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

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

3.8 273
by Mary Jane Clark

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“Clark has perfected the suspense novel.”

New York Times bestselling author and mystery writer par excellence, Mary Jane Clark kicks off her delicious new Wedding Cake mystery series with To Have and To Kill. A tasty departure from her thrillers featuring KEY News television anchor Eliza Blake (Dying


“Clark has perfected the suspense novel.”

New York Times bestselling author and mystery writer par excellence, Mary Jane Clark kicks off her delicious new Wedding Cake mystery series with To Have and To Kill. A tasty departure from her thrillers featuring KEY News television anchor Eliza Blake (Dying for Mercy, It Only Takes a Moment), To Have and To Kill introduces readers to actress-turned-wedding cake decorator Piper Donovan, who discovers that the heat in the pastry kitchen can be hotter—and deadlier—that she ever imagined…and that her creative new enterprise is anything but a piece of cake. Foodies and fans of cable TV’s Amazing Wedding Cakes, as well as Faye Kellerman, Jayne Anne Krentz, and Diana Mott Davidson readers are going to eat this one up!

Editorial Reviews

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.)
USA Today
“She understands how to hang on to her audience. Her characters are the sorts with whom many readers identify.”
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.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Piper Donovan Series , #1
Sales rank:
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.

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To Have and to Kill 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 273 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
MysteryLover100 More than 1 year ago
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!
bookfairyJL More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pls preface your reviews with SPOILER ALERT as a courtesy to those of us who have not yet read the book.
poosie More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and as a result have added a new author to my list of those to follow!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Michelle1948 More than 1 year ago
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!!
tamica426 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK but certainly not Mary HIGGINS Clark
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
missmary50 More than 1 year ago
If you like a mystery and cake decorating you will love the book!!! Fast paced, easy to read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice pleasant mystery. An easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to spend a delightful afternoon, a rainy evening, read each and every one of Mary Jane Clark's books. I loved all of them. Using my Nook, I can buy at midnite, whenever, not have to find room on my overflowing bookshelves for room, and take it with me wherever I go. Much as I love books, the Nook is wonderfully handy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Kay Dalke More than 1 year ago
Well written! The author kept me guessing and I have to admit I was always wrong! Great read and would recommend!
Anonymous 5 months ago
This was the first book by Mary Jane Clark I have read, but it won't be the last. The mystery was interesting and the characters were well developed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a fairly interesting murder mystery as the main plot. However, other than be at the scene of, or knowing the victims, Piper doesn't do much of anything. She doesn't work to solve the case. She just thinks about it and works at the bakery. I didn't find her interaction with the mystery aspect of the book to be all that compelling. It would basically have been the same mystery without her. Still, it's a quick read and if you like baked goods and/or TV soap operas, this might be for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was caught up immediately from the very first chapter and read it until finished in the first day. Really engaging
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago