Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark

book cover

To Have and to Kill
by Mary Jane Clark

ISBN-13: 9780061995552
Mass Market Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Released: October 25th 2011

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Piper Donovan never imagined decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous!

A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper needs to take stock of her life—so she moves back home with her parents in New Jersey and steps tentatively into the family bakery business. Soon, she’s creating a wedding cake for a friend, the star of a daytime television drama. But the bride is getting cruel, anonymous notes warning her that her fiance is a rat.

When the bride’s co-star is poisoned from a glass of water meant for her, everyone assumes the bride was the true target. But when others end up stabbed or strangled, no one's sure who might be next.

My Review:
To Have and to Kill is a very fast-paced cozy mystery--yet it's not a typical cozy. Piper is curious about who is causing the murders, but she never directly tried to snoop around and find out who did it. She left that to the police. Yet she's still in the middle of everything that's going on due to her job. I liked how, just by being herself, she thwarted the murderer's plans twice.

I also liked how she didn't stupidly go into a dangerous situation (like some cozy heroines do), and she didn't need rescuing when she found herself in a dangerous situation. As for whodunit, the author provided plenty of people with a motive and opportunity. You could guess from the clues, and I did guess before the "big reveal." I was a bit surprised to read a review saying they guessed whodunit from the start, though. I'd agree more with the reviewer who said she'd dismissed whodunit because whodunit's motive didn't seem powerful enough for murder.

I found Piper, her parents, and her actress friend engaging and enjoyable to read about. The other characters were very sketchy. Her love interest, the FBI agent, didn't do much and the romance angle wasn't really developed. The details about cake decoration and the acting business were interesting. The suspense was created by the physical danger to the characters and from wondering whodunit.

There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this fast-paced, upbeat mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read and excerpt using Google Preview.

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