The Golden Spoon

golden spoon jacket

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

I am definitely the target audience for this debut mystery set during a baking competition set on the grounds of a mansion, but other reviewers rate it more highly than I do, including Janet Evanovich. Betsy Martin hosts the reality TV show Bake Week on the grounds of Grafton, the Vermont estate where she grew up. The baking tent has everything the six bakers might need, but this time there’s another judge, handsome pastry chef Archie Morris. Bakers give up their phones and have bed and board (and lots of wine) in the manor house, leaving the morning after they are eliminated in the competition. The chapters are narrated in turn by each baker and Betsy. As the whole book is written in the first person, I kept turning to the beginning of a chapter to remember who was narrating, as their voices aren’t distinctive until later in the book. Glitches start happening in the baking tent, such as a fridge door being left open and sugar and salt containers being mixed up. Older baker Lottie has a secret past at Grafton, while Hannah and Stella are the younger attractive bakers, along with rich Pradyumna. Peter and Gerald are the other bakers, who don’t find the competition judged fairly. The mystery is quite clever, and the setting of a crime during a dark and stormy night is nicely atmospheric, with some of the competitors finally coming together for safety, and to solve the crime. If you enjoy locked room mysteries and value a clever plot over rich characterization, this will be delicious reading. A Netflix series is planned; this should film very well. Bonus: the author is a cartoonist for The New Yorker, as Jessica Olien.


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