It would be hard to live in Kindred, and not spend every waking hour eating at the Cackleberry Club café. The three women who run it, Suzanne Dietz, and her partners, Petra and Toni, are serving up great food and friendship. And, when a friend becomes a murder suspect, they're even willing to step in and do a little investigating, as they do in the second book in the Cackleberry Club mystery series, Eggs Benedict Arnold.
In their forties, the three women found themselves in a period of transition. Suzanne's husband died. Petra had to put her husband in a nursing home, and Toni's slightly sleazy husband left her for a younger woman. Even though they own the Cackleberry Club, and it's adjoining bookshop and knitting store, they take on additional projects. When they close up the Library Committee's bake sale fundraiser, Suzanne takes a cherry pie to Ozzie Driesden, owner of the local funeral home. But, her discovery of his body almost lands her on a slab as well, as she's chloroformed, and left on the floor there. So, even though a friend who becomes a suspect asks Suzanne to ask questions, this investigation has a personal aspect for Suzanne.
Childs' latest mystery is complex, with a surprise killer. And, as with many cozies, there are recipes included. But, the three owners of the Cackleberry Club are the greatest strength of this book. Their café, with its attached shops, is "a center for female bonding for the tri-county area." Suzanne Dietz has a wonderful attitude about life, one she explains to the man she's interested in getting to know. She has a generous heart, and finds it hard to turn down her friends, even when they're as reckless and spontaneous as Toni. Petra is a rock, the baker and chef who keeps the business going, while the other two owners are poking around, and getting in trouble. And, it's evident that Suzanne is gutsy, and curious, as she says, "Wondered about the wisdom of taking things into her own hands. Bad idea. Really bad idea." But, the reader knows Suzanne will plunge into danger, and find a killer, in this enjoyable mystery.
I've sampled Laura Childs' other series, the Tea Shop mysteries, and the Scrapbook mysteries, but the Cackleberry Club mysteries, with those three women, are my favorites. Suzanne and her friends will make readers feel welcome to the Cackleberry Club, even when they end up with Eggs Benedict Arnold.
(Oh, and the recipe for Frozen Lemonade Pie? Made it with a lemon snap crust instead of graham crackers. To die for!)
Laura Childs' website is www.laurachilds.com
Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2009. ISBN 9780425231555 (paperback), 336p.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received an ARC from the author, in hopes I would review it.
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