Today, as part of my ongoing effort to highlight the most often recommended Cozy Mystery series by site readers, I’ll be discussing the first in Eve Calder‘s Cookie House Mystery Series, titled And Then There Were Crumbs.
Released in July 2019 (just a bit over two years before I wrote this article), I’m not sure offhand if I’ve ever discussed a novel as recent as this one. It’s definitely one of the most “modern” Cozies I’ve read for the site, and if you’re a fan of modern Cozies, you’re likely to really enjoy a lot of what this novel has to offer.
Kate McGuire, a classically trained pastry chef, has decided to make a big change in her life by leaving the big city, her familiar job, and an estranged fiance by moving to a scenic small town, Coral Cay, a tourist town in southern Florida. Unfortunately, Kate isn’t fortunate enough to have a small town family with a struggling business looking for help, or a recently deceased great-aunt, or another shortcut to success in small town life, so she’s having a bit of trouble finding a job on short notice and low savings. Eventually she settles on what at first seems like the worst possible cooking-related job in town, working for curmudgeonly Sam Hepplewhite, owner of The Cookie House – a bakery that most definitely does not own cookies – for below minimum wage, though she does manage to talk him into letting her bunk in an unused storeroom upstairs from the shop.
This turns out to possibly be a mistake, as her first night staying over in the shop, Kate hears the sounds of what must be a break-in. The local police aren’t too interested, assuming that the poorly-secured back door was just jimmied by some teenagers “up to mischief.” Sam seems a bit more concerned – he has a deadbolt installed the next day, as well as a landline phone installed upstairs for Kate in case of another emergency – but Kate begins thinking there’s more going on than she’s been told about.
And quickly sees that this instinct was correct. It becomes apparent that local real estate magnate is looking to buy The Cookie House – though whether Sam is interested in selling seems open to debate. Eventually, the possible purchaser turns up dead – probably of poison, and just after being fed by Sam, Sam quickly becomes the primary suspect.
As I said earlier, in many ways, And Then There Were Crumbs is more or less the archetypical modern Cozy. It has the “moving to a small town to start over” angle, a food related gimmick in frequent mentions of baked goods like cookies and breads, and interesting locals in a scenic setting. Fortunately, it does all of these things rather well. I also particularly appreciate that it gets to the murder mystery relatively quickly. So, if you’re up for a modern Cozy with a baking theme that gets to the point a bit more quickly than some of its peers, I can suggest And Then There Were Crumbs.
If you’re interested in seeing more highlights of some of the most recommended or popular Cozy Mystery authors/series, visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.