Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.
If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .
Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .
About the Author
Emily Durante has been narrating audiobooks for over ten years and is also an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook director. She has been acting since the age of seven and has performed in a number of stage productions at the professional, collegiate, and regional levels.
Read an Excerpt
Tom stopped coating hot apple fritters in that tantalizing mixture of cinnamon and sugar. He stared over the half wall separating Deputy Donut's kitchen from our dining area. "One of our regulars is missing."
Naturally, Tom noticed when folks didn't show up for their usual coffee break. Before his stint as Fallingbrook's police chief, he'd been a detective.
"Once a cop, always a cop," I teased.
"You got it, Emily. I might have retired from the force, but ..." He pointed at his hat. "I'm still the chief and I've got the fuzz hat to prove it."
Tom's Deputy Donut hat was a pretend police cap with a fuzzy donut glued on where the badge would be. The rakish way the hat tilted on Tom's short gray hair echoed the tilt of the police hat on the cat silhouette printed on our dishes and embroidered on our aprons. "Not necessarily." I raised my eyes as if I could see the top of my head and my own Deputy Donut hat, identical to Tom's. "Here, we're both chief." In addition to our hats and aprons, we both wore black jeans and white shirts. "Who's missing?"
I stopped smiling. I liked Georgia. A lot. "That's strange." The knitters who called themselves the Knitpickers were backlit by morning sunshine slanting in through the front windows, and I couldn't make out features. "Don't I see six women at their table?"
"Not Georgia." The fryer beeped. Tom lifted another basket of fritters out of hot oil. "I see another white-haired woman who resembles her, but she's even smaller than Georgia."
"I'll go check." I carried a carafe of our house blend, a medium roast Colombian, past our glass-fronted display case and the marble counter where patrons sat on stools. The aroma of the coffee almost let me forget the mouthwatering cinnamon behind me in the kitchen.
Greeting other customers in our dining room and topping up coffee mugs, I made my way to the Knitpickers' usual table, one of the two large ones closest to Wisconsin Street. Tom was right. A tiny woman with a dandelion fluff of white hair sat facing the street. Tom had been able to tell from her back that the woman wasn't Georgia.
A twinkle in her light blue eyes, the new woman smiled up at me. "You must be Emily. Georgia told me about you. I recognize the dark curls, bright blue eyes, and friendly smile. I'm Lois Unterlaw. Georgia will tell you I'm her oldest friend, but that can't be true." She winked. "I'm not all that ancient. I'm the friend she's known the longest." Despite the white hair, she was youthful in her white jeans and flowing periwinkle top. "I just moved back to Fallingbrook from Madison, and she told me to meet her here this morning." She held up a handmade quilted tote, pieced together from cheerful prints in fuchsia, turquoise, and yellow. Knobby ends of knitting needles stuck out of the top. "I brought my knitting. She said I'd fit right in with the Knitpickers."
I shook her hand. "Welcome back to Fallingbrook, and welcome to Deputy Donut." Her hand was barely bigger than a child's. The strength of her grip startled me.
The knitters all began talking at once.
"Where is Georgia?"
"She never misses one of our morning Knitpicker meetings!"
"She's never, ever late."
"It's Monday. Maybe she went off for the weekend and was delayed getting home."
"Taking time off from mending dolls at her own doll hospital is one thing, but taking time off from us?"
"If she had a trip planned, she would have told us on Friday, wouldn't she?"
"Maybe she slept in."
One of the knitters pointed at me and told Lois, "Emily's the brains behind Deputy Donut."
"Actually, I'm not," I said. "Blame the Fallingbrook police department. They'll tell you that cops eating donuts is a stereotype, but most of them agree that they drink a lot of coffee, and the officers here in Fallingbrook really like my donuts. They made me open the shop so they could buy them every day." One of the four policemen at the next table let out a particularly hearty and contagious laugh. I flashed him a smile.
Lois tilted her head. "What did you do, Emily, drop out of junior high to open this shop?"
"No, but thanks." I lowered one eyebrow in fake skepticism. "I think." I was almost twenty-nine, but saying it would probably make me sound as juvenile as I apparently looked.
"What's your secret to staying so slim, Emily?" Lois was smaller than I was.
I quipped, "Lots of coffee and donuts."
She folded her arms. "I doubt that. You brought your apron strings all the way around to the front and tied them in a bow, with lots left over!"
"The secret to that is long apron strings." And an unspoken competition with Tom, who worked at staying fit and tied his apron strings in front also, but only in a square knot without excess strings dangling, which was just as well, since he was usually the one operating the fryers.
"Wait until you try the donuts here," another knitter warned Lois. "They're addictive."
"How can you eat donuts and knit?" Lois demanded. "Don't your yarn and needles get all sticky?"
One of the knitters made a pretend huffy face. "Give us credit for a little couth." She cocked her head toward a wall covered in artwork. "The ladies' room is just behind that wall, and it's very nice. We knit, then eat, then wash our hands, and then knit some more."
Lois held both thumbs up. "Georgia's right. I'll fit in for more than just knitting."
The knitters gave one another high fives, a tricky maneuver considering that some of them didn't let go of their knitting. "Welcome to the Knitpickers," they said to Lois.
She studied the wall between the dining room and the hall leading to the restrooms. "You have lovely paintings, sculptures, and wall-hangings, Emily," she said. "And your peach-tinted walls are a perfect background for the artwork."
One of the knitters sat up straighter. "The artists and craftspeople are all local."
Another chimed in, "People can buy what's displayed here through Emily and Tom."
"Tom?" Lois turned in her chair. Tom and his whimsical Deputy Donut hat were visible over the half wall. "Is that Chief Westhill?"
"Yes," I said. "He retired from the police. The two of us own Deputy Donut."
The original five Knitpickers watched me, obviously curious about what else I might say about Tom.
I raised my chin. "He's my father-in-law."
"I remember him," Lois said. "Nice guy."
The rest of us agreed.
A Knitpicker told Lois, "Emily and Tom don't charge commissions on the art in here."
Lois stared admiringly toward a spray of beech leaves sculpted from brass. "That's lovely."
"We get beautiful decorations — for free." I made a sad face. "But people keep buying my favorite pieces and I have to replace them." I opened my eyes as if surprised. "With new favorites!" Lois ran a finger along the edge of the table. Our tabletops had been made from giant slices of tree, coated with a silky, waterproof finish. "I'll bet your customers like to count the rings to see how old the trees were," she said.
"They do. And they write down the results in the guest book there by the door."
Lois asked, "Do their results vary a lot, Emily?"
"None of our customers could possibly be wrong."
All six women laughed.
Lois patted the arms of her chair. "What a charming and welcoming coffee shop. Even the chairs are comfy." She picked up the handmade copper vase from the center of the table and held it near her face. "I love the scent of chrysanthemums. And these burgundy mums go perfectly with the copper. Are the vases for sale, also?"
"Not from me," I answered, "but the guy who makes them sells them at The Craft Croft, the artisans' co-op down the street."
Lois clapped her hands. "I'll have to get Georgia to take me there. Where can she be? I meant to call her this weekend, but I was unpacking and putting things away in my new house, and she had a big order of dolls to repair."
I suggested, "Maybe our lot's full and she's searching for a parking space." Labor Day was only seven days away. The last week of a perfect summer had brought many tourists to northern Wisconsin. Almost every seat in Deputy Donut was occupied, while out on Wisconsin Street, smiling people were window-shopping and browsing through Fallingbrook's many appealing shops.
"What would you folks like this morning?" I asked. "Tom just made a batch of cinnamon and sugar apple fritters. They're still hot."
All six women ordered them. One woman wanted a cappuccino with cinnamon sprinkled on top, and Lois asked me to make her one like it. As usual, two of the women wanted to share a pot of green tea. One woman asked for decaf Colombian, and the other wanted the day's featured coffee, a dark roast Nicaraguan.
I returned to the kitchen, plated the fritters, steamed the milk to a soft foam for Lois and the other woman, pulled shots of espresso, and combined the steamed milk and espresso in small cups printed with the Deputy Donut logo. Even though the smell of the cinnamon was tempting me to make a cappuccino for myself, I was glad they'd ordered it. Sprinkling it on their cappuccinos made me feel less guilty about not yet having mastered drawing cat eyes, noses, and whiskers in the foamed milk. Usually, I could manage the semblance of a donut. If it turned out lopsided with no hole in it, I could claim I'd intended to draw a fritter.
Georgia still hadn't arrived when I delivered the last of the fritters and beverages to the Knitpickers. The woman who'd said that Georgia was never late repeated it. I heard anxiety in her voice.
Lois tapped her phone's screen. After a few seconds, she reported, "Georgia's not answering. Maybe she's on her way. Or taking a load of mended dolls to the post office."
The woman with the doleful voice pointed out, "She usually does that in the afternoon."
We told one another that Georgia would be along any minute, probably with an amusing tale about what had delayed her.
Many of our customers asked for fritters or cinnamon-flavored donuts. Chocolate was also popular that morning. I served unraised chocolate donuts drizzled with chocolate glaze, raised donuts with vanilla frosting and chocolate sprinkles, and ganache-filled donuts. Although I had tasted each kind, I wanted to sample them all again. I was a firm believer in what I liked to think of as quality control.
However, I didn't need to perform much quality control. Regular customers and new visitors were generous with their praise. One woman had driven from Pennsylvania to take pictures of the tall and beautiful waterfall that gave Fallingbrook its name. She cradled her ironstone mug between her palms. "Your donut shop warms my heart as well as my hands." She nodded at the hatted-cat silhouette on her mug and then smiled at the expanse of glass between the dining room and our office. "And I love the cat."
A real cat, my black, cream, and ginger tortoiseshell tabby fur baby, was in the office, sitting on the windowsill with her tail curled around her feet. Blinking sleepily, she peered through the glass at the people in the dining room. Tom and I had named Deputy Donut after her. To avoid confusion, I usually shortened the cat's name to Dep.
During a lull in cooking, coffee making, quality control, and swapping jokes and stories with customers, I opened the door from the dining room and slipped into the office. Dep's domain had windows on all four sides and a back door so I could whisk her into and out of the office without allowing her inside the dining room or kitchen. We didn't break health regulations, and my cat had the privilege of being both mascot and office manager. Besides, I'd miss her if I left her at home.
She was napping on the couch. She opened her eyes, stretched, hopped to the top of the short, cookbook-filled bookcase, and from there to the cushioned windowsill facing the kitchen. Switching her tail back and forth, she peered in at Tom. He smiled and waved. Dep purred.
The office had been chilly when we'd arrived at six thirty, but now it was toasty enough for my heat-craving cat, and I flicked off the gas fireplace between the windows overlooking the driveway. Dep jumped down to the ottoman, and then up to the windowsill behind the couch, where she could again watch the dining room. She settled down with her front paws tucked underneath her. If she tired of supervising the dining room, kitchen, driveway, and parking lot from her padded windowsills, she could rediscover her basket of toys or climb a carpeted pillar or her cat-width staircase to a multilevel catwalk circling the room above the windows. She had plenty of food, water, and a clean litter tray.
Planting one knee in the couch, I leaned forward and buried my face in her soft fur. She revved up the purrs. "I'll be back soon," I told her, and let myself into the dining room.
Shortly before noon, the Knitpickers packed up. I held the front door open for them and their crafty totes and handwoven baskets.
Lois frowned at me. "Georgia's still not answering her phone."
"She'll be fine." I hoped I was right. "See you tomorrow!"
I saw them sooner than that.
At five thirty, right after Tom left for the day, I was about to leash Dep and walk her home when a dark blue minivan pulled into the parking lot behind the shop. Lois hopped out. Leaving Dep in the office, I went outside to see why Lois had come back after we closed.
She held up a key. "This is for Georgia's house. She's still not answering her phone. We're going to check on her. Want to come along?"
Dep would be fine in the office with her food, water, litter tray, catwalks, and toys. "Sure." I would have been happier if Lois had come to tell me that Georgia had been at home all day, concentrating on repairing dolls and making tiny outfits for them.
I locked the office door and walked to the van with Lois. The other five Knitpickers were already inside. I crawled into the very back seat with two of them. Keeping my eyes open for Tom's SUV, I pulled my phone out of my bag, and then put it back. I'd have liked Tom to join us at Georgia's, but although he still thought like a detective and a police chief, he had the right to a pleasant evening with my mother-in-law. I could call one of my best friends, a police officer, but that was silly, too. Georgia would be fine. I was thinking it, and the other women were saying it.
About ten minutes after we left Fallingbrook's center, Lois pulled onto a road just inside the town limits. Homes in this subdivision were newer than those close to downtown, but old enough to radiate character. They were set back from the street on large lots surrounded by shrubs and flower gardens, with woods behind them. Tall trees had already dropped a few red and gold leaves on green lawns. Mailboxes near the road and a lack of sidewalks gave the neighborhood a rural atmosphere. It was homey, quiet, and a little isolated.
Lois slowed near a one-story baby blue house with white shutters. On a white sign on the lawn, navy blue lettering spelled out DOLL HOSPITAL. "There's Georgia's house." Lois craned her neck to see around a crimson bush beside a lamppost. "Oh no! Georgia hasn't gone anywhere. Her car's in her driveway." A compact silver sedan was parked in front of the closed garage door.
I suggested, "Maybe she took a taxi to the bus station."
One of my seatmates said, "Maybe someone picked her up. A friend or relative?"
Lois parked behind the silver car, and we all piled out.
No wonder Georgia often bought boxes of donuts to take home. Her front porch was a welcoming outdoor room where friends and neighbors could relax, chat, and enjoy snacks. Underneath its sheltering roof, the deep porch ran the entire width of Georgia's house. Yellow and bronze mums bloomed in white window boxes on the railing. Although the cushioned porch swing and rocking chairs were inviting, we all stood in a bunch at the door.
Lois pushed a button. Stately chimes rang inside the house. Shuffling our feet and fidgeting, we waited. Lois tried the doorbell three more times. Finally, she retrieved Georgia's key from the pocket of her white jeans. "Do you all agree we should go in?"
One of the women asked me, "You used to be a 911 operator, right, Emily?"
"For a couple of years, yes."
"Should we call 911?"
"Probably not." Unless we discover a reason to ...
The key turned, and Lois pushed the door open. "Georgia? Yoo-hoo! Georgia!" Her voice was surprisingly forceful for such a tiny woman.
Excerpted from "Survival of the Fritters"
Copyright © 2018 Janet Bolin.
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
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Kept me guessing.
Former 911 operator Emily Westhill is now a widow and she and her father-in-law, Tom, own and operate Deputy Donut in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. She enjoys her job, and the people she serves every day. One group of loyal customers are the Knitpickers, who come in every day to knit, chat and enjoy the donuts. But one day Georgia, a member of their group, doesn't show up. Later in the day the knitters ask Emily to go with them to search for Georgia, and they find her dead in her home. Georgia's death happens five years after the murder of her son. It's obvious that Georgia has been murdered, too, and when other strange things happen, Emily works to get to the bottom of things. Complete with Deputy Donut, a cat who travels between home and the donut shop, this book is a perfectly crafted cozy mystery. There is a chance for romance, murder and interesting characters that are well drawn. I think Emily is the perfect cozy heroine. She is strong, and has fought her way back after losing her husband. She is caring and the way she interacted with the Knitpickers was perfect. I particularly liked her interactions with Lois and the way she cared about the elderly woman. There was a nice twist in this book that made me doubt my solution to the mystery, which was well drawn and kept me guessing. For me that is always a plus. I always like it when I don't guess the murderer until the end of the book. For me, the success of a book is whether or not I am looking forward to the next one in the series. When I was done with this one I looked up the title of the next one--Goodbye Cruller World--and when it comes out--August 28. Grab a donut and dive into this book. It will leave you looking forward to the next book, like it did me.
A cleverly written mystery with donuts being an added treat. It definitely made me crave a delicious homemade donut from my local shop. This new series is a lighter take on crime solving. Many of the characters in the book are related to the police force but you do not have to be an officer of the law to relate to Emily, the main character of the book. She is a likeable, down to earth character with a cat for a sidekick, that does not force herself into solving crimes or push her opinions on others. Unfortunately for her and the murderer, she is often in the wrong place at the right time. In this first book, Ginger Bolton develops with detail the town of Fallingbrook, Wisconsin and the characters that will quickly become your favorites. By developing the key characters and the town she sets the stage for future books in the series. She was able to create a twist that kept the reader in suspense until the very end. It was a fun, quick read and I am looking forward to the next book and finding out what is in store for Emily. I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I loved Deputy Donuts, both the donut shop and the cat it was named after. I like the atmosphere there, that it's where all of the cops take their breaks, and how they have a new flavor of donut each day. Fallingbrook sounds like a quaint town and very walkable, as Emily is able to walk to work with Dep each day. I enjoyed Emily and the other characters and the mystery kept me guessing. I was surprised by the ending which is always good. I'm looking forward to reading other books in this series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Former 911 operator Emily Westhill has opened a successful donut shop with her father in law and former police chief Tom. Deputy Donuts caters to all of the locals, including many of the cops in this small Wisconsin town that the two used to work beside. Deputy Donut has a loyal customer base, and when one of the Knitpickers, Georgia goes missing, Emily helps the ladies look for her. When they discover her body, the small town is rocked by another murder. Five years earlier, Georgia' s son had been murdered. With the help of her new neighbor and new Knitpicker Lois, Emily hopes to uncover what happened. I think this series is off to a good start. There were a lot of suspects floated through the story. Some of the characters could still use some more rounding out, but hopefully by the next book, we will get a better feel for who will be the main set of recurring characters.
I enjoyed this first book in a new series. Emily owns a Donut Shop in small town Wisconsin with her Father In Law, the retired Police chief. Unlike many cozies there are a lot of police present in this book. Emily is a police widow whose husband was killed in the line of duty, the Donut Shop caters to Police and Emily has many friends still on the force. When a member of a local knitting group fails to join the group at the Donut shop she joins them to see if she is alright. Instead they stumble across her body. When her new neighbor is also attacked she sets out to try and solve the murder. The mystery was very good with lots of suspects and the solution was a surprise and it did make sense. I liked the small town setting and the characters were fun and interesting. The author includes Donut recipes in the back. Enjoy
What a great start to a promising series. I love little towns and reading about the people who live there. Emily is the perfect character for this series. She is sweet and loves being part owner of Deputy Donut. I just love that name for a shop. It sounds inviting and oh my the smells of delicious coffee brewing would drive anyone to her shop. She offers the most tantalizing donuts around and her regular customers are an assortment of fun characters. I loved being introduced to the Knitpickers. What a wonderful assortment of older women who brighten the shop each day they are there. When one of the members doesn’t show up for their morning get together, the group becomes concerned. Georgia is always punctual and her tardiness is very suspicious. The author does a great job of leading us up to the murder with little clues that are hidden cleverly in hints throughout conversations. I was saddened by who was found dead because I wanted to get to know her better, She sounded so nice and fun to be around. The author takes us on an adventure where suspects seem to come out of the woodwork. I kept thinking I knew who it was, but the author does a great job of adding details that make me start suspecting others. I liked the underlying story of Emily and Brent. This relationship has some history that is tragic and keeps them at arms length. I’m cheering for them to reconcile and deal with the past, but will it happen? The story is well written and I didn’t want it to end. It’s a great adventure and I loved the twists that the author throws in to keep readers on the edge of their seat. Don’t miss this first in a series that is action packed. The author has included recipes at the end of the book that you don’t want to miss. I received a copy of this book from The Goodreads Giveaway Program. The review is my own opinion.
Very enjoyable. :-)
Survival of the Fritters is the first book in the Deputy Donut Mystery Series. Emily is a widow whose police officer husband was killed on the job. She owns and operates a donut shop in Fallingbrook Wisconsin with her father-in-law, a retired police chief. The shop is named after her cat, Deputy Donut (Dep). Emily is a former 911 operator, who quit her job after her husband died. This small town has its own group of knitters, that meet up every weekday morning at the shop. When one of them fails to show up at Deputy Donuts one Monday, Emily and the members of the group become concerned. When they head over to her house and find her dead on the kitchen floor, Emily and her new neighbor, Lois, get involved in the case. As well, the woman's son was murdered 5 years earlier. Could their deaths be related? I enjoyed the mystery and the small town atmosphere. I was a bit disappointed in the character development in the book. As this is the first in the series, I am hoping that the characters will become more developed and therefore, more relatable. Emily is a good protagonist. With her background as a 911 operator and the fact that she was married to a police detective, she has some good skills to investigate. We really did not get to know Tom, her father-in-law, at all. I hope we learn more about him and his relationship to Emily and his family. There are a lot of other characters that are interesting and as we get to know them, can make this small town come alive for the reader. There are some interesting recipes at the back of the book that look easy and rather delicious. The plot was interesting and at first thinking that these deaths could be related with five years between them seemed rather unbelievable, but the author did a great job pulling this off with an interesting twist. I did not figure out who the murderer was until just before the author revealed it, which always makes for a good ending. I recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers, especially those who enjoy culinary mysteries with recipes. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
I enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting. I enjoyed Emily, Brent, Lois, Tom and the rest. They're well-developed and well-written. The plot line was good. There were enough red herrings to keep me guessing as to who the villain was. I didn't put it together before it was revealed. It was very well done. I'm definitely looking forward to more in the series!
An entertaining debut featuring a great cast of central characters. Protagonist, Emily, opened the Deputy Donut Shop with her father-in-law after the death of her husband, Alec, a police detective. She has a clever, protective cat, ‘Dep’ who the shop is named after. When an elderly customer who is a knitter and a doll doctor doesn’t show up for a Knitpicker meeting at the shop, Em joins the other ladies in the group to go to her home and check on her. They find her murdered. Em, and her husband’s ex-partner, Brent; work closely with Lois, Georgia’s best friend; and some of Emily’s law enforcement contacts to establish a timeline of events before and after Georgia’s death. They must also figure out how her death could be related to the unsolved mystery of her son’s murder five years ago. The story pacing is fast; the Wisconsin location is charming; there are red herrings galore; dry humor; and I didn’t realize the identity of the culprit until the protagonist put two and two together herself. I’m looking forward to reading book two.
SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS By Ginger Bolton SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS is the first book in the A Deputy Donut Mystery series. Emily Westhill, former 911 operator, and her father-in-law and retired police chief, Tom, are co-owners of Deputy Donut, that they opened after Emily’s husband was killed in the line of duty as a detective for the police department. When elderly friend, Georgia Treetor, member of the Knitpickers, comes up murdered with donuts from their establishment as evidence, Emily feels compelled to “help” the police solve the crime. Georgia’s best friend, Lois Unterlaw moved back to Fallingbrook, Wisconsin from Madison just prior to Georgia’s murder and around the five year anniversary of Georgia’s son’s murder. Emily’s husband along with partner, Detective Brent Fyne, had never solved the earlier case and Emily suspects that the two murders are connected. It’s Lois’ grand-nephew who is suspected of the crime. Emily and Lois find out they are neighbors and share one cat knows as Dep by Emily and Tiger by Lois via a small hole in the brick wall that connect their back yards. Along with Brent, they decide to see if they can work together to clear Randy and find out who murdered Georgia. Detective Brent was friend and confident to Emily’s husband, but the relationship with Emily became strained after her husband’s death. However, working so closely with him on this murder and with Lois’ matchmaking can their relationship become less awkward and maybe more? It was fun to see a softer side of the murder investigation start to formulate between the two for sure. I will be anxious to see how it unfolds even more in the other books in this series. I very much enjoyed reading SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS and would definitely recommend it to any one that loves cozy mysteries. This review is wholly my opinion and given with no compensation for it.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Set in fabulous Wisconsin this book gets this series off to a wonderful start. We meet widow Emily Westhill and her father-in-law Tom, owners of the local donut shop lovingly named after her tabby cat Deputy Donut. When one of their regulars fails to show up to meet her knitting circle her friends get worried. By the end of the day, Emily tags along with the group to see if something happened to Georgia at home. When they find the woman dead on the floor surrounded by donuts from Emily’s shop, Emily has to draw on her dispatch training to get them through the aftermath of their discovery. The woman’s son died on the same day 5 years ago. A case that stuck with both her husband and his partner. Since her husband’s death, Emily has steered clear of his partner Brent, but this new murder has brought them back together. Emily used to be a good sounding board for her husband. Can she and Brent work together to solve this murder? This author also wrote the Threadville Mysteries as herself, Janet Bolin. A series I absolutely loved. So when I heard she was writing a series set in my home state I was over the moon. This new set of characters is very captivating. The idea of Emily working with her father-in-law/retired police chief is such a fun idea. Everyone knows how much police officers love their donuts. Emily and Tom work well together and the shop has a set up where Deputy Donut “Dep” can watch over the whole place without getting in trouble with the health department. He is a very special cat too, attentive, inquisitive and very important to Emily, the donut shop, and this story. Emily’s friends, Misty, a police officer and Samantha, an EMT, have Emily’s back no matter what. Emily is a wonderful protagonist. You know right away she has a caring heart, but it is a little closed off dealing with the grief of losing her husband and guilt thinking had she been working the dispatch when the call came in that maybe he would still be alive. The mystery itself is pretty complex. The suspect pool was very small until Emily did a lot of snooping in both in the cold case and the new one. To say I was shocked at the big killer reveal would be an understatement. I really enjoyed the ending, it sure got my heart rate escalating. As I said, the story is set in Wisconsin, but it was Emily’s Fallingbrook home and yard that were very intriguing. Her place and her neighbors are connected in a unique way, and she didn’t know it until this mystery begins. The author writes with a delightful descriptive style that makes the story flow so well. She drew me in quickly and I was actually sad when I reached the final page. I want to know these characters better. I am excited to see what happens next in their lives. Goodbye Cruller World hits bookstores August 28 and I can’t wait.
Survival of the Fritters is the first installment of a new cozy series by Ginger Bolton. Emily co-owns Deputy Donuts (named after Deputy Donut, her cat), and when one of her regulars is murdered, Emily decides to find out why. This is a good start to a new series, with enough introduction and backstory to make you want to know more about the characters, and a great plot to boot. I’ll definitely be watching for book number two.
Survivor of the Fritters is the first installment of the Deputy Donuts Mystery Series. Emily runs a donut and coffee shop in Fallingbrook WI with the father of her late husband. Her father-in-law is a former retired police chief. Emily is a former 911 operator, so both have experience in dealing with emergencies. When one of their regular customers fails to show up at the coffee shop, Emily and a few members of the local knitting group become concerned. Soon, the customer is found dead in her kitchen, five years after her son was murdered. Could the suspicious deaths be related? Emily is determined to find out. I give this book a solid 3 stars. It is an interesting story line and the mystery is well-crafted. The recipes provided at the end of the book are appetizing and I plan on trying at least two. I wish the characters had been a little more developed and therefore more relatable. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how the characters develop. .~ Shelly9677
Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton is the first book in A Deputy Donut Mystery series. Emily Westhill co-owns Deputy Donut with Tom Westhill (her father-in-law) in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. Emily has been a widow for three years and gave up her job as a 911 operator after the death of her husband. Emily greets the Knitpickers (a group of women who meet at Deputy Donut) and their newest recruit Lois Underlaw. They are missing Georgia Treetor who runs the local doll hospital. At the end of the day when no one has heard from Georgia, the Knitpickers along with Emily head to Georgia’s home to check on her. They find the kitchen is a disarray and Georgia dead. It turns out that Georgia was killed on the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder. It is the one case Emily’s husband, Alec was unable to solve. Are the cases linked? When Lois’ nephew, Randy becomes a prime suspect, Emily starts nosing around for clues. Thanks to Emily leaving her fingerprints all over the crime scene, Detective Brent Fyne (Alec’s old partner) is taken off the case. Yvonne Passenmath from Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is brought in to handle the case. This does not bode well for Emily since Yvonne dislikes her. Emily soon uncovers a connection between the deaths. Follow Emily as she follows the clues to uncover a killer in Survival of the Fritters. Survival of the Fritters is nicely written, the characters are developed (with room for growth in future books) and there is a clever, adorable cat. The author took the time to set the stage for the book which I appreciate. I found that the pace varied throughout the book (sometimes steady and other times it was slower). I did find there was repetition especially regarding the handsomeness of some of the men (especially Detective Brent Fyne). The stage is set for a possible romance between Emily and Brent in the future if Emily is willing to move on after the death of her husband. You could feel the chemistry between Emily and Brent (it was palpable). Another example of reiteration is Emily would uncover details of the mystery. She would then discuss them with Lois and then repeat the details to Brent. These sections felt like filler and were unnecessary. These discussions went along with the speculation over who could have committed the crime. I would have liked more investigation and action (instead of the case being rehashed multiple times). The mystery was interesting (nicely developed) and there were some good clues. I believe many readers will be surprised by the identity of the killer (avid mystery readers should have it solved out before the solution is revealed). I was not a fan of DCI Yvonne Passenmath. There seems to be a trend to have unlikeable cops in cozy mysteries and I hope it ends soon. Yvonne resents Emily for taking Alec away from her (there was nothing between them) and dislikes Tom for not promoting her when he was chief of police (she was lacking in skills and everyone is amazed that DCI hired her). There are some delectable donut descriptions in the book and recipes are included at the end. I am giving Survival of the Fritters 3 stars. The next book in A Deputy Donut Mystery series is Goodbye Cruller World.
Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton was a delicious afternoon read. Ms. Bolton has written a tightly plotted mystery with not one murder but two that need to be resolved. The plot is fast paced and I had to keep turning the pages to read more. I liked Emily and Tom, her father-in-law as they worked together in the donut shop. They seemed to be a well-matched team. The mystery of the murder of a "regular" customer and an unsolved murder from the past was complex. The characters are slowly developing in this first book. I look forward to getting to know Emily, her friends, Misty and Samantha, and the "Knitpickers" as the series progresses. I was totally shocked by the reveal as I never guessed who "done it". I'm already looking forward to reading the next one in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
What an awesome first book for this new series! And what a great idea for a donut shop with the whole police theme going on. Emily and her father-in-law own Deputy Donuts and are usually host to most of the town of Fallingworth's (WI) police force. When Emily and some of the older ladies in a knitting club find one of the donut shop's favorite customers murdered in her own home, Emily is forced into interacting with her late husband's police partner, Brent. They had all three been good friends until one evening when Alec was shot and Brent was just hurt. Emily hadn't contacted Brent since then. I liked how Brent and Emily can now remember things that Alec had said or done. Just before the murder, the murdered woman's good friend Lois moved back into town. This murder also took place five years after the murdered woman's son was killed. This was a case Alec and Brent had not been able to solve. The main suspect now is Lois's great nephew, Randy who was a real stinker in high school but seems to have reformed. A state detective is pulled in eventually on the case so Brent, Emily and Lois decide to do a little sleuthing on their own. There were so many good twists in this plot that I never saw it coming when the killer was revealed. The ending was pretty exciting and Emily took charge of the situation until the police arrived and took the perp into custody. I like that Emily is at least acknowledging that Brent was hurting too when Alec was shot. I know their friendship is going to be a little slow coming but I hope they can become even better friends. If Alec was anything like he was described, I would think he would have wanted his partner and best friend to be there for his wife after he passed. There were some good funny parts too. I think I have new favorite little catch-phrase (non verbal kind of noise now), mmp! Even the cat was saying it. The characters were really well developed and very easy to like. Tom seemed like the type that anyone would just love to have as a friend or father-in-law. Emily's friends Misty (police officer) and Samantha (EMT) were a lot of fun and good, faithful friends. Lois was a hoot! She was the funniest thing at times, kind of made me think of Betty White. Oh there are some yummy sounding donut and fritter recipes at the end of the book, the favorites that Deputy Donuts serves. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book which was provided by the publisher and NetGalley.