Review: To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark

20 Jan

To Have and to Kill: A Wedding Cake Mystery (Wedding Cake Mysteries)My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like To Have and to Kill, and in the end I did. Unfortunately, it was the “just liked” kind of like, not the enthusiastic kind.

Summary via

Piper Donovan never imagined that decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous! A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper moves back in with her parents to take stock of her life. She steps tentatively into the family bakery business and finds herself agreeing to create a wedding cake for the acclaimed star of a daytime television drama. But soon someone close to the bride-to-be is horribly murdered and it seems that somebody is ruthlessly determined to stop the wedding.

With the help of her former neighbor, Jack, a handsome FBI agent with a soft spot for the gorgeous cake-maker, Piper moves closer to the truth. As she narrows in on a suspect, Piper realizes that it’s hotter in the kitchen than she may be able to handle. . . .

Something about the writing style didn’t quite work for me. The sentences were short, without much detail. This may be a purely personal thing, but somehow it never drew me into the world of the book.

Piper was an interesting character, at least on the surface. She had lots going on in her life, including her relationships with friends and family. I never felt I really got to know Piper, even though I was told a lot about her, including her thoughts and plans. I did like the fledgling love interest with her friend, and hope that develops in future books.

The mystery would have drawn me in if I’d been more attached to the characters. Unfortunately, I wasn’t convinced by the motive at the end– I’d examined the character and dismissed them as a suspect because the motive didn’t seem compelling enough.

I was drawn to this book due to the wedding cake angle. There isn’t much of that world in this book, although I enjoyed what was there. Instead, I saw lots of the world inside a soap opera, which I loved! That was the best aspect of the book for me.

I haven’t read Mary Jane Clark before. I’m interested in picking up one of her other books, since I’d love the same look into the TV News world as I did into the world of the soaps, and I think the writing style could work more for me with a thriller than a cozy-ish mystery.

I requested an electronic copy of To Have and to Kill from Harper Collins via NetGalley. Thank you to everyone involved for this opportunity.


Posted by on January 20, 2011 in books, reviews


Tags: , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Review: To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark

  1. Marce

    January 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I keep seeing this one but think I will pass, I may try this author next year.


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