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Undercover Cat #1

The Cupcake Caper

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Science is about solving puzzles. Why should solving a murder be any different?Dr. Bree Watson (aka Gabriella Catherine Mayfield-Watson) is comfortable solving chemistry problems. She isn’t comfortable finding her boss dead and being a suspect in his poisoning. Now she’s •A sexy marketing manager—who may, or may not—be a contract killer. •A handsome lead detective whose interest goes beyond the case. •The dead man’s cranky cat. •A goose-chasing dog in hot water with an animal rights group. •The search for the perfect cupcake recipe. •And, of course, someone who wants her out of the picture.And she thought getting a Ph.D. was hard.

284 pages, Paperback

First published September 29, 2016

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About the author

Kelle Z. Riley

22 books76 followers
Kelle Z. Riley, writer, speaker, global traveler, Ph.D. chemist and martial artist weaves bits of her real life into the Undercover Cat Series books. The series features a scientist-turned-sleuth who juggles mystery, romance and the search for a perfect cupcake recipe.

By day Kelle is a full time chemist working in water treatment with multiple U.S. patents. At night she turns into an author whose accolades include finals in the RWA Golden Heart and numerous chapter contests. More information on her workshops can be found on her website.

Kelle can be reached at www.facebook.com/kellezriley www.twitter.com/kellezriley and www.kellezriley.net

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,373 reviews340 followers
March 19, 2022
The Cupcake Caper by Kelle Z Riley
Undercover Cat #1. Cozy mystery expanded.
Dr Bree Watson finds her boss dead on the floor in front of his desk. In defense of the grisly scene, she retreats to her habits of science and analysis creating a notebook of her observations. She investigates by talking to her coworkers and sharing her findings with the Detectives in charge.

A smart mystery sleuth rather than chance. Bree was impressive with her science while the cat played both helpful and cuddly. Matt was smarmy as an undercover PI.
Plenty of twists and intrigue and overall a good mystery.
Profile Image for Jean.
757 reviews20 followers
May 2, 2017
A book titled The Cupcake Caper that cleverly uses the image of a cat for the “A” in “Caper”…How much cozier could a whodunit get, right? This clever little puzzler isn't always so comfy, however, as it involves some real danger to humans, as well as a few animals. I wasn’t hooked right from the get-go, as the first chapter registered a bit high on my snooze meter, but I quickly awoke when Bree, a Ph.D. for Chemical Industries Corporation, finds her boss dead and not surprisingly, becomes one of the chief suspects. To be fair, I glanced over the beginning chapter again after finishing the book and now give it higher marks.

Gabriella Catherine Mayfield-Watson, known as Bree, is a different kind of amateur detective. She’s not a busybody old lady or someone’s neighbor or even a minister. She’s an intelligent, educated woman who understands how to solve problems using science. Science, it should be pointed out, is often quite useful in solving crimes. Bree, therefore, puts her problem-solving skills to work and attempts to figure out who would want Buckminster “Buckster” Davis dead, and who would want to frame her for the murder. As for the former, there are plenty of people who disliked Buckster and aren’t sorry he’s gone, but would any of them be backhanded enough to try to frame Bree? Worse yet, if she continues to poke around playing detective, despite the warnings of the police, will she become a victim herself?

In the process of all of this, she gains a cat. He’s not just any cat. No, this cat once belonged to Buckster, and he’s sort of a wild child. He’s also a curious boy, so she decides to call him Sherlock. (Hint, hint.) I loved the evolution of their relationship. Ms. Riley obviously knows a thing or two about cats and is obviously an animal lover, as evidenced by the inclusion of other animal scenes in the book. But Sherlock became one of my favorite characters, as he indirectly had a role in solving this case.

This little gem has a lot going for it, including cupcakes! I had incredible cravings by the time I finished this book, and there are recipes includes at the end for those who love to bake. With murder, some interesting characters, an engaging plot, humor, and hints of romance, this recipe has all the ingredients for a delicious treat. If you’re looking for a different kind of diversion, The Cupcake Caper might be next on the menu for you. Thanks to NetGalley, Curtis Brown Unlimited, and the author for making this review copy available.

4 stars
Profile Image for Carol.
1,615 reviews53 followers
October 29, 2016
Fresh and unique!! Incorporates scientific research
data recording with investigating and solving a murder.
Dr Bree (Gabriella) Mayfield-Watson arrives at work.
When she attempts to swipe her pass card, she finds she
does not have it???
Going to a meeting with her boss, it is discovered he is
dead in his office. The detectives discover that Bree’s
card was used to sign into the building earlier than when
she says she arrived. Who used her card to sign into the
The death is found to be murder with a chemical used in
Bree’s lab. How did the chemical get into the boss’s
Bree is being set up. She decides to approach the
murderer by using the deductive methods used when she
does her research projects. Will this work??
Bree adopts her former boss’s cat, Sherlock so that the
cat has someone to care for him. Little does she know
Sherlock will provide the best clue to the murderer.
A fun read with suspense, plenty of mystery, murder,
drama, vivid and interesting characters is an intriguing
I volunteered to read this book. Thanks to the author
via Facebook’s Cozy Mystery Review Team for the book.
My opinion is my own.
Profile Image for Janet.
2,337 reviews25 followers
December 14, 2016
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fine read for me but I didn't love it. Bree Watson is a good amateur sleuth set on finding out who killed her boss. A quick and enjoyable mystery with no surprises here, so big mystery fans may look elsewhere. Overall, decent characters and I would possibly read the next book to see if the series gets better.
Profile Image for aikaterine.
542 reviews48 followers
September 29, 2020
Sexy, humorous and brilliant! How could you go wrong with such a protagonist?


The Cupcake Caper is the first installment in the cozy mystery Undercover Cat series by Kelle Z. Riley, following Dr. Bree Watson.

Bree has earned a PhD in chemistry and is a full time chemist in a company. But, when one of her coworkers dies unexpectedly and all the clues seem to incriminate her, what is she going to do? She sure isn't willing to leave everything to luck or to the hot detective that is suspecting her, thus soon launching her own undercover investigation.

I love cozy mysteries, because they contain the element of mystery, but also humor and steaminess are unmistakably present.

This novel was such an accurate example of a cozy mystery, and I loved it for that!
It was fast paced, kept you guessing and being all starry-eyed along with the heroine.

To top it all of? Bree was so clever and such an accomplished professional, making you love her all that much more.
I prefer a clever, capable heroine over a damsel in distress, any day and in any gender!

This novel was such a spectacular journey.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,896 reviews35 followers
November 4, 2016
Very enjoyable first book in the series. We meet Bree just as her orderly, scientific life gets turned upside down and she gets to employ her armchair detective skills. I'm not a science person but I enjoyed seeing how one works and it was an interesting take on solving a murder by using her skills and methods as a scientist (also fun seeing that in her baking!). I got to use my armchair detecting skills as I was able to come up with the cause of death right away but not the means and definitely not the murderer, I was in the dark as much as Bree. There are also some romantic possibilities on the horizon so I'm interested to see what happens there. The recipes at the end of the book were kind of cool too. They were in the form of experiments and included metric measurements for the ingredients as well so that might be more helpful to people outside the USA who want to make them. Go Bucks!!
Profile Image for Yvonne.
1,132 reviews245 followers
December 26, 2016
When Dr. Bree Watson discovers her boss dead, she finds that she is the number one suspect. All evidence is pointing right in her direction with the police not looking at any other possible suspects. Although one of the detectives seems to like her and is open to the other possibilities, he doesn’t want Bree to put herself in danger by investigating. Of course that doesn’t stop Bree.

This is a bit different than the usual cozy mystery. Bree doesn’t just stick her nose where it doesn’t belong, she has a good reason. She is fighting for her life. She uses logic and science to solve the mystery, which is also different than the usual amateur sleuth.

Even the setting is unusual as it takes place in a lab instead of café or a boutique as many cozies are set in. Overall, I found this to be a unique take on the cozy mystery genre.

The characters are well-written and the plot moved along at a nice pace. There is the hint of a romantic triangle. I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out. There were quite a few twists and turns in this one. I kept changing my mind about whodunit. I guessed wrong, which is a good thing 

Intriguing plot, interesting characters with mystery and romance tossed together – not to mention a cat named Sherlock. This is a solid start to a new cozy mystery series.

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
2,103 reviews41 followers
November 23, 2016
Dr. Gabriella Mayfield-Watson is a dedicated employee at Chemical Industries Corporation. She wants to contribute to the company's success but she's tired of all the travel and the political games. Work is not a happy place. Things get even worse when Buckminster Davis is found dead in his office. Since Bree finds his body, she's a suspect in his murder. To save herself and make sure justice is served, she needs to find his killer. Bree is a smart woman. With her analytical mind, she will track down the culprit. Matthew Tugood is working undercover at the company. He knows that something is not right and he's keeping his eye on Bree. Her investigation is putting her in danger. I was pulled into The Cupcake Caper. I loved how Bree was able to gather information on all the suspects and use her intellect to find the killer. When she adopts the victim's cat, I had to smile when she fell under Sherlock's spell. Kelle Z. Riley gave us interesting characters, smart dialogue and an intriguing story filled with surprising twists. This is the first book in the Undercover Cat Series. I'm looking forward to more stories.
Profile Image for Michelle Palmer.
459 reviews3 followers
November 21, 2016
I struggled after the election to get back into reading so I needed something relatively light to help me recover. This book ended up being just the ticket.

A scientist working at a chemical company arrives at work to discover her boss has been murdered. Several people believe she is the culprit since she has much to gain from his death so she decides she needs to investigate.

Two hot guys are showing an interest in her. One works in the marketing department of her company while the other is one of the detectives investigating the murder. There is light flirtation between the characters.

The characters were fun and three-dimensional. The setting was well described. The plotting was well paced and full of twists.
10 reviews1 follower
November 22, 2016
As an avid reader of cozy mysteries I was delighted to discover author Kelle Z Riley's Undercover Cat series, which begins beautifully with book 1 - The Cupcake Caper. The book introduces us to the very intelligent, very likable Dr. Bree Mayfield-Watson. Bree is a talented scientist who appears to be on the fast track to great career success until her very unlikable boss turns up very dead one morning. Being the unfortunate finder of said unlikable boss puts Bree front and center in the investigation. Now, where do cupcakes fit into all this? Well, in addition to being a highly gifted chemist Bree is also a talented baker. Approaching each new recipe much in the same way she conducts her lab experiments, she is meticulous in her quest to perfect each of her recipes. Her coworkers and friends benefit from this passion for baking by way of all the delicious treats she shares with them.We, the lucky readers, benefit from this because Ms. Riley kindly shared several of Bree's recipe creations with us (and i can't wait to try the Killer Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes - yum). And where would Dr. Watson (Myfield-Watson, that is) be without her trusty Sherlock? You can't have an Undercover Cat mystery without a cat, right?

I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to further entries in the series. Bree is a breath of fresh air - she is smart and confident without being overbearing or condescending. The other characters are also well written and engaging. The story moves along at a nice pace, and I felt the mystery was resolved well. All in all a very pleasant and entertaining reading experience. I voluntarily reviewed this book, and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Faouzia.
Author 1 book78 followers
November 8, 2016
I would like to thank NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author for this copy.

This was a very enjoyable and refreshing mystery. A brilliant chemist with great cooking/experimenting abilities, a dead boss, a mysterious sexy colleague, an irresistible detective and a grumpy cat. What more can we ask for! Oh yes, someone also wants her dead!
The mix was so good and the result was a very interesting story.
And once i started reading, i couldn't stop. I finished it in a day which is not very usual for me!

Dr Bree Mayfield-Watson is a fascinating character. I really liked her and it was funny to follow her with her own investigation of the murder, her hypothesis and her almost failed attempts to improve her social skills. I found that most of the character were very interesting and we have an insight on most of them, which would be helpful for the next books of the series i guess.
I can't wait for the next one.

I also liked very much the final touch of the Author. Putting some of the "invented" recipes of Dr Bree was a very good idea. Can't wait to try them.
I recommend this book to my friends.
1,659 reviews28 followers
November 13, 2016
I'm a cozy kinda gal. ALWAYS looking for the next cozy read and this one came across my path. I started reading it and was surprised to find a smart, intelligent business woman who I could relate to and started reading with gusto. Until my puppy decided he wanted to devour the book as well. Luckily I found another copy and was able to finish the story.

Bree is a scientist that has a way of approaching most of her life the way you she does her science....with facts, notes and analysis. From the lab to cooking she experiments and documents everything the same way. When her boss turns up dead and she's being framed for murder, Bree's scientific mind kicks in and she finds herself trying to solve the murder with the same scientific approach.

From cooking up yummy treats to sleuthing, Bree is does her best to stick to the facts and uncover the murderer before she is arrested for something she didn't do. When her data helps her determine who the murdered is, will she be able to get to the police in time or will he be the next victim?

Be sure to check out the yummy recipes included and take a completely different look at the science of cooking.
Profile Image for Celia.
216 reviews25 followers
November 14, 2016
I really enjoyed The Cupcake Caper which is the first book in the Undercover Cat Series. Dr. Bree Mayfield-Watson works for the Chemical Industries Corporation (CIC) and one morning discovers her boss, Buckminster Davis, dead in his office. "Buckster" was not well-liked at CIC, so there is no shortage of suspects, and Bree is the main one as far as the police are concerned. Using her training as a scientist and analyst, she is determined to find the real killer and clear her name.

This book is fast-paced and Bree is very likable, intelligent and determined. I found her analytical approach to the murder interesting and was amused at how she used the same approach when coming up with recipes for the sweets she baked for the company, which was quite often. The book also includes recipes, which sound delicious. I was kept guessing until the end as to the identity of the killer, and was impressed with how Bree's logic and theories flushed the killer out.

I highly recommend this book, and am really looking forward to the next one in this wonderful new series.

I voluntarily received a copy of this book, and the the thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Teresa Kander.
Author 1 book180 followers
November 22, 2016
Fantastic beginning to a new series. It has a unique approach, in that the main character is a scientist. When she discovers her boss has been murdered and realizes she is the prime suspect, Bree uses scientific methods to find the real murderer.

Bree is a very enjoyable character. She is something of a stereotype, with her poor social skills, but that helps add a touch of humor to the story. The fact that she approaches even her cooking as a science experiment is also endearing. Some of her recipes are included at the end of the story and might be worth trying.

Other characters in the story are also well-developed, and we get a beginning insight into their personalities and lives, which I am sure will expand as the series continues.

The plot has plenty of twists to keep you guessing. I found myself changing my mind about the identity of the killer more than once, and was surprised by the final reveal. I can hardly wait to read the next book!

**I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book from the Cozy Mystery Review Crew, with no expectation of a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Melissa Lowrie.
43 reviews1 follower
November 19, 2016
I found The Cupcake Caper by Kelle Z. Riley be as refreshing as a lemon cupcake! Dr. Bree (Gabriella) Watson has been on the road for work and is running behind as she comes into the office on a Monday morning. To add to her chagrin, she is unable to locate her key card to get into the building. Her day continues to worse and she is scheduled to have a meeting with her boss and walks into his office to find him lying on the floor. It’s later determined that her boss was murdered and Bree can’t help but put her scientific mind to work trying to solve the puzzle of who might have wanted him dead and why.

The character interaction throughout the book is entertaining and the characters, especially the main ones, are very well developed. Bree is funny and smart, and reading about her escapades is captivating. In addition to getting wrapped up in solving the murder, she also finds herself caring for her boss’s cranky cat, fighting an attraction to her co-worker who is married and who she believes may be a killer, and dealing with a handsome detective on the case.
Profile Image for Debbie Erickson.
55 reviews4 followers
November 22, 2016
I really enjoyed The Cupcake Caper, which is the first book in a great new cozy mystery series. The main character Dr. Bree Watson, a chemist, finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation when she discovers her boss dead in his office. Bree learns she is a suspect and knows that someone she works with has set her up. Bree is a scientist and instinctively uses her expertise in deductive reasoning and scientific observation to help figure out who the real killer is. While the book focuses on finding the murderer, some flirtatious moments with the sexy detective and with the charismatic marketing manager help to keep the tone light. Bree is also a baker who enjoys experimenting with baking and there are some delicious looking recipes provided as an added bonus. This is a well written book that kept me guessing throughout. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!

I received a free copy of this book, my review is voluntary.
Profile Image for Connie Stein.
58 reviews
November 28, 2016
I loved The Cupcake Caper which is the first book in the Undercover Cat Series. Dr. Bree Mayfield-Watson works for a Chemical Company and discovers her boss, Buckminster Davis, dead in his office. There are no shortage of suspects, and Bree is the main suspect. She uses here scientific background and her love of problem solving to try to figure out the murderer.
This book is fast-paced book with a lot of twist and turns. I found her analytical approach to the murder interesting and loved that she used the same approach when coming up with recipes for the sweets she baked for all the employees at the company. The book also includes recipes that she created. This book kept me guessing who the murderer was until the end.

I volunteered to read this book. Thanks to the author via Facebook’s Cozy Mystery Review Team for the book. My opinion is my own.
524 reviews14 followers
November 18, 2016
This is a great start to a new series. Lots of twists and turns, with a scientific twist as the main character is a scientist. Bree goes into her boss' office, only to find that he is dead. Using scientific deduction, Bree works on figuring out who the murderer is.

Additionally, the recipes in this book are written as if they are for science projects- listing raw materials and synthesis. As an Ohioan, I was amused to find a recipe for Buckeye Brownies in this book!

I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next book in this series!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book from the Cozy Mystery Review Crew.
Profile Image for Carol Lee.
622 reviews6 followers
November 17, 2016
I enjoyed this mystery that had a different take on solving things. Dr. Bree Watcon meshes together her love of science and solving puzzles with the mystery that she faces of finding her boss dead. She finds herself juggling all the clues as well as the detective who is on the case. Along with this she has a menagerie of animals to take care of including a cranky cat and a goose chasing dog. I also enjoyed the recipes and the introduction to this undercover caper.
I received a free copy of this book, the review is voluntary and my own.
Profile Image for Elaine.
303 reviews12 followers
November 22, 2016
This was a very good first book in a series. I liked that Bree is a scientist and is using her education and deductive reasoning to solve the crime. Bree is a very likable person. The story caught my attention and had me thinking about it when I was not able to be reading it. I did have a little trouble remember who was who in the first third of the book. But it went fine. Thanks for the fun read!
November 22, 2016
I really enjoyed The Cupcake Caper by Kelle Z. Riley. It was an entertaining, relatively light, easy read. I liked that it had a different spin on it with the science/research/baking elements. I enjoyed the characters and the plot was interesting with just enough twists. I'm looking forward to the next book by Kelle Z Riley!
Profile Image for Leeanne.
222 reviews12 followers
May 8, 2021
Solving a chemistry problem is just like being a detective - “putting chemical clues together to find an answer,” according to Dr. Bree (Gabriella) Mayfield-Watson. She never imagined she’d one day be solving a real mystery - and a murder mystery at that - using the same ideas she wrote about in her ‘molecular mysteries’ for the Journal of Chemical Education, many years before. Unfortunately, this is what Bree finds herself doing after she finds her boss dead in his office, and becomes the chief suspect in his poisoning.

Buckster Davis was not a kind man, and recorded every little thing his employees ever did that he didn’t like, in a notebook. If he decided he didn’t like you anymore, your career would be ruined by a piece of twisted evidence from that notebook. As Bree explains, "The difference between corporate success and the unemployment line for a FAR employee was no bigger than the thickness of a single notebook page.” Yeah, not a nice man at all. Obviously, no one was too upset over his death, and practically everyone has a motive to kill him.

In order to help herself deal with the shock and clear her name, Bree makes her own notebook listing everything everyone does or says that could possibly be connected to the murder. Bree begins to discover who her real friends at work are, and digs up lots of dirty secrets about her late boss and the company. Slowly she begins to put together the clues just like you would with a chemistry problem.

This book has dual point of views, which was interesting. The other point of view is of Bree’s slightly mysterious coworker, Matthew Tugood. That’s all I will say about him in order not to spoil anything about him.

Besides being a very intelligent chemist, Bree is also a wonderful baker. She uses chemistry to make “the perfect cupcake”. It’s actually really cool, even though I’m not a baker myself. The book includes the recipes she makes in the story, for those of you who are bakers.

This is really about the science of murder. I’ve never read a murder mystery that focuses on the science of murder which made it really unique.
Profile Image for Kristen Lewendon.
7,121 reviews41 followers
February 3, 2021
I love a nerdy heroine, and they don’t get much smarter or geekier than Bree. I had so much fun following her investigative methods, though it was also occasionally frustrating when I picked up on clues that I thought she was missing. The villain wasn’t a surprise to me, but I had so much fun with the rest of the book, and especially the antics of Sherlock the cat, that it’s easy for me to focus on only the best parts of the story. I’m very curious – and we all know what that did to the cat – to see where this series is going to go.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Booksprout.
Profile Image for Amanda Wilcox.
165 reviews2 followers
September 4, 2017
It was a slow start for me to get into this book even though I loved the very different ideas that made it. The protagonist is a chemist, not your typical cozy job title, which I loved right away! She's smart and loving and has the perfect analytical brain to do some sleuthing when her boss winds up dead. There were a bit too many characters for me to keep straight at the beginning but as some widdled down during the book I got the hang of it. In the end the story takes a turn and now I'm really looking forward to the next in this series.
June 26, 2019
Cute & unique take on a cozy mystery! I really enjoyed this read. I found the plotlines and mystery fun and intriguing! I would recommend this novel to loved ones looking for a good cozy mystery!
763 reviews27 followers
March 16, 2017
I love how Bree thinks things through and how she writes them down. She knows her strengths and weakness and asks when she needs assistance. Of course, I loved that she rescued Sherlock and who knew that would be a key play on her part. I loved following the paths her mind took her on in figuring how just what had happened. I can't wait to see what happens next.

I won this book, but that doesn't affect my review of it.
547 reviews
December 23, 2016
Science is about solving puzzles. Why should solving a murder be any different? Dr Bree Watson is comfortable solving chemistry problems. She isn't comfortable finding her boss dead and being a suspect in his poisoning.
The Cupcake Caper (not easy to say) is the first in the Undercover Cat series by Kelle Z Riley. This is a cozy mystery book and a change from the style I have been reading a lot of lately but a welcome change of pace.
Bree is your typical scientist who loves solving problems, however when she turns up to work for a meeting with her boss it sets her off on a murder investigation that ultimately puts her life in danger. Her analytical mind goes into overdrive and she starts making notes on all her observations on the crime scene and the staff present at the company. She has a couple of friends in the company that she can trust but once she becomes a prime suspect she keeps what she is doing to herself. She finds herself in line to take over the position once held by her boss and she uses this to talk to people in the hopes of finding the murderer. What she does find is a lot of gossip and secrets that point to any number of people being the culprit.
I did wonder to start with why this book had the title of The Cupcake Caper and why it was classed as an undercover cat mystery. Apart from being a top Scientist Bree likes to bake as she sees this as another type of experiment (one where she gets to try out different flavour combinations). The cat belonged to her boss and after his murder Bree takes it upon herself to look after him (aptly nicknamed Sherlock by one of the Detectives on the case). In the end both Cupcakes and the cat have clues that lead to the identity of the killer.
I enjoyed this book as the main character in the story was both intelligent and analytical, dealing with everything in a methodical manner while not deliberately putting herself or her friends in danger with her investigations. She also made sure that she provided the police with any information that she found despite being the main suspect rather than hindering their investigations by keeping this information to herself. She also has to make a choice between one of the detectives on the case and a colleague who is not all he seems. There is a lovely bit at the end of the book too where you can try all the recipes that Bree uses for her cupcakes...they sound so nice even a lazy baker like me is tempted to try them....maybe I could try them out on my colleagues at work......although I can’t promise I won’t use them to try to murder any of them(only joking)
I look forward to further books in the series to see how Bree deals with her new career in the aftermath of the company she worked for being sold.
I would like to thank Netgalley and City Owl Press for the copy of this book in return for my review
Profile Image for Kimberlee.
206 reviews50 followers
November 21, 2016
I am a regular reader of several cozy mystery series already, so there has to be something potentially special in evidence to encourage me to start a new one. “The Cupcake Caper” by Kelle Z. Riley (Book 1 in the Undercover Cat Series) seemed to fit the bill, and I have to say that I’m glad I took the chance on this debut mystery!

What was it about this book made me pick up a new cozy series, you ask? The answer: intelligence, both on the part of the author and the main character, Dr. Bree Watson. Both author and character are PhD scientists, as well as smart, witty, women. Bree is able to hold down a serious, demanding job, and apply her common sense and research capabilities to solving the murder that takes place at her lab. (On a side note, Ms. Riley’s website is wonderful as well; it’s clean, easy to read, and has substantially more interesting content than the typical author website.)

The story itself is interesting and well-paced, with plenty of action interspersed with scenes of Bree actually trying to solve the crime in question using her brain. Unlike many cozy heroines (who often simply go about their lives, ask a few questions here and there, and sometimes stumble over actual clues) Bree tackles her investigation head-on, with a great deal of thought, planning, and organization.

I would actually call “The Cupcake Caper” a cozy-mystery-hybrid. While it includes the key cozy attributes (a pet, a hint of romance, food/cooking, quirky friends), this book offers the reader more. It edges toward being a “standard” mystery in that much more attention is focused on solving the crime than in a typical cozy. The heroine’s job, and the fact that she holds a PhD, make her come across as a woman to be taken seriously. There is also more of a sense of real danger than what one typically encounters in a cozy. As a result I really enjoyed the book. I liked all the standard cozy tropes, but appreciated the more intense and serious nature of the mystery. The book ends with a hint of things to come for Bree, and I look forward to reading about her future adventures.

Five out of five blocks of delicious feta!
Profile Image for Allie Bock.
Author 6 books11 followers
April 20, 2018
I received an eARC from Netgalley. Thank you to the publisher and author for gifting me their work. This is my honest opinion.
The Cupcake Caper

The Cupcake Caper is the first book in the Undercover Cat Series by Kelle Z Riley. Tank and I picked this book because of the cover. He likes cats, and I like cupcakes. What could be better if you put them together?

We weren’t disappointed! Well, I enjoyed the book. Tank was a little let down that the cat, Sherlock, didn’t play a bigger role in the story. Maybe in the next book, Sherlock will have more of a starring role. The Cupcake Caper is a cozy mystery. The mystery part wasn’t real difficult to figure out. I was surprised that the MC, Bree, took the whole book to find the murderer, so if you want a great suspense to the end this one might not be it.

What I really liked about the book was how I was able to relate to Bree. She is a young professional that has put her personal life on hold as she struggles to build her career in a man’s world. She has to come up with fibs every time her grandmother calls as to how glamorous her life is and why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. I have had the exact same conversations with well-meaning relatives in the past. I have shared her pain. She also struggles eating right and exercising enough. Making cupcakes is more fun than running on a treadmill! I totally relate! The author makes Bree fun to read about. I laughed out loud at some of the things that happened. To top it off, there is a gorgeous guy at Bree’s work who may or may not have feelings for her. We will have to check out the next book to see what happens!


We give this book 3 paws.

It was a little predictable. It wasn’t super suspenseful or intense, but if you want fun light-hearted read this is it. Plus, there are cupcake recipes at the end! YUM!

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351 reviews4 followers
January 31, 2017
This is the first book in the Undercover cat series by this author Of course, like most cozies, this cozy has a pet, which is the cat! Also has a dog that chases a goose which just adds more fun to the story., baking ( recipes) & romance! This is a romantic cozy mystery. I don't normally read romance books, but in small doses like this book contains, it helps make the book even more fun to read!

Dr Bree Watson ( Bree is short for Gabrielle, plus few more names between her first, & last name of Watson). She is not a medical doctor, she has a PhD & likes baking cupcakes. Baking IS scientific & she loves science, She thinks this will help to solve the mystery After all, solving a mystery is like solving a puzzle, which is science. She finds her boss....DEAD!! This leads to her being a suspect, so solving this is important, along with finding a great cupcake recipe. But somebody wants her out of the picture....and she thought getting her PhD was hard'task!

Ok! Add 2 sexy, handsome men, 1 is a marketing contractor, that may or may not be the killer, & the other is a detective, helping to solve "whodunnit", some animals, & the search for a great cupcake recipe AND a murder.....all equals great parts to a fun, light cozy mystery

I enjoyed this first book to a brand new cozy series & look forward to future books in this series. I recommend this to cozy mystery fans. If you're expecting in depth, tough, scary, ugly murder type murder mysteries, this would not be for you. Cozy murder fans will see this book fits right into the usual fun, light hearted read with the usual elements that cozies contain

Thank you to Net Galley & Curtis Brown Unlimited for allowing me to read & review this book. In return I've given an honest review
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