Genre: cozy mystery with recipes
Cover: I have no idea what I am looking at. Something at a county fair?
In Laura Childs's New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni - co-owners of the Cackleberry Club Cafe - are equally good at serving up breakfast and serving up justice.
Getting her hair colored at Root 66, Suzanne is stunned to witness the County Services Building next door suddenly go up in flames. Sadly, the fire claims the life of longtime civil service worker - and friend to the Cackleberry Club - Hannah Venable. When it's discovered that an accelerant was used to fan the flames, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to smoke out the culprit.
Time to eggs-tinguish an arsonist.
When Suzanne finds a possible connection between the fire and the nearby Prairie Star Casino, she comes to realize that the arsonist wanted something very big and bad kept secret. And if the ladies aren't careful, they may be the ones gambling with their lives...
I still haven't read a Laura Childs book that I didn't like. I love that her heroines are mostly mature / middle aged women, leading their own life the way they want to. In this series, there are three heroines, with Suzanne as the main leading lady. Her friend Toni is her loyal friend egging her on, and getting them both in trouble, while Petra mostly stays behind in the kitchen. They both often urge her to help their friends find the real killer, but when it gets dangerous they want her to stay out of it, when it is often too late to do that. And this book is not different.
A dear friend of them is killed in an explosion at her work for the County, and they want the arsonist to be caught. Surely it cannot be Ricky, who is about to marry another one of their friends. There have to be other possibilities, how about Hannah's husband? He wanted to divorce her, is cheating on her and even hocked her wedding ring! Or the estranged husband of the woman living in the apartment above the office? Or perhaps Hannah wasn't the target at all, but her boss was! Certainly there are angles aplenty to investigate.
But someone doesn’t really want Suzanne to find out the truth, and she keeps finding herself in danger! Still, it is not only sleuthing and working hard in their Cackleberry Club, Suzanne wants to compete in a barrel racing contest at the county fair, and is training hard with her beloved horse, and Petra will finally enter some of her cakes, pies and breads in the baking contests as well. As for Toni, who feels left out a bit, her deadbeat almost ex-husband Junior has brewed some beer in his bath tub and he is determined to have it judged as well. Micro brewing is all the range nowadays, so he certainly will get rich from this!
If you like to read about strong women, good friends who have build a business for themselves, you should try this series. It also has some amazing recipes in them. Suzanne is a widow, and the one who came up with the idea. Her husband left her quite well off, but she is not rich if you might think that. She also has found a new boyfriend in the town doctor, Sam. Toni seems like she is still not really grown up, and she just can’t make herself divorce junior, as he keeps doing sweet things (like painting her name in glow in the dark paint on the overhang over the freeway). She is vivacious and sees no danger, and she is the server in their café. Petra is very religious, and married to a man who has Alzheimer. He doesn't know who she is anymore, but she still visits him 3 nights a week at least, and stays with him. For her, marriage really is for better and for worse. Petra is the cook and baker in their café and I would certainly love to eat her creations!
The setting is very rural, unlike the other two series written by Laura Childs and I sure can appreciate that. There is no laugh out loud humor in these books, but they have a really nice feel to them, and there certainly is humor but overall there is friendship and a connection to the community. It is something totally foreign to me, and I love it.
© 2015 Reviews by Aurian