Sweet Saboteur (The Cozy Café Mysteries, #1) by C.A. Phipps
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Kindle, paperback
Solid cozy mystery that will also satisfy your sweet tooth!
When the Finch sisters’ mother, Lilac, passed away, she left the girls heartbroken, saddled with a mountain of debt, and the owners of the Cozy Café, her much-loved bakery in Cozy Hollow, Oregon. The eldest sister, Scarlett, was born to follow in her mother’s footsteps and loved the bakery, but the two younger girls, Violet and Ruby, felt trapped, tied to the café, and longed to hang up their aprons and follow their dreams. But the bakery was just barely breaking even, making little headway on overcoming their debt, and their tenure seemed to stretch out endlessly into the future.
Most of the residents of the small town had loved the girls’ mother, and they rallied around them, providing as much business as they could, but there were a few folks that for unknown reasons did everything in their power to make a tough situation worse. One of the most outspoken opponents was the town’s mayor, Arthur Tully. After the death of the Finch sisters' father, Arthur had pursued the new widow and been firmly refused. Also heading up the Finches’ detractors is Arthur’s political ally on the town council, Mabel Norris, the town’s librarian.
When things at the bakery begin to look dire, Scarlett goes to the library to ask Mabel to hire Ruby as her assistant. However, Scarlett discovers the librarian’s body on the floor of a backroom, dead with a cupcake from the Cozy Café at hand appearing to have poisoned the woman. Scarlett is cleared, but another poisoning attempt is made with a cupcake soon after, and the mayor is telling anyone and everyone that the Finch sisters must go!
Sweet Saboteur is the charming debut novel in a new series, The Cozy Café Mysteries, by successful author C.A. Phipps. The three sisters, Scarlett, Violet, and Ruby are all sweet, go-getters that I could really get behind. They’ve had a rough time of it, losing both parents as well as caring for their mother during her long illness leading up to her death. None has been able to spread their wings and fly free, and now, due to circumstances, they are tied to a life that only one of the sisters finds desirable. But, they have a strong love for each other and a reasonably good support system helping them hang in there in their Aunt Olivia and the townspeople who have known them all their lives.
The bad guy in all of this, the mayor, is an awful person. Every chance he gets, he’s there bad-mouthing the girls, and he is a character that is easy to boo & hiss. The local paramedic, Sam Drake, and Sheriff Nathaniel "Nate" Adams provide delightful, potential love interests for two of the sisters, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see how those relationships pan out and if a third eligible bachelor makes an appearance.
I recommend this book to cozy mystery readers, especially those that enjoy a culinary storyline. The author provides a number of recipes for some delicious sounding sweets at the end of the book.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.