Narrator: Mira Dovreni
Series: Adam and Eve Mystery #4
Published by Bookouture Audio on December 7. 2022
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 29 mins
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Francesca Eve, chef, caterer, and baker extraordinaire, has never desired the limelight. But when she’s accepted onto the country’s favorite cooking competition, she can’t help but wonder–what would it be like to win? The one thing she’d never imagined, though, was sharing the kitchen with a killer....
When Francesca Eve arrives for the Christmas special of the country’s most popular baking competition, she knows she’s out of her depth. For not only is she there undercover, reluctantly investigating strange threats to Miranda Appleby, the famous presenter-come-chef, but she swiftly gets roped into competing herself when another contestant can’t cut the mustard and quits.
Cooking may be bread and butter to Fran, but under the bright lights her cranberry sauce won’t set and her mince pies burn. When the real reason she’s there ends in total failure and Miranda is found with a cake slice through the heart—"lights, camera, cook" becomes "lights, camera, murder"....
Miranda may have looked like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but looks can be deceiving.... From her harassed PA to the rakish producer and even the disappointed contestants, everyone on set seemingly had reason enough to want to bump her off. But who would be nuts enough to cook Miranda’s goose in such an obvious way?
As the police arrive to take over the investigation, Fran can’t help but continue her own lines of enquiry. She’s come to know the crew and contestants and can’t believe that any one of them would be guilty. But Fran must harden her heart to her new friends and focus her mind.
Someone may have thought Miranda was justifiably given her just desserts, but what Fran uncovers takes things to a whole new tier. Can Fran uncover the truth before another death occurs, and before the spirit of Christmas (cake) is ruined forever?
Death at Beresford Hall is the 4th in the Adam and Eve series. It worked okay as a stand-alone, but I think I would have benefitted from knowing a bit more about Fran and Adam and their previous cases. We’re kind of dropped in the middle of the action. Fran is undercover at a cooking show tv competition, posing as a writer gathering “behind the scenes” info about the show, with Adam there to assist. The show’s star, Miranda Appleby, has been receiving threatening gifts and Fran and Adam are charged with finding out who is doing it. Things turn more complicated when Miranda manipulates Fran into stepping in as a contestant on the show. Then, of course, Miranda ends up murdered, killed with a cake knife.
The “behind the scenes” peek at a reality cooking show was fun. There’s plenty of jealousy and backstabbing and secrets. The clues were tucked in well, with several red herrings and enough suspects to keep me guessing. Fran and Adam are an interesting team. They don’t seem to have much in common, aside from their crime-solving, but they get along well, each bringing their own skills and outlook.
I listened to the audio. I really enjoy audiobooks since they let me get other, less fun stuff done while I’m reading – like dishes (our dishwasher is broken). The narrator did a good job with the voices and it was easy to keep the characters straight.
Overall, this was a fun, light read. And I liked the Christmas touches, even if it took place months earlier than December.