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Sugar and Iced: 11/29/21
Sugar and Iced by Jenn McKinlay is the sixth Cupcake Bakery mystery. Mel's mother is a judge at the Sweet Tiara beauty pageant and she's gotten the bakery to provide cupcakes for the contest. Oz's skating pal, Lupe, is entering the contest for the scholarship; she wants to attend Stanford. Mel who hates all things beauty themed is reluctant to involve her beloved bakery or to encourage Lupe.
Of course there's a murder. This time it's a judge who got into an argument with Lupe. To protect her, Mel and Angie decide to solve the murder while working the pageant. Sleuthing, though, will reveal even more of the dark underside of the beauty industry.
The mystery itself is pretty straightforward. The clues are well spread out and easy to spot for an observant reader (or attentive listener). The barebones of the book — the mystery and the character development of Lupe — I thoroughly enjoyed.
But the book is bogged down with even more relationship melodrama between Mel and Joe. When she finally comes to her senses, of course there has to be a cliffhanger involving unsavory people in Joe's life who want to harm him by harming her. It's a trite plot twist and makes for a disappointing ending.
The seventh book is Dark Chocolate Demise (2015).