Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Golden Spoon

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell
3/7/23; 288 pages
Atria Books

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell is a highly recommended locked-room mystery.

It's the tenth season of Bake Week, a TV baking competition show filmed at the Grafton Manor, home of celebrated baking legend and the ultimate judge of all baked goods, Betsy Martin. Six contestants arrive at the estate in the mountains of Vermont: Hannah, Stella, Gerald, Lottie, Peter, and Pradyumna. This years competition includes a co-host, award-winning baker, Archie Morris, who will join Betsy in judging the baked goods. As the competition begins, something is immediately amiss. Peter's first baking efforts are sabotaged when the contents of his sugar canister is replaced with salt. Several other subtle but subversive incidents occur so by day three it is clear that someone is undermining the competition. But the competition turns deadly when a body shows up

After the opening scene which informs the readers that a body will be found, the six contestants are all introduced with a brief biography along with the pertinent staff for the show. The contestants are all very different and readers will easily be able to keep track of who is who. It is also revealed rather early in the plot that not everyone is exactly who they say they are and may have other motives.

The characters are portrayed more as caricatures of a certain type of individual so the bulk of the character development is along these lines. Not all characters are fully realized as individuals. The plot is formulaic, so presenting the characters all as a different type of person follows the conventional choice for the classic theme of a locked-room mystery.

The plot moves quickly and The Golden Spoon is an entertaining, comfortable locked room mystery with aspects of a cozy mystery. Apparently this may be made into a Hulu miniseries, which would be a great choice.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss.

No comments: