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Kinglet Books



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Murder is big news at a tiny tea party.

Cheese café owner Brianna West must cater an afternoon wedding on a neighboring island, thanks to her meddling aunt’s arrangement. Miniature animals fill the farm venue, and Brianna’s cream cheese sandwiches and parmesan twists must be tiny to match. But cute creatures can’t mask the ugliness of murder.

The groom’s grandmother drops dead from poison. Accusations stink like a pungent cheese, and suspicion lands on fellow cheese club member Magnus Pickleton. When a storm prevents police from arriving at the farm, wedding attendees take matters into their own hands. Brianna must find the real killer before they frame Magnus for the crime?


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Brianna West stared into the yellow eye of Zola. The goat stared back, unfazed by the attention.
“Ready?” Brianna said to the animal. She held a large pink yoga ball high above her head. “Steady? Go!”
She threw it hard across the pasture. With a flurry of hooves, the tiny goat skittered after the bouncing ball. Her short white fur gleamed in the early spring sun as she frisked and jumped. With Zola’s headbutt, the yoga ball flew even farther and hit the fence. It rebounded, and Zola butted it again.
Dot Dubois laughed heartily from behind them. Brianna brushed her brown curls away from her face and turned to grin at her aunt.
“She needed a run.” Brianna waved at the brilliant blue sky, the first they’d seen in weeks. “Now that winter might finally be over.”
“I think they call this false spring.” Dot leaned against the fence and raised her face to the beaming sun. Her short, grayish blonde hair shone in the light, and her teal peasant blouse fluttered in the mild breeze. “The rains will come back with a vengeance in April, mark my words. But for now, enjoy.”
“Every minute.” Brianna kicked the ball that Zola butted her way, and the goat sprang after the pink sphere.
“Oh, I have something to tell you,” Dot said in a too-casual tone.
Brianna squinted at her. “What kind of thing?”
“A good thing, I promise.” Dot took a deep breath. “Did I tell you that Zola and I went to Oak Island last week to visit the farm where she was born?”
“You’ve been meaning to do that for a while,” Brianna said. “But that doesn’t sound like something you desperately need to tell me.”
“No, that’s just the setup. Hold your horses.” Dot grinned. “You should see the ponies at this farm. They’re miniature—I mean, really small, the size of a big dog—and they’re the cutest things. One ate a carrot from my hand, and I nearly cried, it was so lovely.”
“This is that petting zoo farm that’s open to the public, isn’t it?” Brianna kicked the yoga ball again and sent it soaring across the pasture. “I forget its name.”
“Lilliput Farm, where everything is small, including all the animals. I bought Zola from there when the owner had too many kids born that year. I can’t wait for you to have children so I can whisk them away to Oak Island and hear their cries of delight at the miniature world just their size.”
“Slow down there, great-aunt Dot.” Brianna put her hands up. “I need to find a decent man first, and I’m not in any rush for that.”
Dot waved away her protestations. “You know what I mean. One day. But it’s the perfect place to take a child. It’s so picturesque, they even host weddings there occasionally.”
Dot threw Brianna a sidelong glance. Brianna narrowed her eyes.
“Are you leading up to whatever you wanted to tell me? I’m not in the market for wedding planning, either. What’s up with you today?”
“No, no, nothing like that. Now, don’t be mad, but I promised your catering services to the owner of Lilliput Farm. Celestine is lovely. You’ll like her.”
“You did what?” Brianna stared at her aunt, who had the grace to look chastened.
“It’s a small wedding, only thirty people or so. Next month.”
“You told someone I would cater a wedding?”
Zola ran up and butted the yoga ball into Brianna’s legs. She gathered her thoughts while she kicked the ball high in the air. Zola frisked after it.
What had Dot been thinking? Brianna had her hands full with her café, the Golden Moon. She had no interest or experience in catering events. The café didn’t even serve many savory dishes except for grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. She was a baker, not a cook.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” Brianna said once she’d turned back to her aunt. “I don’t know the first thing about catering.”
“This event is right up your alley.” Dot’s earnest face gazed at her imploringly. “It’s an afternoon event, so it will be a tea party. Sandwiches and baked goods, tea, everything you already make. It’s perfect.”
“I don’t have time to go to an event on Oak Island. Who is going to bake for the café while I’m gone?”
“I’ve been thinking about that.” Dot straightened her spine. “You work so hard. Have you taken time off since you started the café?”
Brianna’s lips thinned. “No,” she admitted. “But that’s how it is, starting a new business.”
“And that was true in the first few months. But it’s been almost a year. It’s time you thought about the long-term prospects of your work.” Dot put her hands on her hips triumphantly. “And, to that end, I have a job applicant for you.”
Brianna raised an eyebrow. As much as she loved her aunt, Dot wasn’t someone she would trust to make business decisions for her. The catering gig was a case in point.
Before Brianna could answer, Dot carried on. “Kathryn is an excellent baker in my walking group who worked for years at Nanaimo bakeries. She retired to Driftwood Island last year, but she’s as smart as a whip, and I’ve never seen her late to anything. She’s willing to work at the Golden Moon occasionally, but she’s not looking for a full or even part-time job. It’s perfect.”
“And you’ve already spoken to her, I hear.” Brianna rubbed her fingers against her temple, mustering patience.
“The wedding will be good money. And they’ll pay for travel costs, as well as provide a room the night before.”
“That’s a generous offer.”
“And this will be a great way to get your café’s name known on other islands,” Dot pressed. “Most of the attendees are local to the islands, or at least close by on the mainland. If it goes well, maybe this will be a new thing for you. Catering tea parties for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries…”
“If it goes well,” Brianna muttered. “That’s the key point.”
Despite herself, Brianna ran through the list of pastries and baked goods she offered in the café. What would she serve for a tea party wedding? Her trademark scones, of course, with a dollop of mascarpone and jam. Cream cheese sandwiches on her bestselling cheddar bread. Those mini cheesecakes that had grown popular and that she now served topped with whatever fruit was in season. Asiago crackers might even do the trick, maybe accompanying a charcuterie board.
“This is silly,” she said aloud. “It’s not in my plan at all. The café is doing so well. Why would I upset the applecart?”
“That’s when you try new things. When everything is going well, and you have the energy to branch out.” Dot tilted her head and gazed at her niece. “You don’t want to stagnate.”
Was that what she was doing? Brianna hardly thought so, but maybe Dot had a point. Not about her stagnating—the Golden Moon wasn’t even a year old—but about trying new things while life was good. It was a lot harder to innovate when fighting fires.
A blow hit her knee. Brianna stumbled sideways, accompanied by a bleat from Zola. The little goat, tired of being ignored in her game, had butted Brianna’s leg.
Dot chuckled. “See? Even Zola thinks you should go.”
Brianna squatted and scratched the coarse hair on Zola’s head. The little goat leaned into her touch.
“Give me the name and number of the baker,” Brianna said at last. “If, and only if, she turns out to be reliable, I’ll consider the catering event.”
“Kathryn is the best,” Dot assured her. “I’ll get details from Celestine at Lilliput Farm. It will be a wonderful opportunity, you’ll see.”
Brianna grunted in reply. She wouldn’t admit it to her aunt, but her stomach lurched with the beginnings of excitement. Providing food for a wedding was an entirely different game from her usual café work.
But she’d done nothing like it before. She’d only just figured out the Golden Moon. Did she really think she could tackle this new project?
“Push yourself,” Dot urged her, perhaps reading Brianna’s thoughts on her face. “You won’t know you can do it until you try.”
Brianna stared at her aunt. Maybe this catering thing was a good challenge. If it failed miserably, she could retreat to her café, lick her wounds, and vow never to cater again. If it worked, then she would have another facet to her business.
“I’ll consider it,” she promised Dot.


Murder and Mozzarella

Corkscrews and Camembert

Fraud and Feta

Poison and Parmesan

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