The Golden Spoon
November 2, 2022

Book Review

The Golden Spoon

reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo



“Baking and cooking bring me inner peace, like a tasty version of yoga, without all the awkward stretching and sweating. When my life spins out of control, when I can’t make sense of what’s going on in the world, I head straight to the kitchen and turn on my oven, and with the press of a button, I switch one part of my brain off and another on. The rules of the kitchen are straightforward, and when I’m there I don’t have to think about my problems. I don’t need to think about anything but cups and ounces, temperatures and cooking times.” ― Dana Bate, The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs

f you are a fan of The British Baking Show or any baking challenge, this book is for you. Jessa Maxwell’s debut mystery is so much fun with sabotage, talk of yummy baked goods, a little romance, some naivety and a few laughs. It feels like a cozy mystery but is so much more and all the characters are charming in their own way. Most interesting are Betsy Martin, a Martha Stewart type character, and the patriarch of the Golden Spoon baking challenge and Archie Morris, a Gordon Ramsay type, known for his loud yelling at contestants and throwing things.

The 8 main characters include the above mentioned Betsy and Archie but also the 6 contestants. All well fleshed out characters, with their own secrets. We have Lottie, the oldest baker there, a retired nurse, who has applied to Bake Week every year of its existence. Stella Velasquez, a former journalist for The Republic, who has challenged herself to master the art of baking in under a year. Hannah Severson, the second youngest contestant in the history of Bake Week, hailing from a small town in Minnesota. Gerald, a Bronx native, who spends his spare time hand grinding his own flours and making his own essences from scratch. Pradyumna Das, a billionaire entrepreneur who has taken up baking as a hobby out of boredom. He has no interest in winning the competition but is interested in the experience. And finally Peter Gellar, who specializes in restoring old buildings, but loves to bake for his husband and three-year-old daughter. Every character has a unique voice, and each chapter is devoted to an individual character.  

All contestants have arrived at Grafton Manor, the estate of master baker, Betsy Martin, who hosts an annual baking competition. It is the 10th year of this competition and the producers, wanting to make things more exciting, have added Archie Morris as a co-host. The book starts out with a murder, but then the murder doesn’t happen until the last 20% of the book. For a debut author, The Golden Spoon is written very well with suspense, fluid writing, relatable characters. I loved that Jessa Maxwell included character outlines in the first chapter, as there were a lot of characters. She also delved into a back story from many decades ago that really added to the mystery. Another thing I truly loved about this book was that I thought I knew who the killer was, and I was wrong. The ending is so clever. I can’t wait to see what this new author comes up with for her next mystery!

The Golden Spoon is available at:


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