Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.
If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .
Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .
Survival of the Fritters is a cozy mystery that features a quirky little donut shop called Deputy Donut. Emily Westhill and her father-in-law Tom named the shop after her cat, Dep (Deputy Donut). Cozy mysteries and food tend to go hand-in-hand and this book includes a lot of delicious looking recipes at the end.
When the gals from the local knitting group, the Knitpickers, ask her to join them in checking in on their friend, Emily doesn’t hesitate. However, as they arrive at Georgia’s house, they discover her lifeless body in the kitchen with a doll head shoved down her throat, donuts, and the donut box from Emily’s shop covering her face. As a former 911 operator and the widow of a police officer, Emily attempts to see if she can save poor Georgia. While it’s an honest effort, it’s too little too late and she winds up also messing with the crime scene. What happens afterwards is a whirlwind week of running the donut shop and slowly putting together the key pieces behind not only Georgia’s murder, but also the unsolved murder of Georgia’s son, Matthias five years earlier.
The author does a great job of creating an interesting plot and I honestly never figured out who was the murderer until she revealed it. The development of the plot was smooth and easy to follow along, while still easy to maintain my interest. Even the reflections upon Emily’s life with her deceased husband, fits naturally with the setting and doesn’t feel forced or redundant. This is nice, because it helps to develop the character of Emily. It also makes her relatable and realistic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I like the way the author has begun to develop not only the main characters, but some of the background characters. In my opinion, the strength of a cozy mystery is the quirky and unusual townspeople that add flavor, humor, and even mystery to these kinds of book. I would highly recommend this book for any lover of cozy mysteries and I look forward to reading the next book… and trying out those delicious looking recipes!