Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop Mystery #1)by Winnie Archer

Expected publication: February 28th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

4 Stars

Synopsis: Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!

My Review: Kneaded to Death is the first book in a new series, “A Bread Shop Mystery”. This was a great start to this series. Ivy Culpepper, the main character is a photographer who has moved back to the coastal California town of Santa Sofia. Her mother was killed in a hit and run accident a few months prior and she has moved home with her pug, Agatha, to live with her father and brother Billy.

Each day, Ivy stops by Yeast of Eden, a local bread shop. She and her family love the bread, so Ivy signs up for a baking class to keep herself busy. She discovers a connection with the teacher and owner of the shop as well as an elderly woman, Penny Branford. During the first night of class, one of her classmates is poisoned. Not only does she witness what she thinks is the murder, but she meets up with her highschool sweetheart who has also returned to Santa Sofia. As Ivy gets involved in the investigation of Jackie’s death, she also works with Penny Branford to spy on a neighbour who has been bullying people in their historic neighbourhood. As the investigation continues, Ivy begins to suspect that her mother’s death might tie in with Jackie’s and that it was not an accident, but murder.

As this is the first book in the series, there is quite and introduction to the major characters. It gives the reader an opportunity to get to know the inhabitants of this little town who will hopefully be in further instalments of the series. Although there are several things happening in this story, the author does a great job of keeping the story on an even keel and you do not lose the train in the story. I did not guess who the culprit was in this story, as there were several red herrings thrown in. My only concern is that a character who was quite involved in the mystery is really not in the story, just appearing at the end. I am looking forward to seeing where the author will take the residents of Santa Sofia in her next book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.