Hedy Leckenmaul runs a strange little bakery in the sleepy town of Enumclaw, Washington. Her bakery may be bizarre but it is the non-human guests who stay at her home, along with her resident ghost, and her menagerie of talking animals that truly is strange. Hedy hosts a waystation for supernatural travelers and while hosting two such travelers, the town is rocked by an arsonist who is kidnapping women, and pitting the residents of Enumclaw against each other. Hedy and her friends must solve the mystery when one of their own vanishes, leaving them racing to find out who is behind it all before it is too late.
Hedy Leckenmaul is not just a bakery owner in the small, sleepy community of Enumclaw Washington, but is also the owner of a waystation. A Waystation is like a fancy bed and breakfast for supernaturals. It is a place that caters to their individual needs while still understanding that they do in fact have individual needs.
Burned to a Crisp not only introduces you to Hedy but also to four other characters that all are important to not only this book but future ones as well. You have Mel, the young genius who needs a place to hide out during school. Darro, the gruff Scottish gardener who has a background that is not what you expect it. Bran, the Salamander with a troubling but sad past, and Ana, an Undine who is escaping her past for an unknown future.
I enjoyed the descriptions that K.A. was able to impart into the characters while still pushing the plot along. The story isn’t just one about the fires that are started, but also about how unlikely friends band together to solve what could become a risk to their very existence.
One can not forget the talking animals, which are part of Hedy’s household. A chinchilla who is getting up there in years. A cat who is, well a cat. And finally a magpie that seems to possibly have been dropped on its head a time or 10. Even though they are essentially not main characters, their influence and personalities help to round out the story.
This is a cozy mystery, so it doesn’t just deal with the mystery. It is also about the relationships that are formed and broke in the course of the story. It eludes to elements of the characters past which frame and color how they see the present and future. Overall I think that this is a great story. One to curl up with a hot drink and a sweet pastry and read in front of a warm fire. Or in my case it is Buddha Kat Wine in a bathtub trying to ignore the minion’s complaining. Everyone needs their quiet time right?