Book Review: “Bake Sale Murder” by Leslie Meier

Cover of "Bake Sale Murder" by Leslie Meier
Cover of “Bake Sale Murder” by Leslie Meier

I’m back with another book review and this time I’m reviewing the murder mystery book “Bake Sale Murder” by Leslie Meier! I almost mistook it for a Joanne Fluke murder mystery book based on the cover’s design. It’s possible they could have similar cover artists or even the same one, or it could be due to both books taking place in the murder mystery genre (specifically leaning toward the cozy mystery subgenre). However, I was intrigued, and so I picked it up to read and review. Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

“Ever since local developer Fred Stanton and his wife, Mimi, built five modular homes next door to Lucy Stone’s farmhouse, life just hasn’t been the same. With Mimi complaining about everything from the state of Lucy’s lawn to another neighbor’s lovable dog, quaint Tinker’s Cove, Maine, is now entangled in cul-de-sac politics and backstabbing. And when Mimi doesn’t show up for her shift at The Hat and Mitten Fund bake sale, the scent of burnt sugar leads Lucy to a shocking discovery: Mimi, face down on her kitchen floor—with a knife in her back.

While the police start their investigation, Lucy gets busy writing up the murder for the local Pennysaver—and following a few leads of her own. Lucy knows the women in her neighborhood didn’t like Mimi, but they certainly didn’t want her dead…right?”

Content Warning:

This book contains murder, descriptions of attempted suicide, hazing, sexual assault and harassment, and domestic abuse.

Plot Development: 3 out of 5 stars

I was surprised at how many plotlines were stuffed into this book, and I think there might have been too many to read at once. There was the bake sale, of course, but then there were rumors of hazing being investigated (which turn out to be true and involve three of the content warnings I mentioned earlier in this review). Additionally, there was the actual murder mystery, as well as the death of a homeless man who turns out to be related to another character for reasons I won’t spoil here.

Though I did enjoy reading about Lucy finding out about the truth behind the rumors and exposing them, as well as those rumors being linked to the husband of the murderer, I wish the main story’s pacing was tighter. I felt that the hazing plot was more interesting than the actual murder mystery itself, which isn’t good when the book is supposed to be about the murder mystery.

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

I could sympathize with Lucy, the main protagonist, due the protectiveness over Sara, her daughter (especially after it’s revealed that Sara and several other cheerleaders were sexually harassed), and her trying to find out the truth of the situation. However, I didn’t find myself caring much for her relationships with her husband, or neighbors, especially with how discouraging they were with her being a reporter and her investigating the case. It also doesn’t help that barely anyone is honest with her in the beginning, either. None of the side characters really felt developed to me.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3 out of 5 stars!

It’s a quick read for a cozy murder mystery, and there are recipes at the back the reader can try baking themselves. However, I don’t recommend this book for anyone who is sensitive to any of the content warnings I listed, especially when it comes to hazing, sexual assault, and harassment.

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