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Murder by the Slice (Fresh-Baked Mystery #2)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  625 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
At this year's school carnival fund-raiser, the obnoxious president of the Parent Teacher Organization is found stabbed through the heart with Phyllis Newsom's own knife, with traces of incriminating frosting. Clearing her name will be no piece of cake...
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Gotham Books (first published 2007)
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Feb 17, 2010 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: livia-washburn
Murder By The Slice, the second book in the Fresh-Baked Mystery series, was a delightful read. Back in Weatherford TX, Phyllis Newsom and her friends are enjoying a warm autumn day when they are enlisted to take part in the local elementary school fund-raising carnival. Their assigned job will be to run a bake sale which rapidly turns into a cake auction and healthy snack contest. As the competition between Phyllis and her long-time rival Carolyn heats up, the controversy begins too. The quick-t ...more
Apr 04, 2009 Renee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-cozy
Every now and then I don't look closely enough at a book before I buy it; this time, I ran out of reading material in NJ two weeks ago and needed a quick fix. I can't recall whether I noticed that the protagonist was a retired schoolteacher, rather than a current teacher, but even if I had I doubt that I would have expected the moral high horse she rode in on. Apparently there's a market for these books (yes, she's written more than one in the series) -- probably elderly women who despair of tod ...more
Emily Cullen
Feb 26, 2017 Emily Cullen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retired schoolteacher Phyllis Newsom is drafted to be a part of the PTO's upcoming elementary school carnival and finds the PTO president to be close to despotic. Shannon Dunston had plenty of people who didn't like her, and after she is stabbed Phyllis is found with the murder weapon. I really like the "Fresh-Baked Mystery" cozy series. Good stories, yummy food, plus I am enjoying the beginnings of a romance between her and one of her roommates, Sam.
Penny McGill
Oct 09, 2013 Penny McGill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy
Fantastic cozy. Way, way better than average. This mystery-solving woman is a retired school teacher living in a home she shares with several other retired teachers. She is a widow with an adult son who is a police detective (hooooray!) and her possible romantic interest is a handyman Texan who looks good in his jeans.

When Phyllis and her friends meet a casual acquaintance from church - busy mother from the local PTO - they are coaxed into using their baking and organizing skills to support a s
May 14, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it is a case of 'overkill' on my part (no pun intended) but "Murder by the Slice" seems to be nothing but a knock off of the Laura Childs tea house mysteries.

It has the same format even down to the recipes in the back of the book. But, somehow, I feel that a 'recipe' for a Giant Hostess Cupcake that calls for 2 cake mixes and a jar of marshmallow creme really doesn't qualify as a recipe.

While Livia Washburn's writing is pleasant enough, it tends to rely on 'page filling'. By that
Mar 31, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite kind of book - good solid mystery, interesting characters, no offending language or situations, just easy and fun to read - with some recipes at the end. I eagerly look forward to reading the rest of this series. (These "Fresh Baked Mystery" books, borrowed from the Library, are several years old but look brand new - is no one else reading these?)
Mar 14, 2008 Cyndee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could maybe rate a 3.5. It was better than I had anticipated perhaps because of the setting: an elementary school, with all the memories that provides.
Nov 20, 2016 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
A new series of cozies for me. I enjoyed it. Plus they are set in Texas.
Cheryl Bradley
Feb 02, 2017 Cheryl Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phyllis Newsom, a retired history teacher, is working a bake sale in Weatherford, TX with her fellow roommates, all retired teachers, when Phyllis and her roommate Carolyn Wilbarger find themselves recruited to help with the bake sale at the Oliver Loving Elementary School fall carnival. Phyllis is on the fence about helping with the bake sale but knows the money raised will go to a good cause. When Phyllis and Carolyn attend their first carnival-planning PTO meeting, they find the president of ...more
So recently I got some good deals on Amazon & Barnes & Noble gift certificates.

So, what did I buy?

Well, books of course!

I decided to try out this new baking/cooking mystery series.

Recently, I reviewed the first book in the series, A Peach of a Murder.

Today I will be reviewing the second:

Murder By The Slice by Livia J. Washburn

As I said, this is the second book in Livia J. Washburn's A Fresh-Baked Mystery series.

You can read my review of the first book A Peach of a Murder, here: http://bo
I discovered cozy murder mysteries relatively recently, and they’re perfect for reading on a cold dark winters’ night, wrapped in a blanket, warmed by a cup of hot cocoa perhaps. Murder by the Slice by Livia J. Washburn is set around Halloween, so perhaps some seasonal cookies or cake would help too—a slice of jack-o-lantern cake perhaps, with orange and green frosting. The author provides some interesting recipes in the back of the book, and her decorated cake reminded me of days when I used to ...more
Themes: cozy mystery, school setting
Setting: Weatherford, Texas

Phyllis Newsome, retired schoolteacher, is recruited to help with the local elementary school's fall carnival bake sale and cake auction. She owns a large house and rents rooms out to fellow retired teachers, so they get involved in the school activity. But in the middle of the cake auction, the body of the PTO president is discovered - murdered.

The woman managed to fight with everyone who knew her, so there's no shortage of suspects
May 29, 2014 Liora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Phyllis Newsome, a retired teacher, gets involved in a PTO fundraiser for a nearby elementary school. Then, the president of the PTO, a difficult person who doesn't get along with anybody, is found murdered. Phyllis reluctantly finds herself in the middle of the investigation.

I found this installment somewhat boring. Boring characters, non-descript small town setting, and lacklustre plot. A lot of the writing is centered on Phyllis' various thoughts about the investigation, but also thoughts an
Tabby Kat
May 15, 2008 Tabby Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
October in Texas means Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) fundraising carnivals at many of the elementary schools. Retired teacher Phyllis Newsom always takes an interest in school happenings, but helping to organize the carnival for Oliver Loving Elementary School wasn't part of her plan. However, when a friend of Carolyn Wilbarger comes to her with a desperate plea for help with the bake sale, Carolyn and Phyllis reluctantly agree to assist.

Carolyn suggests a "healthy snack" contest in additio
Bonnie Drummond
Feb 05, 2017 Bonnie Drummond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like a Baking Mystery then this Series is for you A Fresh Baked Mystery by: Livia J. Washburn, I just finished reading book 2 ( Murder by the Slice ) was a fun read that takes place in an Elementary School where the PTO board is having a Carnival for a Fun-Raiser and murder follows lose behind. So Follow The Retired Teacher Phillis, Sam, Carolyn and Eve as they try to figure out who the murder is and way the school was broken into and things were stolen and the stolen money from the Carni ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Luffy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why is it that standard, unremarkable, and average murder mysteries partly do remain a mystery for me? I'll never know, except that I may be a little dim. But the classics of the genre don't beget that complaint. This particular book had a dedicated narration, with quite a chunk of it dedicated to ironing out the constraints of amateur investigation by the heroine, Phyllis. The murder took some time in coming, but every reader knew who would be killed. I really liked the way people of different ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I had started reading this book before and gave up on it. But I decided to give it another try. It was ok, nothing super. It is set around Halloween, and I love Fall, so thats why I wanted to read it, but I just didn't get the cozy Fall feeling of the book. And Phyllis still annoys me. She just seems mean. And she and Sam just need to hook up and get it over and done with. In this book, the rude president of the PTO ends up dead, and since everyone hated her, everyone is a suspect. The PTO group ...more
Oct 25, 2015 Sheri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading books from this mystery series with Phyllis, Sam and Eve and Carolyn, former teacher's, finding and solving the murders of people involved this time in the school fund raiser to raise money for the school. The PTO committee has a woman in charge who is abrasive to the other members but gets the cake contest and healthy snacks contest under way. But the event is halted when the woman is found dead and the cash box is missing. Phyllis starts mulling over ideas and eventually pu ...more
Dec 11, 2016 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Enjoyable cozy mystery.
I will read more in the series.
Feb 25, 2010 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying this murder mystery series. It revolves around a retired school teacher, Phyllis Newsome. She owns a large house that she shares with her roomates - who are also retired school teachers. Phyllis' love of cooking and contests end up getting her involved in murders that happen during the contests or events going on in the book. Since she is retired she has plenty of time to think about the murders and meddle a bit. This series is like reading about the Golden Girls as detectives.
May 30, 2013 Kimberly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Phyllis and Sam! Eve is going to be pissed!
I shouldn't be annoyed at the fact that Phyllis is nosy and even a tad bit of a bully when she's trying to figure out what's going on. I figured out who was involved int he murder from the beginning, so it made reading about the investigation feel like everyone was going around in circles.
I have a feeling that once I move and unpack all my books, I'll be reaching for the third book in the series just to see if Eve blows her stack and moves out of the h
Aug 15, 2011 Jenne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Unlike the first book, it took a while until a murder actually occurred which was fine by mean. I can understand why some readers can get annoyed when the author dives into a page or two describing the recipe being made step-by-step. It only bothers me when it's done more than twice (even though once is enough). The murder suspect didn't quite surprise me or catch me off guard like in the first series. I wasn't expecting it, but it seemed almost obvious and there wasn't much of a twist. I still ...more
Dec 18, 2009 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book in the "Fresh-Baked Mystery" series but not as much as the first one. Phyllis and her band of housemates are involved in another murder, this time at an elementary school. Maybe that is what bothered me, having the murder happen at the school while a winter carnival was happening with all the children in attendance.

The recipes sound good, the mystery was tight and I didn't guess the killer, so all in all I liked the book, there was just some things that bothered me.

Still, I'll
Nov 02, 2011 Jenn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main character Phyllis is a retired school teacher who rents rooms in her house to three other retired school teachers. Her grown son is a deputy in the police force. Roped into helping with a school bake sale, she ends up in the middle of a murder investigation. My favorite line from the book is something along the lines of "teachers have experience determining if you're tellling the truth or not". I think this will be a fun series to read.
Brenda Kirton
Phyllis isn't the main suspect, nor is she the one to find the body this time. But she still manages to get involved. Phyllis and Carolyn and Sam all end involved in a school fund raising event. When the president of the PTO is found dead and the thereof them are nearby Phyllis starts asking questions. The mystery was good, the dialogue was solid. I enjoyed it. The book was good comfort food. A mystery that kept me interested and a culprit that wasn't easy to guess but still believable.
Deb Sharp
Another Fun read.

I enjoyed detail in this book, it made it all the more believable.
The Author does a great job keeping you guessing who the murderer could be.
I love the interaction with the main characters in the book, it made me feel like I actually knew them, or people like them :)
Giant wait to try a few of the recipes in the book.
Elizabeth Meadows
Since I come from a family of educators, this is the perfect book and series for me. The main character Phyllis and her friends (all retired teachers) get roped into helping with the school carnival where the PTO President is murdered.
The recipes in this book look great too. I am looking forward to trying some of them.
Oct 12, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really loving this series and can't wait to read the next one. In Murder by the Slice, Phyllis and her teacher friends help out at a fall/Halloween festival at a local school- and find the president of the PTO dead in the hallway. The book kept me guessing until the end and when I found out who the killer was it connected up nicely. A great fall read!
Dec 10, 2015 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really enjoyed the twist but Phyllis is such an annoying character. I was kind of hoping she had done it by the end because I was so over her smug dismissal of other women. It's weird, Washburn did such a great job with Delilah Dickinson, but she kind of dropped the ball with Phyllis. I'd rate her characterization 1 star but writing and twist ending higher.
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Under the names Livia J. Washburn and L.J. Washburn, Livia Reasoner has been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery, western, romance, and historical novels for more than thirty years. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories. She received the Private Eye Writers of America award and the American My ...more
More about Livia J. Washburn...

Other Books in the Series

Fresh-Baked Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • A Peach of a Murder (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #1)
  • The Christmas Cookie Killer (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #3)
  • Killer Crab Cakes (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #4)
  • The Pumpkin Muffin Murder (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #5)
  • The Gingerbread Bump-Off (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #6)
  • Wedding Cake Killer (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #7)
  • The Fatal Funnel Cake (A Fresh-Baked Mystery, #8)
  • Trick or Deadly Treat (Fresh-Baked Mystery, #9)
  • The Candy Cane Cupcake Killer (Fresh-Baked Mystery, #10)
  • Black and Blueberry Die (A Fresh-Baked Mystery Book 11)

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