Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Review: Hard Dough Homicide by Olivia Matthews


About the Book

Cozy Mystery


St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Release Date
May 23, 2023

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Someone in Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean neighborhood has an appetite for murder in Olivia Matthews' Hard Dough Homicide.

Spice Isle Bakery owner Lyndsay Murray is always looking for new ways to grow her family’s business. But she already regrets agreeing to host the retirement dinner for local high school principal Emily Smith. The tyrant used to be her mother's boss and they did not get along. Six guests arrive for the celebration, but only five survive. Emily starts convulsing―right after eating the curry chicken―and dies soon after. It’s not long before the police are knocking on Spice Isle’s door, bringing the Murray family back into the heart of another murder investigation―driving away customers in the process. Lyndsay can't help but wonder if this is the end of the bakery, even though it's just begun. She must put aside her reservations about investigating another crime, because the Murrays refuse to go down without a fight.

My Review

Opening the Spice Isle Bakery has always been Lyndsay Murray’s dream.  With the help of her huge family, her dreams are coming true.  Unfortunately, there have been a couple of snags along the way. Right after opening day, a murder occurs, and her bakery is implicated.  Once the crime was solved, the bakery began doing well.  Now, tragedy has struck once again.

Against her better judgment, Lyndsay accepts a hosting job to celebrate Emily Smith’s retirement as the local high school principal.  Lyndsay’s mom used to work for her.  To say they didn’t get along would be an understatement.  However, her family agrees to host the event as it would be good for business.  It turns out to be a very small affair that turns into a nightmare.  Suddenly, Emily has convulsions after eating the food and dies.  

The police have their eyes on Lyndsay’s mom as the prime suspect.  Word gets out that the bakery is a dangerous place to eat and business starts to sink.  Worried for both her mother and the bakery, Lyndsay does her own investigation.  With the help of her family, they search for a killer.  Although the police are only focusing on one suspect, Lyndsay finds there were quite a number of people who had stronger motives than her mother.

This is the second book in the series.  I loved the first and this is even better.  The first thing I love with this series is the closeness of the Murray family.  It even includes extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins.  They are all there for each other and help Lyndsay whenever they can.  Each one has a distinct personality from her protective brother to her feisty grandmother.  

The author does a great job of painting the setting with a Caribbean flavor in a small Brooklyn neighborhood.  The love the town shows for Lyndsay and her family comes right through each page. 

The storyline moves at a nice pace. It’s fun to try and put this jigsaw puzzle of a mystery together along with Lyndsay and her investigative team.  I was convinced I had it all figured out pretty early in the book, but I was totally off base.  It took me by surprise and that made me enjoy it even more.

Olivia Matthews is fast becoming a favorite of mine.  I love her writing style and the way she has built up the family drama.  There’s even a hint of romance in the air.  We’ll have to see how that goes in future books.

I’m looking forward to another exciting entry into this series.  I hope it will be soon.  I’m already missing these characters.

For reading challenges:

NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2023
Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2023
Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge 2023
Craving for the Cozies Reading Challenge 2023

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. This one sounds fun. The title and cover made me snicker. LOL

  2. I'm almost done with this one and really enjoying it! Now I need to go read the first one. I missed it when it came out.

  3. I'm enjoying this series too. And it makes me want to try baking some of the recipes.


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