Half Baked Schemes

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A television reality cooking show has contracted to use Belle Haven as the location for one of its programs, and Jillian Green is excited about the notoriety—and the dough—it will bring to the estate and The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery, the family business in Moss Hollow, Georgia, owned by her grandmother.

But before filming can get off the ground, one of the judges, Florence Oglethorpe, falls victim to poisoning and the crime puts the event on the baker’s rack. The police are in a stew as to how the assault happened. Now it’s up to Jillian and her friends in the Southern Sweetie Pies baking club to ditch hairnets and aprons and get to the bottom of it.

Complicating matters is the arrival of Bonnie Trueblood, the five-year-old daughter of a cousin to Bertie Harper, Jillian’s grandmother and the owner of the Belle Haven estate. Jillian has never taken care of a little girl, but Bonnie nonetheless becomes her charge.

Jillian reads to Bonnie from a rare collection of bedtime storybooks every evening, but when the books and Bonnie come up missing the result is whipping up more bedlam in the antebellum home than Jillian thinks she can handle.

Will Jillian and her friends be able to solve the mystery of the poisoning, the theft, and the disappearance of the little princess? Is a criminal mastermind at work, or is this latest crime wave just the result of some half-baked scheme?

The Characters

At 39, Jillian is living the life she always dreamed. Using her creative talents, she's built a successful career as one of the top executives at a prestigious advertising agency in California, and she's engaged to an amazing man who showers her with love and the finer things in life. Life couldn't be more perfect.

But as quickly as a chocolate souffle can flop, Jillian's "perfect" fiance is arrested for embezzlement, putting a quick end to the engagement, and the advertising agency coincidentally "downsizes" Jillian after the scandal, leaving her without a job. But Jillian is a strong Southern woman who has learned how to endure from her feisty and iron-willed grandmother. She decides to leave California and make a fresh start where her life began, in the quaint town of Moss Hollow, Ga.

Under Grandma Bertie's roof at Belle Haven mansion and under her wing, Jillian prepares to take over the family business: The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery. But she doesn't expect to find murder on the menu! Will returning home to reconnect with her Southern roots ultimately prove to be a blessing or a fatal mistake?

Longtime member of the Sweetie Pies baking club and grandmother extraordinaire, Lenora has managed the bakery for decades and is considered a part of the family. Since fixing a salad is Jillian's greatest culinary accomplishment on most days, she encounters a few hurdles while learning how to create the decadent treats the bakery is known for. She's grateful for Lenora's wise counsel and encouragement!

The curious and cuddly house cat keeps a close eye on the happenings at Belle Haven mansion and lends a hand -- or paw -- in helping Jillian solve the intriguing mysteries of the small town.

Savannah is one of Jillian's oldest and best friends. She's delighted Jillian moved back to town and looks forward to reconnecting with her childhood companion. But she's also keeping a secret that may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Nadine's untimely demise.

Jillian's down-to-earth and lovable grandmother is ready to retire from the hectic demands of running The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery, but she refuses to sell to a complete stranger. Jillian is her last hope for keeping the business in the family, even if Jillian can barely boil water. Bertie is determined to help Jillian succeed in the business and to see her marry a good Southern man before the bloom falls completely off the rose.

Cornelia may be Bertie's twin, but she is different from her sister in every way, from her flair for the dramatic to her eccentric nature. She moved back to Belle Haven mansion to live with Bertie five years ago after the death of her husband. She claims to possess a joie de vivre that simply cannot be tamed. Bertie prefers to call it "flighty." Despite her theatrics, Cornelia has a generous heart and wants nothing but the best for her grandniece. She will do anything to see Jillian happy and settled in Moss Hollow ... even if it means bending a few rules.