Tragic Toppings by Jessica Beck is the 5th book in the “Donut Shop” mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, August 2011

Donut shop owner Suzanne Hart sees customers come and go all day long. But when one of them up-and-disappears, the police start asking questions. It seems Suzanne is the last person to have seen Emily Hargraves, who runs the local newsstand. Suzanne has nothing to report about their encounter. But when Emily doesn’t turn up, no news is bad news.

Suzanne has to admit that Emily’s last request was a little odd—a blueberry donut made to order, with chocolate icing, sprinkles, stars, and a chewy sour gummy worm coiled on top. Odder still: Suzanne’s ex-husband Max also appears to be missing. But what really takes the cake? The corpse Suzanne finds hanging from a tree in the park. Who knew donut-making could turn out to be such dangerous business.

When Suzanne’s friend asks her to find the person responsible for her “uncle’s death, Suzanne begins her investigations with the likely suspects and as soon as she feels the heat from the killer, the quicker Suzanne will have to douse their ardor. This was a good story and I like that Suzanne is more confident in her skill as an amateur sleuth as she works with the authorities. The action was non-stop as Suzanne gathered all the clues necessary to identify the killer. I enjoyed the camaraderie among the characters and the mystery kept me guessing in this charming and entertaining series.

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