To Have and to Kill (Piper Donovan Series #1)

( 261 )

Overview

A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper Donovan 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 someone is ruthlessly determined that this wedding will never happen.

It begins with the horrific murder of the bride-to-be's costar—but a psychopathic ...

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To Have and to Kill (Piper Donovan Series #1)

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Overview

A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper Donovan 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 someone is ruthlessly determined that this wedding will never happen.

It begins with the horrific murder of the bride-to-be's costar—but a psychopathic wedding-crasher isn't about to stop there. Before Piper knows it, she's joining forces with FBI agent Jack Lombardi—a handsome neighbor with a soft spot for the inquisitive cake maker—to sift through the suspects and find a killer. But Piper's about to discover that it may be a lot hotter in the kitchen than she's able to handle. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
“She understands how to hang on to her audience. Her characters are the sorts with whom many readers identify.”
Publishers Weekly
This fluffy first in a promising new cozy series from bestseller Clark (Dying for Mercy) introduces 27-year-old, down-on-her-luck actress Piper Donovan. After a painful breakup and too few acting gigs in Manhattan, Piper has returned home to Hillwood, N.J., where she's assisting her mother, Terri, at the family bakery, the Icing on the Cupcake. Piper is pleased to be preparing the cake for the upcoming wedding of her friend Glenna Brooks, the star of A Little Rain Must Fall, a daytime soap opera that Piper appeared in before her character was killed off. An actual murder, the cyanide poisoning of one of Glenna's A Little Rain Must Fall co-stars and her former lover, Travis York, threatens to derail the wedding. After further dangerously sticky developments, Piper confronts the surprising killer. Piper having to deal with Terri's macular degeneration lends some emotional weight. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Piper Donovan is newly single and struggling to find acting jobs after her soap opera character was killed off. She moves back in with her parents and helps out in her mom's bakery, which is renowned for its beautifully decorated cakes. When one of Piper's famous former costars asks if the bakery can make her wedding cake, Piper gets involved in a real-life soap opera replete with murder, romance, family issues, and a varied cast of characters including an FBI agent, a director, a photographer, a costumer, a jeweler, a drama teacher, and more. VERDICT The first book in best-selling suspense author Clark's (Dying for Mercy; Lights Out Tonight) new series is an old-fashioned whodunit set in a modern world that's high on suspense and low on gore. The number of characters with motive for murder keeps you guessing, and the action-packed short chapters keep the story moving. You'll also learn a little about cake decorating, and there's a sweet surprise at the end. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]—Samantha J. Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY
Kirkus Reviews

Clark abandons long-suffering TV newscaster Eliza Blake (Dying for Mercy, 2009, etc.) to launch her new Wedding Cake Mystery series with this glossy tale of premarital homicide.

Glenna Brooks and Piper Donovan have both appeared on the soap opera A Little Rain Must Fall, but that's where the similarity ends. Glenna, continuing as the show's most popular star, is about to marry Casey Walden, a teacher at the Metropolitan School for Girls, which her daughter attends; Piper, who's been virtually unemployed since her character was killed off, is moving back in with her parents. Since everything about Glenna's wedding has to be perfect, she wants famous photographer Martha Killeen to snap the pictures and Piper's mother Terri, who owns The Icing on the Cupcake, to make the cake. But the course of true love doesn't run smooth, and murder interrupts a high-profile charity auction at which the cast has gathered to benefit the school. Was the killer Glenna's embittered ex-con husband Phillip? Casey's brother Arthur, a jeweler who's not about to share the proceeds of the family business? Casey's yearning ex-girlfriend Jessie Terhune, an opportunistic drama teacher? Soap-opera king Quent Raynor, scheming for a coup that will publicize his show's move to Los Angeles? Or Martha herself, whose financial woes have made her desperate for the sort of comeback she could achieve by photographing a murder in progress?

Rated PG-13 for brief violence. But no sex, no language, no detection—not even Piper's FBI friend Jack Lombardi does himself proud—and only a single recipe, which you can find on dozens of online sites.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062117168
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Series: Piper Donovan Series , #1
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 192,575
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Jane Clark worked at CBS News for nearly three decades. Her twelve KEY News media thrillers were inspired by that experience. Envisioning the Piper Donovan/Wedding Cake mystery series, Mary Jane enrolled in cake-decorating classes and researched unique wedding locations. The daughter of an FBI agent and a mother who customized cakes for the neighborhood kids when she was growing up, Mary Jane has two grown children and splits her time between New Jersey and Florida. She is currently concocting her next novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 261 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(99)

4 Star

(68)

3 Star

(51)

2 Star

(26)

1 Star

(17)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 261 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2010

    Spectacular New Series

    With 12 "KEY News" media thrillers under her belt, Mary Jane Clark's latest -- and the first in her new "Wedding Cake Mystery" series -- is a spectacular and winning change of scene. In "To Have and To Kill," Piper Donovan, a 28-year-old aspiring actress who has already had a two-year stint on a soap opera seen by millions, stays connected with her legion of fans on Facebook and Twitter, and stays healthy taking yoga and karate classes in between auditions. When acting roles become few and far between, Piper moves back home with her parents in Hillwood, New Jersey, to wait out the slump and help her mother in the family bakery business. When fellow soap opera star Glenna Brooks announces an upcoming Christmas Eve marriage, Piper agrees to create a wedding cake for the occasion, but when someone close to the bride is horribly poisoned, it's not clear if Glenna wasn't the real target. The murderer, smartly hidden in a very believable suspect pool, isn't finished - and after a few more bodies begin to pile up, Piper herself may have been added to a very macabre Christmas "wish list." Clark's new heroine is young, smart and sassy and, with the help of Jack, her FBI agent-cum-sometime-boyfriend, Piper has to add crime detection to her acting and cake decorating skills. Great characters (Piper's mom and dad, and their dog Emmett among them), populate a story told with breakneck speed all the way to an astonishing reveal -- of both the murderer and the splendid, star-studded cake -- but not before Piper goes toe-to-toe with a stop-at-nothing killer. It was impossible to put down!

    18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Harriet klausner

    Thanks to harriet klausner and the other plot spoilers hete, this is another book ruined and unavailable for purchase. No one wants to buy a book after loud mouth harriet reveals all including the ending. Please bn, do something to klausner and these plot spoilers. Ban them and delete their plot spoiling posts.

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I really enjoyed it.

    Piper Donovan, the main character and a struggling actress, decides to move from her Manhattan apartment back to New Jersey with her parents as a temporary measure until she gets her feet planted more securely on the ground after her fiancé breaks the engagement. This is a mystery / suspense loaded with intrigue as her best friend Glenna who is planning her wedding receives an anonymous threatening letter warning her to stay away from her fiancé, Casey or there will be consequences. Mutual friend, Trevor, collapses at a charity function after drinking a drink meant for Glenna. He dies and this is where it becomes tense and the story turns to sleuthing and FBI agent, Jack Lombardi, enters the scene. This is very entertaining and moves along nicely. I really enjoyed it.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I never read a book that quickly before. I'm not into mysteries

    I never read a book that quickly before. I'm not into mysteries but I could not put this book down. It was easy to read and it kept me guessing.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a warm fast-paced cozy

    No longer getting acting roles after her two year part in the soap A Little Rain Must fall ends with her character's death, having her romance implode and worried about her mom's heath Piper Donovan crosses the Hudson to return to her hometown of Hillwood, New Jersey. The late twentyish Piper works with her mom at the family owned bakery, Icing on the Cupcake, but uses social networking to stay in touch with her friends and fans.

    Her acting friend Glenna Brooks, a star of A Little Rain Must Fall, hires Piper and her bakery to make her wedding cake. However, the homicide death of A Little Rain Must Fall cast member Travis York shakes up everyone associated with the TV drama. Soon more murders occur, so Piper asks her friend FBI Agent Jack for advice on conducting an investigation.

    This is a warm fast-paced cozy starring a likable heroine who fears she may be on a sort of soap opera List of Adrian Messenger. The whodunit is lighthearted fun as Piper knows the culprit must be associated with the show but it is her parents, the family dog and Jack who enhance the mystery by providing poignant Icing on the Cupcake.

    Harriet Klausner

    8 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Be considerate

    Pls preface your reviews with SPOILER ALERT as a courtesy to those of us who have not yet read the book.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Very good

    With 236 pages it was enough to get u think of who done it. It was a surprise who was the murder. Very good read.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    An engaging whodunit

    I really enjoyed this book and as a result have added a new author to my list of those to follow!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2012

    This series had so much potential....

    but it never got there.

    I have read mary jane clark before and they are very suspenseful. But this one just wasn't....at all!!

    Two pages for a chapter. Barely time on any one character to develop any kind of back story. Even the main character had little back story. I thought the cake shop would be more prevalent with the main characters parents but they were not. A love interest that the main character snubs thru the whole book (don't want to ruin a friendship? what?) And the villain is thrown at you in the end with hardly a decent explanation.

    This was a big disappointment!!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Disappointing

    Harmless book, expected better from this author. She is an established writer with the resources to have put together a good cozy mystery. This was a scattered, disconnected attempt. I do not recommend.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    This was a struggle to get through. Very tedious and boring. I

    This was a struggle to get through. Very tedious and boring. I do NOT understand the 5 star ratings that so many gave this one. Needelss to say, I won't be continuing with this series. I'm so glad I only paid .99 for this. Even that was too much to pay for this book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It's ok

    The book was interesting up until the end, where it seemed rushed in order to wrap it up. So I give it 3 stars, it was ok.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Enjoyable

    Well-written, with adequate suspense to hold the reader's attention. The relatiomship between the main male and female characters doesn't seem very realistic.....they remain "just friends"; when it is obvious that he is perfect for her, she keeps falling into disasterous relationships with all-too-inadequate other men.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    Loved the Book!!

    If you like a mystery and cake decorating you will love the book!!! Fast paced, easy to read!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A fresh new series

    Piper Donovan is down on her luck. She was recently written out of her soap opera, A Little Rain Must Fall. Not having any callbacks from her auditions, Piper is forced to give up her Manhattan apartment. She returns home to Jersey to live with her parents. Her father is a former cop and her mother owns The Icing on the Cupcake bakery. It's there that Piper spends most of her days when she's not auditioning.

    Piper stayed in touch with the leading actress from A Little Rain Must Fall, Glenna Brooks. When the two friends meet for lunch, Glenna announces she's getting married on Christmas Eve and asks Piper if her mother would be so kind to make her wedding cake. Piper immediately accepts on her mother's behalf. It's also during this lunch that Glenna discloses she has received a disturbing letter (anonymously written) about her upcoming nuptials. Piper warns Glenna to be careful.

    Days following their lunch, someone close to Glenna is mysteriously murdered. All clues lead back to this letter. And it's not until another person from the soap is left for dead that Piper begins to realize someone is determined to not see Glenna walk down the aisle and will kill anyone that is in the way.

    To Have and To Kill is the first book in Clark's new Wedding Cake Mystery series. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed her previous Key News series, so I was looking forward to reading this mystery. As usual, Clark did not disappoint. She has created a likable and intelligent amateur sleuth in Piper. There's a hint of a love interest for Piper, but it doesn't overshadow the mystery. Piper's parents round out the storyline as her mother is battling personal issues that may threatened her livelihood.

    Overall I really enjoyed To Have and To Kill. It's a light, cozy mystery that is perfect reading for a lazy afternoon. I'm looking forward to reading future mysteries starring Piper.

    3.5 Stars

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    OK

    OK but certainly not Mary HIGGINS Clark

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    Although cozy mysteries are not my thing, I enjoyed this one for

    Although cozy mysteries are not my thing, I enjoyed this one for what it is. Because I noticed (in another review) that this is the first in a series, I decided to give it a try and will follow up with other installments.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    Good, simple mystery

    The book was pretty good, not a difficult mystery to figure out, but not overly simplistic.
    I must say one thing not about the book, but about the reviewers. I have seen many people complaining about Harriet Klasners reviews, saying it ruined the book, etc.
    Don't read a review that is three or four paragraphs long, if you do you will learn more about the book than you want to, but for pity sakes it isn't the reviewers fault if you are so boneheaded that you read a long review that is obviously about the book. Quit complaining about a reviewer ruining a book when YOU are the one that read the very long review.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013

    To sky

    Hi! :)

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Can't recommend- not a "Sex in The City" fan

    Plot and character both lacked depth. All the characters seemed shallow, self centered, and materialistic. No true love and sacrifice and nothing redeeming on a higher level. However, it was an easy read with average, every day humor. It passed the time but left no Impression.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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