Cat has a full plate at her Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort, as a group of aspiring cozy mystery authors arrives for a writers retreat. So when baker Dee Dee Meyer stirs up trouble by filing a false complaint with the health inspector against the B&B—all because she insists Cat's best friend Shauna stole her recipes—Cat marches into the shop to confront her.
But Dee Dee's about to have her own batch of trouble. Greyson Finn—a celebrity chef and, until today, one of Denver's most eligible bachelors—has been found dead in her bakery. Cat's uncle Pete, who happens to be the chief of police, warns her not to engage in any half-baked sleuthing. But as her curiosity rises, Cat's determined to discover who served the chef his just desserts—before the killer takes a powder . . .
Praise for Lynn Cahoon
“Better get your flashlight handy, A Story to Kill will keep you reading all night.”
—Laura Bradford, author of the Amish Mysteries
“Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder.”
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
— T. S. Eliot
There is nothing like the taste of coffee, first thing in the morning. Maybe it's the warmth flowing through your body. (Or maybe it's the jolt of caffeine.) The mixture did miracles for a wake-up call.
Cat Latimer sat at the country farm table that could seat up to ten, twelve if her guests squeezed close, and inhaled her first cup. Fall had come softly to the small Colorado town of Aspen Hills. Cat loved the mild weather as well as the fallen leaves covering the yards and the sidewalks. Covington College had opened the last week of August for fall semester, so the town streets and shops were filled with college students.
The kitchen in the big house was warm and cozy, even though it was as large as some commercial kitchens. She'd started to think of the area as Shauna's domain, but they spent more time together here than anywhere else in the entire house. Especially during retreat weeks.
Cat watched as Shauna Marie Clodagh took a batch of brownies out of the oven. She had adapted well to Colorado life and had taken on the role of house mom when the writers were in session. That gave Cat the time to be the writer in residence, a role she didn't understand most days. But if Cat was being honest with herself, she loved running the Warm Springs Writers' Retreat almost as much as she loved writing novels. Well, almost.
The back door opened and Seth Howard wandered into the kitchen. Stripping off his jacket, he hung it up on the coatrack and went to the sink to wash. The guy looked like he worked with his hands (as he should), his broad shoulders and blond hair making her think of Thor. "Smells wonderful in here. I hope I can snag a brownie or two for the drive to Denver."
"If you feed Snow and the feline herd for me this morning, I think I can arrange that." Shauna got plates out of the cupboard and served a cheesy bacon skillet dish she'd been experimenting with all week. They'd gained a horse in the last few months along with a cat who just happened to be pregnant. Now, the barn was booming with life after sitting silent for years.
"Done and done." Seth crossed over to the table after grabbing a cup of coffee and leaned down to kiss Cat. "Good morning. I didn't know if I'd see you before heading off to the airport."
"It's not that late." Cat glanced at her watch. "Just because the two of you like to start your day at five doesn't mean everyone has to. Most creative types like to give our brain time to wake up. But you're right, I'm usually up earlier than this."
"Whatever makes you feel better, slug bug." He sat next to her and opened the paper. "I have to say, I like it when all the guests show up on one flight. What do these guys write again?"
"Cozy mysteries. They all are a part of a critique group out of the Midwest. Cincinnati, maybe?"
"I believe they're from Chicago." Shauna set plates in front of everyone. "I'm so excited to do the cooking class with them. It will give me a good indication of whether or not my recipes are ready to be included in the cookbook. I can't believe I'm putting together a book! I thought that dream would never happen."
"We still have to get you an agent and hopefully a publisher, but if no one snatches this up, we'll do it ourselves." Cat thought about the huge amount she and Shauna would have to learn to figure out the ins and outs of self-publishing, but if her friend wanted to publish a cookbook, she wasn't going to say it was too hard. Besides, it would be a great addition to the retreat.
"After we do this trial run, I'll have the proposal ready next week." Shauna smiled at her. "Get that scared look off your face. We're going to get picked up by a publisher, I can feel it."
"Your mouth to God's ears." Sometimes getting published was more about luck and determination than talent. However, Shauna had all three. Cat knew she wouldn't give up until she had the finished project in her hands. And if it was important to Shauna, Cat decided it was important to her too.
"So, cozy mysteries? What are those?" Seth had finished the paper and pushed it into the center of the table as he finished his breakfast.
"Low on gore, low on sex, high on fun." Cat laughed. "I thought about writing one before I started with Tori's book, but I got distracted. I think you'll like this group. I got an e-mail from one telling me how excited they all were to be coming."
"Well, like I said, having them all on one flight has made my life easy." Seth glanced over at Shauna, who was writing in her notebook, her breakfast forgotten. "You going to be ready to teach class tomorrow?"
"Teaching is kind of an overstatement. I'm going to cook and they'll help." Shauna held up her notebook. "I'm writing it all out today. That way when I'm cooking, I won't forget a step and ruin our final product. And, I'm sending them home with a folder that has all the recipes we'll do on Sunday."
"Sounds good." Cat focused on her breakfast. "If you're cooking this, they're going to be wowed."
"It's one of the recipes. I'm doing three savory and three sweet." She peered at her notes. "You think that's enough? I want them to feel like they got their money's worth since the extra day is costing them more."
"We'll be fine." Cat took the last bite of her breakfast, then, as she dropped her plate off in the sink, cut a brownie and sat it on a napkin. She filled up her coffee mug. "I'm heading upstairs to write. Let me know when you're back."
"That will work." Seth was on his phone now, probably checking the scores. Shauna was studying her lists. Cat shook her head.
"I could have said I was going to start a new career pole dancing and you two would have had the same reaction." Cat paused at the door to the hallway.
"Not really." Seth didn't even look at her. "If you'd said that, I would have definitely had a reaction. I'm not sure I want my girlfriend in that line of work."
"Well, let's hope the retreat keeps doing well so we don't have to cross that bridge." She smiled at him. "Drive safe."
"You got it."
She headed to the staircase and climbed the two flights to the third floor where she had her office. The third floor also had four bedrooms, one for her, one for Shauna, and two more rooms they used during retreat weeks. One was for Seth as he'd started staying over during the retreat just in case. The other was a guest room for out of town speakers. So far, they'd only utilized it once, but it was nice to have it available. Instead of turning right toward the bedrooms, she turned left to her turret office.
She'd teased her ex-husband, Michael, that the only reason she'd wanted the house was this room. It was over his study on the first floor and a row of rooms they hadn't remodeled on the second. Why they'd even considered buying the too large Victorian in the early years of their marriage had been a testament to the hope they'd felt. A life that never materialized as she divorced him and moved to California, unable to stay in the area. When he'd died, he'd left her the house. An act of kindness she still appreciated.
Opening the door, she found the office bathed in golden light. The room was windowed on three sides, and the other had wall-to-ceiling bookshelves that she'd filled with her favorite novels as well as her teaching library. She hadn't been a professor long, but she'd loved the idea of teaching a lot more than the practical side of the profession. She'd loved books, which led her to two career paths — teaching about books and being a librarian. Since then, she'd found a third path that she'd never thought would come true. She was a full-time author. And with the income from the retreat, she didn't have to think about working a day job. Of course, the money Michael had left her also helped her stay out of the job-seeking lines.
She opened her Word document and reread a couple of pages where she'd left off yesterday. She made a few minor changes, glanced at her outline, then fell into the world of Tori and the magical boarding school she'd been sent to once her powers started to manifest. Like Covington College in Cat's real life, Tori's high school was starting up football and the fall concert season. She hoped Tori would enjoy listening to the new bands she was being exposed to as much as Cat did. She shook her head. Tori wasn't real, but sometimes, it felt like she was, and that wasn't a bad feeling, not at all.
A knock pulled her out of the story and, when she glanced at the clock, she realized she'd been writing for almost four hours. Seth should be returning in less than an hour. And she was starving. She stood and crossed over to the door. "Sorry, I lost track of time. Do you need help getting everything ready?"
"Actually, I've made lunch and thought you might be hungry." Shauna walked over to the wall of windows and looked out over the back pasture where Snow, her horse, grazed in the field. "I still can't believe she's mine."
Shauna's now deceased boyfriend had done all right by her. He'd actually done all right by everyone. Kevin had left three sons. One boy he'd fathered young, then abandoned. The other two were twins he'd fathered with a one-night stand. He'd taken care of their mother in the will, and even his friend who'd been like a brother, and there wasn't any fighting for more money. Cat guessed when the money was enough, there weren't any hard feelings. Shauna was comfortably well off and had dividends in Shield Holdings, now that Kevin's will had been probated. But the most precious thing Kevin had left her was grazing in that pasture.
Cat moved over to stand by Shauna. "She's a great addition to the place. Well, she and the brood."
"We really need to think about what we're going to do with those kittens. I've got Angelica scheduled for her surgery next month. The vet wanted to wait until she was done nursing. They'll be ready for new homes in a couple of weeks." Shauna turned toward Cat. "Did you want to keep one or two more?"
Cat hadn't been raised with pets. Her mom had been adamant that she didn't need another mouth to feed. "I'd always really wanted a dog, but I'm falling in love with that little white one."
"Princess? She's a cutie. We can keep them all if you want. I'll pay the vet bills." Shauna smiled as Snow kicked up her heels in the pasture, then took off on a run. "I don't have anything else to spend my money on."
"You could travel." Cat settled on the couch leaning her head on her arm as she rested. "You don't have to stay in Colorado."
"Are you trying to get rid of me?" Shauna plopped into the other side of the couch. "I like my life here. When I don't, I'll let you know. But for right now, it's good. Maybe we should plan a trip for the two of us next month after the retreat. We could go back east and check out the historic sights. Or head back to California to catch some waves. Do you think Seth would watch the menagerie?"
"Let's talk about this next week when the retreat is over. I'd love a quick trip out of town. The timing's great. I'm between contracts right now so I don't have anything due." The book she was currently writing was the next in the series, but without a contract, she didn't know when or if it would be published.
"Are you worried?" As usual, Shauna got to the heart of the words Cat hadn't said.
She continued to watch the horse run circles in the pasture. Was she worried? Or was it the fact she didn't have control over what would happen next that was bugging her. "Alexa, you know my agent, says not to worry, that they'll come back for more books. It's just hard to be waiting on them to make a decision."
"Then it's settled. We'll take a trip and get you out of this funk. Besides, I need the distraction too. Getting out of town is the best thing we can do for both of us." Shauna patted her leg. "Come down stairs and let's eat. I want to run the retreat schedule by you. I've ordered pizza and salads for dinner tonight for all of us. And I set up movies in the living room, just in case they don't want to jump into writing after traveling all day."
"You're really good at this hostess thing." Cat followed Shauna out of her office after saving her work on the computer. Worries could wait until after the retreat. Right now, she had to morph into an author in residence and be a good hostess too. The only problem was Shauna was better at the role than she was.
They were sitting eating at the table when a series of hard raps came on the back door. Cat started to stand, but Shauna waved her down. "I'll get it."
When Shauna opened the door, a short, blond-haired woman pushed her way in. "You're not going to get away with this."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Shauna crossed her arms and glared at the woman.
"Oh, don't play that innocent act with me. It might have worked on Kevin, but I know what you're about. I know you're cooking my recipes and planning on putting them into a cookbook." The woman poked Shauna in the chest. "Just because you're pretty doesn't mean you can steal from people who are more talented than you in the kitchen."
"Give me a break, Dee Dee. I can bake circles around you." Shauna stepped forward and poked the woman in return. "I've been to that place you call a bakery and you don't have to worry about anyone stealing your recipes, because no one likes your food."
"That's not true." Dee Dee's voice went up a few octaves and she stepped closer to Shauna.
Cat decided she needed to move in between the women before someone threw the first punch. She needed Shauna here tomorrow for the cooking demonstration. It wouldn't be good if she wound up in jail on assault charges. She crossed the room and moved her body in between the two women. "Now, Dee Dee, calm down. You know Shauna wouldn't steal your recipes."
"That's not what I'm hearing." Dee Dee seethed. "It's all over town."
"Maybe you should check your sources before you come over to my kitchen and start causing trouble." Shauna tried to step forward, but Cat's hand on her stomach stopped her.
"Shauna, you should be more open to discussing this." When Shauna glared at Cat, she shrugged. "I think maybe you just identified the problem. Dee Dee, who told you about Shauna stealing your recipes?"
"Sure, you'd like it if I told you, then something bad could happen to the woman and I'd probably be to blame." Dee Dee stepped toward the door. "You just remember, you're on notice. If I find one recipe of mine in your rotation, I'm going to sue. Both of you."
Cat and Shauna watched as Dee Dee stormed out. Cat tried on a laugh for measure. "Well, that was interesting."
"The woman is crazy. She tried to sue the grocery store, saying they stole her bread recipe for the in-store bakery. But the store got it from their chain headquarters and proved that to her lawyer, so she had to back down." Shauna sank into her chair and glanced up at the cabinet where she kept the scotch whiskey. "The woman is a menace."
"Well, you haven't stolen any of her recipes, right?"
When Shauna didn't answer right away, Cat came to sit beside her. "Shauna? What's going on?"
"There's really only a few ways to make a scone. And maybe I had one there and then came home and tried to replicate it. Of course, mine's way better than what she serves in that shop of hers." Shauna tried a weak smile. "Isn't imitation the best form of flattery?"CHAPTER 2
Seth got back with the guests right before the pizza delivery from Reno's arrived, so as Shauna and Cat checked them in and handed each guest a key, Seth helped take the baggage up to their rooms. Bren Baker was the first to step up to the registration desk. Bren was an attractive woman with short black hair. She had a rock on her finger that must have run the buyer back a few bills. Cat handed her a registration card.
"I know you write cozy mysteries, but do you want to tell me what type?" Cat watched as the woman pulled a pen out of a very expensive purse or a very good knockoff.
"I'm the small-town queen of the group. My series is set in Texas, outside Dallas." She frowned at the markings, then, looking around to see who was watching, pulled out a pair of glasses.
"Uh oh, Bren's pulling out the cheaters. She's getting serious." The woman behind her laughed as Cat handed her a form to complete as well. "Bren hates to mar her beauty with glasses."
"Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses," Bren shot back at her friend. "You should know that, Colleen. I've tried to coach you on how to score your next husband enough times."
"Bren, the only men who are here are Rick and our driver, Seth." Colleen turned to Seth, who was bringing in the last load of luggage. "Seth, that's your name, right?"
"Yes, it's Seth. And no, I'm not on the market. My dance card has been taken away by that lovely lady who's giving out the registration cards." He slapped the other man, Rick, on the arm. "Thanks for helping with the luggage, man."
"No problem. I'm sure you have to carry a bunch all by yourself. It's not usual to find a male author at one of these, right?" Rick took the card Cat handed him and pulled a pen out of his shirt pocket.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Sconed To Death"
Copyright © 2019 Lynn Cahoon.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love this series. I enjoy the rich characters and the way Ms Cahoon interweaves the themes of love and family throughout the story. Always a satisfying read.
A cozy mystery about a group of cozy mystery writers! I've been looking for a new cozy mystery series and this one pulled me in with the back story. Once I started reading, I felt like I knew this group of characters! Lynn Cahoon obviously took the time to craft a community and the interesting people who live there. Then she threw all kinds of drama at them so we could enjoy the chase. Let's hope her other books are as good as this one since I now will be looking for them.
It’s hard not to want to be Cat Latimer. Who wouldn’t enjoy living in a small Colorado college town far enough from Denver to avoid the big city traffic but close enough for occasional trips for shopping and dining? Oh, to completely own a large Victorian house where you can write in a third floor turret and host periodic writers’ retreats! What satisfaction in sharing your business with your best friend who manages the household and cooks gourmet foods for you on a daily basis. She also feeds breakfast to the retreat guests while keeping the retreat stocked with drinks and homemade goodies. The only thing better would be to reconnect with your handsome, very nice, high school heartthrob who can landscape, perform handyman jobs, and chauffeur guests to the airport. Cat has it all! In this engaging mystery, Cat’s guests are a group of cozy mystery writers from Chicago. They thoroughly enjoy their week at the retreat with an additional day devoted to cooking lessons by resident chef Shauna who is also writing a cookbook. I think I gained ten pounds just reading about all the delicious cookies they consumed. The murder of a famous Denver chef is the central focus of Lynn Cahoon’s Sconed to Death. What is he even doing in little Aspen Hills and who would want to kill him? Despite Uncle Pete’s warning to stay out of the investigation, Cat finds herself asking questions and using her online research skills to assess motives and alibis. Look out for a dramatic surprise ending to this page turner that’s sure to appeal to mystery lovers and especially cozy aficionados. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Cat Latimer is hosting the next writers' retreat this time there is a group of cozy mystery writers in attendance. This time the writers are not involved in the trouble. The owner of a local eatery, Dee Dee, has been a pain the Cat and Shauna’s side. Shortly after Cat's visits Dee Dee asking for a truce, a body is found in Dee Dee’s eatery. Even though the murder is not connected to Cat or her retreat she can’t help but get involved in the investigation. This book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone mystery but the back story of characters can be better understood when reading the series in order. The characters are great and have grown so much over the series. My favorite would have to be Cat, she is an interesting and complexed character. I love the fact that this retreat the writers are from the cozy genre, my favorite genre. I really love the idea of the setting of the writers' retreat, while reading this series I wish I was a writer and could attend the retreat. The mystery has a great pace and several twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the big reveal. I voluntarily agreed to read a copy of this book supplied by Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own and in no way have been influenced.
It’s clear the author loves these characters & therefore they feel like dear friends to us too every we open the pages of a new book in the series. In Sconed to Death I feel like we get different aspects to each of these main characters (Cat, Shauna, Seth, Uncle Pete), giving them even more dimension than we’ve seen so far in the series. The mystery is, as always, well plotted and while I was right again in guessing whodunit I wasn’t completely sure this time. I felt like all the suspects were equally plausible, and I wouldn’t have been surprised at being wrong when the villain was finally revealed. This again kept my sleuthing radar at full attention during the entire read, and I felt at times like I was following close behind Cat & peeking over her shoulder as she put clues together. The nods & winks to the cozy mystery genre & its authors (thanks to the current group of retreaters) made this story even more delightful than it already was. This might be my favorite group of retreat-goers so far, simply because they collectively write in this genre so the scenes with them felt like an appreciation of cozy mysteries and the reasons we love them. Bottom Line: Sconed to Death will have you heading to the nearest source of delicious scones to eat while you read, as well as hunting down some yummy apples for snacking & baking & caramel apple waffles. (YUM! My mouth is watering again.) So yeah fair warning – don’t read this book hungry or you’ll be in trouble haha! Tensions are running high in several different areas in this mystery, and the well-crafted plot will keep you guessing at every turn. Based on the way this book ended, I’m even more looking forward to book #6 than I already was! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Sconed to Death is the fifth novel in A Cat Latimer Mystery series, but it can be read alone. The information a readers’ needs to know is incorporated into the story. Cat Latimer is a former English professor who inherited her ex-husband’s Victorian and turned it into a writer’s retreat. She offers retreats one week a month and spends the rest of the time writing her young adult series. Cat is fortunate to have Shauna and Seth working with her to make the retreats run smoothly for their literary guests. Cozy mystery writers from Chicago descend upon the Victorian for a week of writing, research, critiquing and workshops. When popular Denver chef, Greyson Finn turns up dead at the local bakery, Cat cannot help but look into the crime (despite being told by Uncle Pete and others to not investigate) especially when she learns Jessica Blair, an old friend, is a suspect. I liked that the writers in the retreat were cozy mystery writers. I enjoyed their plotting sessions, discussing reviewers and ratings (three stars is not bad rating), and their inventive book titles. The title session was particularly humorous. It is nice that there is a new batch of writer’s in each book with a variety of personalities and situations. The kittens were adorable and with the writers’ words, I could picture them scampering about getting into mischief. Shauna receives a large batch of apples and she comes up with some creative as well as delicious recipes for them. There were several viable suspects in Chef Finn’s death, red herring and good clues. Those of us who read a copious amount of cozy mysteries will not find this puzzle perplexing. I wish there had been some action in the book which would have helped the pacing. I also tired of Cat frequently being told to stay out of the investigation. My favorite phrase came from Miss Applebome who said to Cat, “Try not to get yourself killed. I’d hate to be the one to tell your uncle what you were doing.” Sconed to Death is a cozy readers delight with a dead chef, an inquisitive writer, appetizing apple creations, and impish tabbies.
Cat and Shauna once again have their hands full during the week of the writers retreat. This time it's a group of cozy mystery writers, my favorite. This retreat Shauna is also going to do cooking demos while she writes her cookbook during breaks. A famous local chef is found murdered in a local bakery and Cat and cozy writers are discussing clues throughout the retreat. Both Cat and Shauna are thrown for a loop when the inspector comes in unexpectedly to inspect the kitchen due to a complaint. I must say this is a great story full of suspects. I was constantly changing my mind as I read because there were new clues being uncovered. I always enjoy the relationships between Cat, Shauna, Seth and Uncle Pete. Often, I enjoy getting to know the retreaters as well. this time I loved the group of writers that came to the retreat. They had a great relationship full of laughs and I felt like I was meeting them and getting to know them at the same time as Cat, Shauna and Seth. It made me want to make plans to go right along with them next time.
Dollycas’s Thoughts A group of cozy mystery writers from Chicago arrives for the latest retreat at the Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort and they are excited about everything Cat and Shauna have planned. A cooking demonstration, a trip to the college library, a couple of lectures, some speed writing games, and plenty of time to write. Cat and Shauna get a little sidetracked when the health inspector shows up at the door in answer to a complaint. A complaint by Dee Dee Meyer, owner of the local bakery, all because she thinks Shauna is stealing her recipes. Really the woman is just out for attention. And attention is just what she gets when a body is found in her bakery. Why would celebrity chef Greyson Finn even be there? He has restaurants in Denver and is one of the city’s most eligible bachelors. He and Dee Dee? . . . No way! She wouldn’t kill him in HER bakery, would she? Cat’s uncle/the chief of police tells her to take care of her retreat and he will take care of HIS investigation. She just can’t do it though, especially when he shows up for dinner every night and the retreat authors are even throwing around their own theories about the crime. But can she catch the scone-cold killer or will she be the next one on their list? __________ This is my new favorite book in this series. I loved this group of cozy mystery writers! They were fun to read about because they had fun with each other and they care about each other. One author is dealing with a situation at home that has followed them to the retreat. The others try to be understanding and give the author some space but step in with advice when the time is right. They also welcome the retreater from the college with open arms. Mollie is a huge fan of Cat’s books so she was thrilled to be chosen to participate in this retreat. She was equally as thrilled about all the new author friends she quickly makes. The best thing was them hashing out puny titles for books and discussing fresh new ways to kill their victims. Fiction imitating real life, I am sure. The core characters Cat, Shauna, Seth, and Uncle Pete have all continued to grow. The subplots dealing with real-life issues mix in nicely with the main murder plot. Cat, Shauna, and Seth love hosting the retreats but are starting to feel the need for some time away from Aspen Hills. Shauna connects with her brother in New York and makes plans for a trip when this retreat ends. Cat and Seth are planning for a getaway when she returns. Uncle Pete’s is missing his Alaska girlfriend and he may be spending more time there in the future. I think Shauna had the most growth as she is getting so much better at handling the grief after the recent death of her boyfriend. Some furry felines make great listeners and cuddlers. That main mystery is very well-plotted. Cat tempers her curiosity better this time, making smarter decisions, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t put herself in harm’s way. There were several red herrings to twist things up. I had a great time following along with Cat as she did her sleuthing. With plenty of rumors about the chef, I understood both Uncle Pete’s and Cat’s difficulty pinning down the killer. I changed my mind a few times myself. Great characters and realistic dialogue made this book a joy to read. I was captivated from beginning to end. There is a Cranberry Scone recipe at the back of the book, but Shauna deals with several bushels of apples throughout the entire book. By the time I turned the last pa
I love visiting the Warm Springs Writers' Retreat hosted by Cat Latimer. For a small town, it seems there are a lot of murders that she gets involved with. This time around, she didn't know the victim, but she used to be best friends with his sister-in-law. One of the things I like about this series is the actual retreats and meeting new characters in each story. This time around, the guests were a group of cozy mystery writers. I found that fun, and listening to them talking about the writing process and trying to come up with titles for one of the members of the group was a hoot. When Cat is asked to head to the local bakery to talk to Dee Dee, the owner about harassing Shauna it ended up backfiring. The next day, she is being questioned about the murder of a man in the bakery. Fortunately, this time she did not find the victim, nor know him. What she does do is start investigating and find out that there were many people that might have wanted him dead. This was a fun story. Cat is a great protagonist. She is a caring person who often goes the extra mile to help people. This and her natural curiosity has her sneaking around behind her Uncle Pete's back while he, being the Chief of Police, is trying to investigate properly. I was pretty sure who the killer was and as it turned out, I was right, but that did not stop me from enjoying the story and loving the final takedown. Shauna and Seth, Cat's partners and team in running the retreat, are great characters as well. Shauna has her own storyline writing a cookbook, offering cooking classes and heading off to New York to meet up with her estranged brother. I hope we learn more about that in the next book. Seth is a great love interest for Cat. They work together, do some investigating together and are really good for one another. Overall, I enjoyed the stories about the characters as well as the mystery. This is another great addition to the Cat Latimer Mystery series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
I enjoy this series more with each book. Cat and Shauna make hospitality look effortless as they bring in a new set of authors for a writer’s retreat. A group of cozy mystery authors – yay! I love getting ideas for meals and entertaining as well as a good mystery. Another great book in this fantastic series.
Great story and an excellent idea for a vacation for potential authors! Makes me want to take a writing class and follow up with a writers retreat, but only if the owners are providing the kind of food and service that Cat and Shauna did in this story. I came to this party late so to speak so I was not familiar with the back story on either Cat or Shauna but was able to catch on fairly quickly. The relationship between Cat and her Uncle Pete the police officer was perfect. You just can't stop these main characters from doing what they feel they must to solve a puzzle. There were also some pearls of wisdom about over bearing significant others and speaking up for yourself as well as how many different ways a person can cook an apple. I REALLY would like access to the recipes that Shauna was using. I had an inkling of an idea as to who did it but wasn't sure until the reveal. Excellent read as usual and thank you to NetGalley for providing me this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.
This was my first Cat Latimer mystery , and I found I could read as a stand-alone no problem. I'm a fan of Lynn Cahoon books and this series is no exception. As soon as I finished I purchased the rest of the series. It's filled with wonderful characters, I especially enjoyed the friendship between Cat and Shauna as well as with her uncle Pete. The characters were well developed and I liked the pretext/setting of a writers retreat. The plot was well developed full of twists and turns, few red herrings couldn't put it down. I did think I knew whodunit but then second guessed myself but I kept returning to my original suspect. This in no way took away from the mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend go all my cozy loving friends. I requested and received a Advanced Readers Copy from Kensington and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A series that gets better and better with each book. I adore the characters and their relationships with each other. Cat and Shauna make the best team. Each group of writers who attend their once monthly retreat and writing business sessions is different and brings something special to the series. This time the group is an actual writing group from Chicago. People who know each other well, or so it seems, and are there to support each other as they work on individual projects. Relationships, real and imaginary, or fictional, play major roles in this plotline. Food is another major theme, as Shauna has also caught a bit of publishing fever. She is working on a cookbook. A local baker is unhappy with her, convinced Shauna is poaching her recipes. This brings on the topic of how authors are inspired and from where their content comes. Cat's uncle is the local police chief. He is a regular figure at her house, including during retreat weeks. This is a good thing, as otherwise people may wonder why he is spending so much time there when a murder is the main topic of gossip and conversation around town. Cat truly tries to restrain her curiosity and not get caught in the crossfire, even when her boyfriend's name appears on the suspect list. This is asking more than she can promise. Trouble continues to come directly to The Warm Springs Writer's Retreat. Delicious food and cute kittens round out this great book.
I’m not a writer, but if I was, I would want to attend one of Cat’s writers retreats and stay at her bed and breakfast (and sample all of Shauna’s cooking too!) - despite the murders and deaths that seem to occur! This writers retreat starts out like most of the others - fairly uneventful as Cat gets to know her guests. Bren’s controlling finance seems to be the oddest thing about this group of friends. But another local baker seems to have it out for Shauna and Cat. Dee Dee storms into the kitchen at the bed and breakfast accusing Shauna of stealing her recipes for the cookbook Shauna is working on. And an unexpected visit from the health inspector after complaints have been made also seems to be the work of the local baker. But when someone ends up dead in the kitchen of the local bakery not long after Cat has paid Dee Dee a visit, things start to heat up for Cat. Cat’s Uncle Pete, the local sheriff, is investigating the death. And Cat just can’t stay out of it. There are too many unanswered questions. And when Cat finds out that an old teacher friend is not only related to the victim (and could possibly have a motive to kill him), but has made claims to her students that she helped Cat write her first book, things really get interesting. Could Dee Dee have a motive too? The grumpy bakery owner has been struggling and the victim, her landlord, was preparing to evict her. But the victim seems to have a long list of people who may have wanted him dead! I received a free digital edition from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
a well plotted character driven mystery SCONED TO DEATH by Lynn Cahoon The Fifth Cat Latimer Mystery Local baker Dee Dee Meyer decides to make life difficult for the writer's retreat calling in supposed health violations after threatening Shauna and accusing her of stealing her scone recipe. But Dee Dee has troubles of her own when a famous chef from Denver is found murdered in her bakery. While Cat hosts a group of cozy mystery writers from Chicago she quietly starts to look into the life of the recently killed chef. What was he doing in Aspen Hills? Who wanted him dead? The girlfriend he recently left? His sister-in-law, a former friend of Cat's who rumor has it was sleeping with him? Cat quietly tries to put the puzzle together as she runs her latest retreat, helping her guests with more than just writers' tips. Jealousy plays a major role in the fifth Cat Latimer Mystery. Jealousy finds its way out of hurt, control, revenge, and low self esteem by various characters, some not even seen on the page. While jealousy may be the motivating emotion here, it's be no means the only one. It's the realistic depiction of emotions that makes SCONED TO DEATH so moving. I love the fact that Cat gets angry and that she broadcasts it, even when trying, at times, to be discreet! We get to see Shauna slowly coming to terms with her grief. Life is good, but certainly not perfect for these women and the book is not afraid to show it. I was absolutely loving this book, until I came across a major pet peeve. In an exciting penultimate scene the killer's eyes are described as being "bright with madness". I wish that authors would remember that killing people does not make a person insane. There may have been some delusional behavior with this particular killer, but there's enough of a stigma with mental illness without adding to it by having madness in the murderer's eyes. SCONED TO DEATH is a well plotted character driven mystery. Interesting subplots enhance the story along with a subtle message about domestic violence. You are not alone and there is help. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
This is a nice cozy mystery but for me the strength was in the interesting side stories. I enjoyed the characters in the Warm Springs Writers' Retreat and am curious to see what happens next between Cat and her former friend now perhaps frienemy Jessica. I had no trouble following the story even though I have not read the other books in the series but I look forward to catching up. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.
Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon is the fifth book in the Cat Larimer Series. This is one of my favorite series and am ready to go to Aspen Hills on a retreat! Even though it is the fifth book, it can be read as a stand alone. Another retreat and another murder and Cat is investigating much to the dismay of her Uncle Pete, the police chief. As always, Cahoon gives you plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end. You also have a great setting and a cast of realistic, likeable characters. You have romance and true friendships. You will not want to put it down. I was given an ARC by NetGalley and Kensington Books for an honest review.
A famous chef is found dead in a bakery...who could have done it? Was it the girlfriend who may have been on her way out? Or the sister-in-law everyone was sure was having an affair with the deceased? What about the bakery ownerwho found the body in her bakery? And don't forget the folks in town that owed money to the chef. Chief Edmond has his work cut out for him. He has lots of suspects but not nearly enough clues to go on. Cat, his niece, a writer and amateur sleuth, promises to stay out of his investigation....but she just can't help herself. Will she be able to get to the bottom of things before someone else is hurt, or worse? This was an interesting and enjoyable book with fun characters and a mystery that kept me guessing to the end. It may have been my first Cat Latimer cozy mystery but it won't be my last. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kensington, via NetGalley. My thoughts and opinions are my own and without bias.
Murder at the Bakery This fun cozy mystery occurs in a small Colorado town. This is part of the Cat Latimer series. Our heroine holds week-long writer retreats that seem to keep having murders occur during that week. This story has a good plot and lots of suspects with decent motives. The characters are all very realistic with real problems and emotions. This series is great because the clues and criminals seem less contrived and real thought is put into the plot. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon is a great addition to Ms. Cahoon's Cat Latimer series. I sat down one afternoon and was riveted from the first page till I reached the end. Ms. Cahoon writes a plot that quickly moves the reader through each twist and turn as Cat attempts to run her latest writers' retreat and stay out of her uncle's current murder investigation. The group at this retreat is cozy mystery writers and you could tell from their camaraderie that they are all friends as well as critique partners. Cat, Shauna, Seth and Uncle Pete are well developed now and I feel like I'm visiting old friends when I open a new Cat Latimer book. I definitely recommend this book to any readers who enjoy a cozy mystery. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
I received a free copy of SCONED TO DEATH (Book 5 of the Cat Latimer Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Cat Latimer is excited to host a writers’ retreat for a group of cozy mystery authors. It seems like there is always some sort of problem, though. A local baker, Dee Dee Meyer, has declared war on Cat’s business partner Shauna. Dee Dee has accused Shauna of stealing her recipes and has even called in an anonymous complaint to the board of health. When Cat approaches Dee Dee at the bakery and tries to make peace, Cat ends up being questioned about the murder of a famous chef, who was discovered in that same bakery later on in the afternoon. The police are stymied. Cat reconnects with old friends related to the chef, discovers they are guilty of some shady behavior, and ends up investigating the murder to clear them from suspicion for the sake of their old friendship. I like the book and love the series. Since all of the characters seem to be in transition, I’m excited to see where they end up in the next book. I recommend the book to fans of cozy mysteries with writing or bed and breakfast themes, fans of Lynn Cahoon, and fans of the series. #SconedToDeath #NetGalley
This is a delightful entry in an equally delightful series! You have some charming, likeable characters, some not so likeable characters, a mystery that isn't too obvious to keep the story interesting, a smattering of regular, every-day goings-on, and a fun group of visiting writers that all combine to make this a really enjoyable book to read. I found myself guessing and second guessing myself all the way 'til the end, which kept me reading much longer than I should have been. There's even a tasty scone recipe at the end. I highly recommend Sconed to Death, along with the rest of the series and Lynn Cahoon's other series! I received an advance copy of this book. The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
It would be fun to attend a writers' retreat at Cat Latimer's home for food, fun and friendship. Her Warm Springs Writers' Retreat is set in her lovely old Victorian home in Aspen Hills, Colorado, with tons of great food for breakfast and snacks in a great setting with a local college campus and library to use for research. Her friend, Shauna, is the great cook, housekeeper and manager and her boyfriend, Seth, is always around the week of the retreat to carpool guests to and from the airport, do handyman tasks and be a designated driver on the final night out for dinner. Uncle Pete is the local police chief and tries to keep Cat out of trouble but is not always successful. This week a well known chef is found dead in the local bakery and unwittingly (sort of?), Cat, is drawn into the investigation. The bakery owner, Dee Dee, has it out for Shauna, claiming she stole her recipes. Dee Dee says she has an alibi for the time of the murder. An old friend of Cat's and sister-in-law of the victim is accused of the crime. Apparently, the chef had a few enemies, however, so Cat has sleuthing to do. This is another fun retreat week with a great group of aspiring authors who Cat and crew enjoying getting to know. It wouldn't be retreat week without a murder to solve. I received a complimentary ARC from Kensington Books through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine only.