Jessica Beck. Tragic Toppings. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

What are the chances that two people would go missing on the same day in little April Springs, North Carolina?  When Emily Hargraves disappears from her newsstand, series heroine Suzanne Hart fears for the safety of the lovely, naive young woman.  Suzanne’s fear proves unwarranted–pretty much.  Emily left her shop with no notice for a quick tryst with Suzanne’s randy, charming ex-husband, Max.  Suzanne regrets not warning Emily about Max, but she trusts that in the end Emily will see him for what he is.

But there is nothing close to a happy ending for the other missing person, Tim Leander.  Suzanne and her friend Grace find Tim’s body hanging from an historic tree in the town park.  Who could have wanted to kill the popular local handyman, and who had the strength to hoist his body up into the Patriot’s Tree?  In part because she found the body, and in part because this kind of snooping is getting to be a habit, Suzanne begins to look into Tim’s life.  What she finds shocks her–it seems that Max is not the only playboy in April Springs.  Suddenly, Suzanne has lots of suspects.  Readers can follow her as she questions Tim’s buddies and lady friends and checks out their alibis with help from Grace, their friend George, and Suzanne’s beau, Jake.  Police Chief Martin is officially on the case, but he has to walk a fine line with Suzanne now that he is dating her mother.  As with earlier novels in this series, the development of Suzanne’s relationship with Jake, and her mother’s with Chief Martin, add to the charm of the book.

This is the fifth novel in the Donut Shop Mysteries series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Beck, Jessica, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

One Response to Jessica Beck. Tragic Toppings. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

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