main characters and that caused each to make some big, life-altering decisions that will certainly play a role in later installments of the series. I liked this series before this book, but this book ignited a real fire in me that has me quite excited about Emory’s future.