Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha - JoAnna Carl

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha
A Chocoholic Mystery
JoAnna Carl
Berkley Prime Crime


It’s winter in Warner Pier, Michigan, a tourist town that sees most of its business during the summer months.  Since Ten Huis Chocolades has a mail-order business, manager Lee Woodyard is able to keep staff employed all year round.  For instance, there’s the order for nine thousand chocolate bunnies just placed by a major customer.  One of her more recent hires is a nervous woman called Bunny Birdsong.  Lee is delighted to learn than Bunny can help with the mail order side of things, and stop wreaking havoc in the production kitchen.

No sooner than that problem been solved, when another shows up in the person of Abigail Birdsong, Bunny’s husband’s aunt.  Aunt Abigail is simply aghast that Bunny has left her husband.  Aunt Abigail is used to getting her way, since she essentially bankrolls the husband’s art work.  Bunny’s explanation that the creep has moved another woman into her home changes Aunt Abigail’s tune.  She declares that she will change her will, making Bunny her beneficiary.  It’s around that point that the Other Woman arrives and more words are exchanged.  By the time this storm passes, it’s time to shut up shop and go home. 

The following morning, Lee is there bright and early to do a walkthrough of her current construction project.  Ten Huis has grown so much, they’ve bought the building next door and are busy converting that building and connecting the two.  To her shock, there’s a dead body on the floor of the unoccupied building.  Lee and the contractor went to great pains to make sure that building is always securely locked.  But someone got in, and laid a very dead Abigail Birdsong neatly on the floor.

This is an interesting and fast-paced mystery.  For longtime readers, most of the characters are quite familiar.  It’s fun to watch their lives change and progress as the series continues.  For readers new to the series (see partial list below) there’s plenty of background given to catch you up on the various characters.  The mystery begins as a sort of Locked Room Mystery, then expands when a second person is attacked just outside the shop.  The eventual solution was innovative and required Lee’s particular brand of non-official investigative flair.  Chocolate trivia and a delicious-sounding recipe are also included.

Rating:  7
November 2016

ISBN# 978-0-451-47382-0 (hardcover)


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