Someone has served up a show-stopping murder…
In Kilbane, conflicting opinions are plentiful. There’s one thing everyone agrees on though – the nearby bakery is the best in County Cork. It’s no wonder they’re about to be featured on a reality baking show.
But the competitors aren’t all are as sweet as their confections. There are shenanigans on the first day of filming that put everyone on edge. But they’re nothing compared to day two, when the first round ends and the top contestant is found face-down in her signature pie.
The producers decide to continue filming while Siobhán and her husband, Garda Macdara Flannery, sift through the suspects. Was this a case of rivalry turned lethal, or are their other motives hidden in the mix? And can they uncover the truth before another baker is eliminated permanently?
A fun cosy mystery for fans of Dee MacDonald and Frances Evesham.
At the start of O'Connor's excellent ninth Irish Village mystery (after 2022's Murder on an Irish Farm), a protester shouts, "Join the health revolution. Sugar is not your friend," outside Pie Pie Love, "Kilbane's best bakery housed in a historic flour mill," where a reality baking show is about to be filmed over the coming week. "Neither is noise-pollution before coffee," thinks garda Siobhán O'Sullivan, who's part of the security team for the show. The anti-sugar protestor collapses, possibly from an allergic reaction, after one of the contestants, Aoife McBride (aka "the Queen baker of Ireland"), puts makeup on his face for the camera. Later, a representative of the show's anonymous sponsor creates complications by providing the contestants with what he calls "secret weapons," which could be "a special ingredient, a new piece of equipment, or a coveted recipe." When one of the contestants dies under mysterious circumstances, Siobhán investigates, even as the show must go on. Distinctive, captivating characters match a gripping plot full of surprises. O'Connor reinforces her place among the top rank of cozy writers.