Book Review | Devil’s Food Cake by Josi Kilpack
About the Book:
When I first heard about the premise of this novel, I had to go back and look twice to make sure I understood what I was going to be reading. A mystery novel with recipes? Really – a mystery novel with recipes? Well, I do like mysteries, and I enjoy recipes (well, I enjoy eating things made from recipes anyway) so I was interested to see how these elements would be combined.
I was lucky that I did! From the beautiful cake on the cover (that almost made me break my diet!) to the instant action that opened the novel, I was immediately hooked by Josi S. Kilpatrick’s Devil’s Food Cake. The novel opens with a library fundraiser during which the manager of the guest speaker (a former town member with a checkered past who has become a famous novelist) moves the microphone to introduce the author, only to be taken down by a sawed-off shotgun that had been rigged to the microphone stand.
Sadie Hoffmiller, a retired teacher who does some mean baking, finds herself automatically embroiled in the murder. From the moment she runs into a mysterious photographer snapping photos of the scene and picks up a copy of the novel left behind with the inscription “I’m sorry”, she can’t help but want to piece together the puzzle of why the murder has taken place and who would commit such a heinous crime.
The novel takes a number of twists and turns, finding Sadie being attacked with a frying pan, teaming up with her college-aged son as well as a local locksmith that she meets by chance and trying to evade the police who have put out a warrant for her arrest.
As the story evolves, it seems to become clear what has happened and everything seems to be reaching a reasonable conclusion. Kilpatrick, however, does an amazing job of lulling me, as a reader, into a false sense of security. The plot twist at the end of the novel is truly shocking and an amazing conclusion to this great book.
When I started the novel, I wasn’t sure how the recipes would be incorporated into the novel and I was concerned that they would detract from the mystery. I was pleased to discover, however, that the recipes are woven into the story and then they appear at the end of the chapters where they are mentioned. From the Devil’s Food Cake (which sounds amazingly decadent) to the Evil Chicken dinner (sweet and savoury!), the recipes practically had me drooling and I know, when I do break my diet, what I’m going to make!
I was also pleased to see that Kilpatrick had anticipated that readers may choose to read Devil’s Food Cake without reading her previous books. While it is obvious that Sadie has had other adventures and there are previous relationships between the characters, Kilpatrick does an excellent job of balancing the incorporation of the back history of the characters without spending too much time on this aspect of the novel.
Overall, I would thoroughly and wholeheartedly recommend Devil’s Food Cake to anyone who enjoys murder-mystery novels and also to those who might be interested in some truly amazing (and decadent) recipes! I plan to read Kilpatrick’s first two books in which Sadie Hoffmiller is the main character (Lemon Tart andEnglish Trifle) and I’m looking forward to reading her next novel, Key Lime Pie, when it comes out this fall!
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*