A Half-Baked Murder
by Emily George
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Pub Date 21 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 07 Mar 2023
Kensington Books, Kensington Cozies
Emily George launches a groundbreaking, irresistible new series unlike anything else out there, as twenty-eight-year-old California pastry chef Chloe Barnes takes her career higher, opening a cannabis café where she can use her Michelin-star skills to transform dry, bland pot brownies into gourmet treats. With a unique and culturally relevant hook, authentic fresh voice, and the classic tropes of the genre that all cozy fans love, everyone’s buzzing about the Cannabis Café Mysteries!
Formally trained pastry chef Chloe Barnes is opening a cannabis bakery. That’s not at all what the twenty-eight-year-old envisioned while living the dream in Paris with a hot fiancé and a Michelin star restaurant gig around the corner. But the rising “it girl” of choux puffs rethinks everything after a scathing food review and humiliating breakup make her long for home in sunny California. When her beloved grandmother falls ill, Chloe returns to quaint Azalea Bay to start over in the most satisfying way possible—concocting delicious edibles with her quirky Aunt Dawn.
Combining French luxury and THC, Baked by Chloe will take pot brownies to another level. That is, until a creepy past acquaintance rehashes old drama and shockingly turns up dead—landing Aunt Dawn as the number one murder suspect. Now, alongside her closest confidants, a stunned Chloe must alternate between budding entrepreneur and amateur sleuth to clear her aunt’s name, open the best bakery in town, and weed out the real culprit from a list of unsettling suspects!
“This fun and fact-filled thematic entry into the cozy mystery genre has it all… With increasing acceptance of cannabis as a supplement to medical care, this series starter helps normalize its use and promotes safe consumption, complete with designated drivers. Highly recommended.” – Library Journal, STARRED review
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 94 members
Omg I loved this!! Cozy Mysteries are what got me reading again a few years ago and I am so happy to have found another great series!
A Half-Baked Murder follows Chloe, a professionally trained Pastry Chef who's recently moved home to Azalea Bay, California from living abroad in Paris. After having her heart crushed by her then Fiance, who cheated on her with one of her assistants, Chloe is back home to help take care of her Grandma who has been diagnosed with Cancer. Her Aunt is determined to help Chloe put her Pastry skills to work in a whole new way... opening a Cannabis Cafe. Due to Grandma Rose using Cannabis to help with the pain of her Cancer treatments, Chloe has started making infused baked goods and with the perfect space opening up for lease, Aunt Dawn encourages her to bring a whole new world to Azalea Bay. When an unexpected murder takes the town by surprise, Aunt Dawn is somehow found to be the lead suspect in the murder, causing Chloe to set down her pastry blender and pick up her detective hat as she ventures out to prove her Aunt's innocence.
A Half-Baked Murder was everything I love in a Cozy Mystery, A well rounded, female amateur sleuth who is also a baker, loveable side characters, a picturesque small town and of course the Culinary trope. Chloe is truly such a great character, her dedication to her family, her humor and sarcasm, and the deep gratitude she has for her Grandparents were incredibly relatable for me and instantly made me love her. The originality of a Cannabis Bakery is stellar, the educational aspects of usage and what parts of the plant are non-psychoactive and which are makes this easy to digest for those who may have a bit of judgement surrounding the usage of Cannabis, especially in a medicinal manner. As someone who has been prescribed Cannabis for chronic pain, the representation isa breath of fresh air and I believe that humanizing it in this way is exactly whats needed to reduce the stigma of Cannabis as Medicine. I could go on and on about this topic, that said, I give Emily George props for the positive representation.
This series has so much potential and I am thrilled to find out whats next for Chloe! It's hard for me to think of things I didn't enjoy about this book, I had the best time reading it and I hope that you do too!