Author: Harper Lin
The main reason I picked up this book was its cover. I know it sounds absurd but it’s true. Come on! It has a colourful pastry and an amazingly attractive coffee on its cover. Appearances can be deceiving, as many say. Thank Goodness! It wasn’t the case with this book. The book was as delicious as cupcakes and as refreshing as a delightful cappuccino.
Corpse is a strong word and could automatically be associated with brutal murders. But this book doesn’t match the term. Don’t get me wrong. This book does have a murder, a corpse and an investigation but it’s not like those in our usual crime thrillers. This story is pleasant and the setting is magnificent. Cape Bay. The characters are adorable and you just don’t feel the time passing as you read this book.
Francessca aka Franny shifts to Cape Bay to take over the family Café after the demise of her mother. Her poor relationship choices and failure in her career supported her decision to move back to her hometown. Every day, she makes decorative cappuccinos and tasty pastries for her tourist customers. She is still low after the death of her mother and has plunged into work to distract herself from her distressed life. One day, on her way back home, she finds Mr Cardosi sitting in his garden. When she doesn’t get a response for her greetings, she checks him to find him dead. Initially, she doesn’t think about this death much but when suspicion dawns it to be a murder, Franny is interested. She finds a purpose for her life which she had been missing all the while. She gets the support of Mathew aka Matty, Mr Cardosi’s son, and the two of them begin their amateur investigation. Bold – Amateur. It’s really enjoyable to see them investigating in the most basic manner, like how a common man would think. They don’t have the resources; they don’t have the skill; but they have the determination. One small clue leads to another. They weave their own theories and hunt for proofs to back them. But all the while, the name of the murderer lies hidden within Mr Cardosi’s possessions.
The beauty of this story is the setting. Cape Bay. It’s a calm, peaceful tourist spot with a magnificent weather. It’s a small town. The neighbourhood is very friendly. Everyone knows everyone. They are all family. Even a small news spreads quickly. It’s really refreshing to read a locality like this considering the busy crowded life we live in. Equally adorable is the relationship between Franny and Matty. They are childhood friends. They have played together most of their growing up years. Education and career had taken them to different places and they had immersed in their own lives. The sudden death of Mr Cardosi brings them back together. They reminisce the wonderful time they had spent together, share their worries and sorrows. There are some very sweet and funny moments between them which are thoroughly enjoyable.
Characterwise- Franny and Matty are both so real. They are normal with no extraordinary traits. Franny is a depressed soul who is trying to fight her way back into a normal life. Matty’s entry into her life brings the much needed brightness. Her investigation is very engaging. Matty, on the other hand, is a calm and a sane man. Till before meeting Franny again, his life had only his work. He opens up to her and brings out his humorous side too. The supporting characters are nicely written. They have small roles of little significance to the story. One of my favourite parts of this story is the investigation conducted by the police and how they are out-smart the amateur investigators. Just because our leads are in pursuit of the murderer doesn’t mean their methods are correct. They cannot be better than the police, can they? At the same time, I was a little confused over the procedures. Wouldn’t the police have confiscated all the important belongings of the victim, those things which might present them with a clue to the murderer? How come everything was still at Mr Cardosi’s house for Franny and Matty to rummage through?
On the whole, Cappuccinos, Cupcakes and a Corpse is a refreshing read. It’s not extraordinary but it is so engaging that it’s difficult to put down. It’s light and entertaining. The investigation part is sufficient. The setting is soothing. It’s a quick read too. Recommended.