Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is this one book - or three?

What I read last week:

"Crime de Cocoa" anthology, JoAnna Carl (aka Eve K. Sandstrom) - includes "The Chocolate Cat Caper", "The Chocolate Bear Burglary", "The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up" and a bonus short shorty, "The Chocolate Kidnapping Clue." New to the Lee McKinney mysteries, I read the book in order, starting with the short story, Lee's first appearance (and first mystery solved). In each of the tales, the reader is given the clues along with the heroine (although one or two pieces of the puzzle are revealed before Lee notices them), and everything is tied up tidily at the end of each story. (I have to admit that about halfway through "The Chocolate Bear Burglary", I was letting my mind drift while I knitted, and figured it out early. Miss Marple knew what she was doing with all that innocent-looking knitting!) There's a breath of romance from time to time, and Lee's "malapropisms" - which seem to upset her more than anyone else - are an interesting character quirk. The characters are broadly drawn, with more detail going into (a) regular characters (Aunt Nettie; the local police) and (b) the ones who turn out to be crucial to solving (and possibly who have committed) the murder. Filled with fascinating minutae about the chocolatiers' business (which is different from making candy!) and set in a lovely just-off-the-Lakes Michigan town, this is a light, bubbly read with an engaging heroine.

The Back of the Jacket:
The Chocolate Kidnapping Clue - The first appearance ever of Lee McKinney! With her parents going through a messy divorce, a mopey teenage Lee is spending the summer working in her aunt and uncle's chocolate shop. When a wealthy customer is kidnapped, she quickly discovers an unsuspected talent for seluthing.
The Chocolate Cat Caper - When a high-profile defense lawyer dies after eating a cat-shaped candy laced with cyanide, it's up to Lee to find out who tampered with the recipe - before she ends up behind not-so-chocolate bars.
The Chocolate Bear Burglary - After a burglary at the shop, antique dealer Gail Hess turns up dead - and the main suspect in the murder is Lee's troubled teenage stepson. Lee sets out to clear his name, but awakening long-hibernating family secrets might be more than this daring crime solver can bear.
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up - The first customer to buy one of the store's new chocolate croakers is the town crank, Hershel Perkins - just after getting into an altercation with Lee's boyfriend, Joe. When Hershel goes missing, the police suspect foul play. Joe seems the most likely suspect, and Lee must find the chocolate clue that will lead to the real killer.
Genre(s): Mystery
Audience: teens, adults
Online Extras: Fun bits of Chocolate Lore at JoAnnaCarl.com!
Reading Time: Four days (hey, it's three books, that's not bad)
Recommend: Oh, go ahead and buy it. It's three books for the price of one!

I read a lot. Given how much I knit, I really shouldn't have time for eating - but I tend to eat at least two meals a day at work (by myself), and I don't want food on my knitting, so - I read. I'm not reading as much as I usually do, since the Monster Yarn Pattern Project thing is taking over chunks of my evenings (it's going to be a while before there's little enough yarn left for it to be a "portable project"), so I'll share what I've been reading. It's pretty eclectic, and I'm not a critic. Pretty much anything I pick up, I read; I don't tend to pick up things I don't think I'll finish. Don't expect anything in-depth, but you may find something you hadn't heard of that you might want to track down to read yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I am so in love with the books posts - keep them coming!


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