#BookReview: THE GOLDEN SPOON by Jessa Maxwell @MaxwellJessa @AtriaBooks

Publication: 7th March 2023 – Atria Books

Only Murders in the Building meets The Maid in this darkly beguiling locked-room mystery where someone turns up dead on the set of TV’s hottest baking competition—perfect for fans of Nita Prose, Richard Osman, and Anthony Horowitz.

Every summer for the past ten years, six awe-struck bakers have descended on the grounds of Grafton, the leafy and imposing Vermont estate that is not only the filming site for “Bake Week” but also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, celebrated baker Betsy Martin.

The author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and hailed as “America’s Grandmother,” Betsy Martin isn’t as warm off-screen as on, though no one needs to know that but her. She has always demanded perfection, and gotten it with a smile, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.

A sharp and suspenseful thriller for mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon is a brilliant puzzle filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you reading late into the night until you turn the very last page of this incredible debut.


The Golden Spoon is described as “Only Murders in the Building meets The Great British Bake Off”, so how could I resist? This is a satisfying, atmospheric debut, set in a big house, during a competitive reality show, with two hosts who hate each other, six competitors, and a killer on the loose.

Betsy Martin is a famous baker whose reality show has had huge success in the last ten years. Held in Grafton Manor, her family estate in the mountains of northern Vermont, each year, Bake Week has seen six home bakers coming together for a week and competing for the title of America’s best baker. This year, things are a bit different. For starters, Betsy is no longer the only host of the show, but she has a new partner, Archie Morris, who will judge the show with her, not that she had any choice in the matter. Also, someone seems to be sabotaging the competitors. And when, during a storm, someone is found murdered, the list of suspects is narrow.

I liked the setting of the novel: a remote big house in the mountains with its skeletons in the closet, no phones, a group of strangers with secrets, and a sense of dread that makes it clear that something bad is about to happen. I was hooked, even though sometimes the pace was a bit too slow. The story is told from the point of view of the seven protagonists (the six contenders and Betsy). These characters are complex and eccentric, some more disturbed and haunted than others, and I must admit that I didn’t like a few of them for most of the novel, but I really appreciated how they developed. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Golden Spoon and I read it in a couple of sittings. Claustrophobic, suspenseful, and dark, it kept me guessing until the end!

A huge thank you to Atria and Edelweiss for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Jessa Maxwell lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island, with her husband, two cats, and three-legged dog. The Golden Spoon is her first novel.

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