Cake and Punishment: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery

Cake and Punishment: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery

by Maymee Bell


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In the first of a delectable new Southern-set baking cozy series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder.

Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky has glowing fields of bluegrass, a fine selection of bourbons, and now a professional pastry chef. Broken-hearted Sophia Cummings has come home from New York City. She’s not there a minute before she’s charmed into making her high school friend Charlotte’s wedding cake. The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by.

With one look at the shiny, new frying pan, Sophia knows it’s not Emile’s. She offers her knowledge to Sheriff Carter and her talents to Evelyn, the manager, who needs an interim chef. The mood in the country club is grim: Emile’s peppery personality had burned members and staff alike. Sophia wonders which one of them burned him?

Perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and JoAnna Carl, Cake and Punishment —with authentic Southern recipes!—will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683317968
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 161,930
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Maymee Bell lives in Kentucky with her family and her two schnauzers. She likes strong coffee, slow-country days, and fresh-baked cookies―but she likes telling stories best of all. This is her first Southern Baker mystery.

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Cake and Punishment: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and characters. Liked the southern setting! Can't wait to continue the series. Hope it will be soon.
SunnyCarolinaGirl 10 months ago
A new series set in Rumford, Kentucky. Sophia Cummings is a pastry chef at a ritzy Manhattan restaurant, but is home in Rumford visiting her parents to get over her broken heart. She caught her boyfriend, a chef at the same restaurant, cheating on her. While in town she reconnects with many of her high school friends that she hasn't seen in 10 years, since she left to pursue her dream in culinary school. One of them, Charlotte, is getting married and her baker has just quit. Sophia is persuaded to make her wedding cake and while they are discussing the details at the country club they find the chef's dead body. Sophia knows many of the people at the country club and wants to help solve the crime so that her friend's wedding won't be disrupted. The investigation leads down many roads, and there are many good possibilities as to who the killer might be. Will the murder be solved in time for Charlotte's wedding? I fell in love with these characters and the small town of Rumford, Kentucky. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I also am looking forward to trying some of the recipes included in the back of the book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the new characters and premise. Super story and surprise murder ending. She sure knows her southern mamas.
CheliD More than 1 year ago
Sophia Cummings is a pastry chef and her dream was to work alongside her fiancé, a chef, but those dreams were dashed when she discovered him playing around with the Maitre d' at the restaurant where they worked. She leaves and heads home to nurse her wounds. When she arrives she is persuaded my a longtime friend to make the wedding cake for the upcoming nuptials. Planning to work her magic in the Country Club kitchen, surprise, surprise, when they walk in and find the Head Chef dead. So Sophie sets out to find the murderer while doing her culinary specialties, There may have been a few too many characters in this new series to start but I liked their interaction and assume that their development will improve in future installment. It was fun.
Miccox99 More than 1 year ago
A cozy mystery wrapped in southern charm and humor! What's a girl to do when she gets her heart broken, why visit her hometown of course! However, as with most journey's this one opens up a crossroads in the life journey for the main character especially after finding a dead body may mean disrupting a friend's happily ever after! Characters full of wit, charm and interest to keep you connected to the plot and entertained for hours this is definitely a new series that I can't wait to read more of!
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Cake and Punishment is the first in a fun new southern cozy mystery series and I am looking forward to hanging out with Sophia and friends again soon. This book played hell with my diet and I’m sure I drooled a time or two and not just over the hunky sheriff. The mystery kept me guessing and Sophia kept me smiling what more could you ask for.
EclecticBooks More than 1 year ago
I sure do love a Cozy Mystery, especially one with some delicious recipes given at the end of the book. After catching her boyfriend in a compromising situation, Sophia heads home to visit her family and take some time away from NYC and her job, where she works with her ex. While there she manages to get coaxed into making the wedding cake for an old high-school friend. When the chef at the local country club is murdered, Sophia steps up to be in charge of the kitchen for a few days. Since her dear friend, Evelyn, the manager of the country club, is the prime suspect, Sophia also tries to figure out who killed the chef. There is a budding romance in this story and also some surprises. This is the first book in the Southern Baker Mystery series and I am glad to have started reading at the very beginning. Looking forward to more of the adventures of Sophia Cummings, the country club, Sherrif Carter, and of course Bitzy. This Cozy was such fun, I am giving this a solid 4-star rating.
cts827 More than 1 year ago
Cake and Punishment is a cozy mystery that will keep you turning pages and guessing until the last pages. This book has a great plot and characters. I also loved that it had recipes in the back of the book. The recipes were talked about often in the story and my mouth was watering because they sounded sooooo goood. It was great to know that the special treats were there to be made by the reader! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it. I received it as a gift and I always review every book that I read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a charming first book in the Southern Cake Baker series. It has the right amount of southern charm, laughter, romance, and of course a dead body. Looking forward to reading more about this charming town and the people in it.
Hpergo More than 1 year ago
Sophia Cummings just found her boyfriend cheating with a co-worker and decides to make a trip home to Rumford KY as an escape. She isn’t home long before being asked to help an old friend by making her wedding cake. However, when Sophia and Charlotte get together at the RCC to talk wedding cakes and food, they find Charlotte’s chef lying on the floor dead. Charlotte fears her wedding will be canceled, after all, how will they find a chef with such short notice? When Sophia finds out the RCC’s manager Evelyn is a suspect, Sophia decides she needs do some sleuthing even though it is against Carter’s, the hunky sheriff, wishes. After all, the wedding must go on and her gut feeling says Evelyn is innocent. Will Sophia be able to find the killer, clear Evelyn and make sure Charlotte has the wedding of her dreams? This is the first in the Southern Cake Baker series. I enjoyed this story and fell in love with the characters. Suspense, humor, and yummy treats, this book has it all! I can’t wait to see what is in store for Sophia and the rest of the gang.
mymissdaisy More than 1 year ago
Adding this one to my list of favorite reads for the year with a big 'ole 5 stars! Maymee Bell starts things off from the first few pages drawing the reader in with a little murder to solve. The main character Sophia comes home to lick her wounds for a few days after a nasty break up with her cheatin' boyfriends. Sophia's plans for a few days away suddenly get thwarted when she runs into a high school buddy that begs her to bake her wedding cake when the hired baker backs out. Who can say no to that? And then when they meet at the country club to discuss the cake and the venue what happens but the chef gets whacked in the head with his own skillet! Or is it his? There's no place like home. When Sophia's mentor gets becomes the prime suspect the wedding becomes jeopardized. And so Sophia becomes a sleuth to save her friend and the wedding. It seems everyone is against her leaving and returning to NYC. Her mom begins matchmaking. Her friends keep coming up with important events for Sophia cater. And there is no shortage of suspects who could have been the one weilding that iron skillet! And then there's that closed up and empty bakery space in town. And a charming little house with a kitchen that needs a baker. Sophia's heart is torn between returning to NYC and her dream job and staying in her hometown. I loved Cake & Punishment I am looking forward to more in this series. This review will appear on retail sites, Good Reads and Net Galley. I received a complimentary copy.
Chatting-About-Cozies More than 1 year ago
Sophia Cummings left the hustle and bustle of New York City for much slower paced Rumford, Kentucky. Her relationship is in ruins, and resulted in her being fired from her job as a successful pastry chef. Sophia agrees to help bake pastries for several local events although she only plans to stay about a week longer. When Chef Emile at the country club is apparently murdered in cold blood; gossip says he had affairs with several of the club members, with or without their husbands’ knowledge. The number of people who disliked Emile is enormous and the suspect list is long. When Sophia casually starts snooping and asking questions, her life is threatened. Can the handsome Police Chief Carter pinpoint a killer and keep Sophia safe from harm? I found this story a scrumptious debut cozy from Maymee Bell (aka Tonya Kappes). It’s a well written and polished Southern cozy and I felt right at home and immediately immersed in the dialogue and scenes. The pacing is steady and held my interest at all times. I like when the protagonist finds what they’ve been looking for right in front of their eyes. I believe readers who are fans of culinary Cozies will love Cake and Punishment! I look forward to reading book two. The author includes some delicious sounding, down-home recipes!
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
Southern cozy at it’s finest, author Maymee Bell has penned what is sure to be one of the top new cozy mysteries of 2018. As a lover of culinary cozies, I had been looking forward to CAKE & PUNISHMENT since I first heard about it. Starting a new series can be a bit dicey. You’re never sure if it will live up to your expectations. I’m happy to say, this book did that and more! CAKE & PUNISHMENT drew me in immediately. Great characters, southern charm, detailed descriptions that made me feel like I was part of the story, and a truly wonderful murder mystery all kept me turning page after page until I was blindsided by the clever reveal. If you have to be choosy about what books you can buy, make sure CAKE & PUNISHMENT is one of the ones you choose. Seriously, a fabulous mystery, and tasty recipes, you won’t go wrong with this one!
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
What a fun cozy mystery with a southern drawl! A Kentucky drawl, to be precise, so you know I love it. Perfect for the armchair sleuth with a sweet tooth, this new series is off to a great start! Sophia is a little bit ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, returning home to small town Kentucky from her high-profile job as a pastry chef for an elite restaurant in Manhattan after she catches her chef boyfriend cheating on her with the hostess. Her group of long-time friends, not to mention her colorful mother, are the perfect counterparts to Sophia – not to mention the swoony sheriff Carter with the slow drawl who is smitten with Sophia from the get-go. Loved the romance angle to this story! (I’m sure none of you are surprised lol) It’s just so tender while at the same time completely knee-weakening. The mystery is very well-plotted and is the perfect blend of amateur sleuthing and consulting with the swoony sheriff. I thought I had it figured out a couple of times, only to discover that I didn’t. By the end, I knew who the murderer was before Sophia did – or at least I thought I did – but the story itself is so enjoyable that it really didn’t matter. Bottom Line: Nobody does small town Kentucky quite like Maymee Bell and her alter ego, Tonya Kappes. Add in a delightful cast of quirky and endearing characters, one swoony sheriff, delectable baked goods, and an intriguing cozy mystery with a whole menu of suspects. Stir things up a bit with a no-good ex. Blend in the perfect amount of nostalgia, wit, and some gorgeous Kentucky scenery and Voila! A delicious first book in what proves to be a wonderful new series! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will the recipes work at higher altitudes?
RachaelBrown More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this small town cozy mystery. There were several suspects to consider and I had fun trying to solve the murder. I look forward to the next novel in this series to see where the flirty relationship between Sophia and Sheriff Carter is headed. The recipes that are included in the book sound delicious. I can't wait to try them, especially the Banana Pudding Cupcakes!
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
Sophia Cummings has come back to her hometown of Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky to take a much needed breather from her everyday life. She found out that the man she was seeing was cheating on her and needed to get away, not only do they work together but they live together too. While in town her friend asks her to make her wedding cake, you see Sophia is a very talented pastry chef and she immediately says yes. The kitchen at the local Country Club has agreed to let Sophia make the cake there and she can't wait to get started but when she finds the body of the chef she doesn't know what to do. It looks like the man has been knocked over the head with a frying pan, but who would do such a thing and why? Sophia decides she must find out and before her friends wedding, she doesn't want anything to overshadow that day. Join in as Sophia asks questions to find out who had something against the chef that would cause them to commit murder. Along the way she is asked by several people to provide pastries for different occasions, that has her wondering does she want to return to her life or start anew in her home town. This was an amusing read that had me laughing throughout. Sophia is a truly wonderful character filled with plenty of spark and determination. I loved the relationship between her and her parents, the southern style made me think of parts of my own upbringing. I can't wait for the author to write the next chapter in Sophia's life!!!
Cozyfan75 More than 1 year ago
I did not want this book to end, that's how good it was! From the small town Southern setting to the amazing characters and their overall chemistry with one another, I loved everything there was about this mystery. I do admit that I was able to guess the killer but it was fun seeing how that person got caught. Retribution came swiftly to the killer at the end, but to me it was very satisfying. Sophia Cummings was head pastry chef for The Manhattan, an exclusive New York restaurant, who, after finding her boyfriend Noah, their main chef, with the hostess, needed some time away to keep herself sane. She came back to her hometown of Rumford, KY where just about right away she found herself the cake baker for her good friend Charlotte's wedding. The more word spread about Sophia's amazing desserts, the more people just assumed she would be staying. Sophia even let herself dream about staying every so often when she saw that the local bakery had closed. Conveniently, her friend Madison was the listing agent for it as well as a very cute little cottage. Sophia didn't think there would ever be a murder in this small town but when the country club chef was found dead and Evelyn, the general manager became the main suspect, Sophia felt it was only right to clear her longtime friend who had given her her first job right there at the country club. Hopefully Sophia and her other friend Madison can figure out who the killer is before Sophia becomes the next one killed! This book had so many fun and likable characters! Sophia's mom, Bitsy, was a real trip! She had a way of getting her way all the time but everyone loved her for the kind person she was. I felt like any of the main characters would make for some really good friends especially Madison and Charlotte. At first I wasn't sure whether to trust Charlotte's fiance Brett or some of the other suspects to choose from. I did pick the correct one but I feel like the author helped a lot by planting clues that I picked up on. I could totally picture this book as a TV mystery movie since it has everything they look for in a very sweet but compelling mystery. There was a wedding, a budding romance, a few tense or scary moments but the very happy ending that I always love when I read a cozy mystery. This book fit everything I have come to expect in a great cozy! I absolutely cannot wait for the next book! There are some scrumptious sounding recipes at the end of the book, the items that were making me hungry reading about Sophia making them throughout the book. Enjoy!
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
Grab a glass of sweet tea or a cookie before you pick up Cake & Punishment by Maymee Bell. You will want a sweet treat while you are reading it !! ( You can thank me later....) Cake & Punishment introduces you to Sophia Cummings who returns home for a "short" visit after catching her boyfriend in the act. She thinks that she is only home for a short time to mend her broken heart but her mama, Bitsy, has a completely different plan. Within a matter of a New York minute of being back home in Rumford, Kentucky Sophia has agreed to make a wedding cake for her friend Charlotte. As they are discussing the cake at the Country Club, they happen upon the body of Emile, the head cook of the Country Club. All Sophia wants to do is make Charlotte's wedding cake but when the manager of the Country Club hits the top of the list of murder suspects, she finds herself knee deep in investigating. This puts her in hot water with the Sheriff. Unfortunately Bitsy and friends are hoping to keep Sophia and the Sheriff together personally ..... not professionally. I just LOVED the Southern town feel of Cake & Punishment !!! And having the main character a baker who only wants to bake treats and make everyone feel good is always a win in my book. The relationships that develop throughout the story leave the reader looking forward to the next installment of The Southern Cake Baker Mystery series. I, for one, cannot wait to see what recipe Sophia bakes up.....
DanieleK More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars CAKE AND PUNISHMENT, the first book in the Southern Cake Baker Mystery series, is a quick read, as fluffy as the finest buttercream frosting. Here we meet head pastry chef Sophia Cummings as she comes home to lick her wounds after discovering that her chef boyfriend Noah has been cheating and she is apparently the last to know. She keeps telling herself that she is only going to stay for a couple of weeks but is more than willing to step up and bake her childhood friend’s wedding cake after the original baker cancels. Things run awry when Emile, the country club’s chef is found dead in the club’s kitchen. Maymee Bell’s breezy, conversational writing style makes the pages fly by and is enormously entertaining. Bell writes what she knows best, small southern towns with quirky residents and even quirkier vernacular. The characters here are likable, if not very deep, and Sophia makes a competent amateur sleuth. The mystery is a tad predictable, but there are a few twists thrown in to keep it interesting. As one might expect, there are plenty of descriptions of delicious sounding baked goods, and the recipes included at the back of the book are appealing. Overall, CAKE AND PUNISHMENT is a good start to the new series that fans of culinary cozy mysteries will want to seek out. I received an ARC of this title from the author/publisher and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell is the first tale in A Southern Cake Baker Mystery series. Sophia Cummings, a pastry chef, has returned home for a visit to Rumford, Kentucky after finding her boyfriend, Noah in a compromising position with the maître d’ where they work. At the Rumford Country Club (RCC) she encounters her friend, Charlotte Harrington who is getting married in a few days. Charlotte’s cake baker has quit, and Sophia offers to make her a beautiful wedding cake. The next day they head to the RCC kitchen and find Chef Emile dead on the floor with a new cast iron skillet nearby. When Evelyn Moss, the RCC manager, becomes the primary suspect, Sophia sets out to prove her innocence (plus she is plain curious). To help out Evelyn and for a chance to snoop, Sophia agrees to be Emile’s replacement until a new chef can be hired (oh dear—can you see where this is heading). Emile may have been a good chef, but he was lacking in the personality department. Sheriff Carter Kincaid may wish Sophia would keep her nose out of his investigation, but he does enjoy spending time with her and Sophia does uncover some helpful information. Which one of the people Chef Emile antagonized whacked him with an iron skillet? Sophia needs to work quickly, or she will find herself the latest resident of the Rumford cemetery! Cake and Punishment is a humorous new Southern cozy mystery written by Tonya Kappes using the non de plume of Maymee Bell. It is a light-hearted story full of quirky characters and small-town charm. Gossip spreads faster than a forest fire during a dry spell in Rumford, Kentucky. Sophia’s mother, Bitsy is a force to be reckoned with. When she sets her mind upon a task, people need to watch out (especially Sophia). Sophia is a pastry chef who loves to bake and goes around with baked goods in her bag (which makes her a very popular person). It was entertaining to see her get pulled back into her hometown and the subtle hints from friends about how they would like her to stay. I thought Cake and Punishment contained good writing and a steady pace. I would like for better character development. We get to know very little about Sophia’s past and we are not given the last names of many characters. The mystery had misdirection and a few suspects. Avid mystery readers will have no problem pinning down the killer’s identity. There is flirtation and attraction between Sophia and Carter which is helped along by Bitsy Cummings. There are delectable baked good descriptions included in the book with recipes at the end. I appreciated the addition of little libraries in the story. They are a great way to get people of all ages to read. We have several in my community with one being just down in the street in my local park (I am a frequent visitor). Cake and Punishment is an entertaining story that will have you chuckling frequently.
LGHudson More than 1 year ago
INTRIGUING! Very nice introduction to the new Southern Cake Baker Mystery Series! Word of Caution: you will be hungry while you read about all the delicious desserts, cookies and cakes the lead character creates! Small town charm is working to lure Sophia Cummings back from her dream job as Pastry Chef at The Manhattan in New York. She comes home for a visit for all the wrong reasons but she may discover that all the right answers may be found in her hometown of Rumford. That is if she survives a little mystery, mayhem and a whole lot of murder! I was provided an ARC of this book but the opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
LGHudson More than 1 year ago
INTRIGUING! Very nice introduction to the new Southern Cake Baker Mystery Series! Word of Caution: you will be hungry while you read about all the delicious desserts, cookies and cakes the lead character creates! Small town charm is working to lure Sophia Cummings back from her dream job as Pastry Chef at The Manhattan in New York. She comes home for a visit for all the wrong reasons but she may discover that all the right answers may be found in her hometown of Rumford. That is if she survives a little mystery, mayhem and a whole lot of murder! I was provided an ARC of this book but the opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Shelly9677 More than 1 year ago
This is an enjoyable start to a new series. Cake and Punishment is the debut book in A Southern Cake Baker Mystery series. Sophia, a pastry chef in NYC, discovers her boyfriend Noah has been cheating on her, so she heads home to bucolic Rumford, Kentucky. But things aren’t as peaceful as they appear to be. A chef turns up dead and there are quite a few people who wanted him that way. This book is perfect for readers who love quirky characters and thick southern charm.
CozyOnUp More than 1 year ago
I had no idea Maymee Bell was a pen name for one of my favorite authors, Tonya Kappes. But no surprise when I did find out because I completely fell into this new series without looking back. Pastry chef Sophia Cummings heads home to Rumford, Kentucky after finding her chef boyfriend exchanging more than recipes with one of their coworkers. While trying to ease her broken heart, Sophia reconnects with old friends and steps in to save the day of one her high school BFF’s when her baker quits right before her wedding. Vowing to help Charlotte have her fairly tale wedding, Sophia finds hers of pulled into a murder investigation and filling in for the murdered chef at the local country club. But will Sophia keep the wedding on track and not let it be delayed? She will do her best to be the best friend she should have been over the past ten years since graduation. The story has a great plot, well develop d characters, and just the right amount of romance and mystery. Tonya has done it again and now I have another series to add to my list of must read books!