Retro Reading: Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs
The Girls of the Cackleberry Club Dish out Another Plate of Murder
One of the best part about reviewing books or movies is you don't have to stay middle of the road like journalists do. This is the time when I can give my opinions on whether or not I like what I'm reviewing.
Although I was pretty hard on author Laura Childs after reading the first entry in the Cackleberry Club mysteries I have to say that the second installment Eggs Benedict Arnold is a lot better in many ways.
The characters are more developed and there's a lot more page turning than in the first installment. Plus it had more than one murder which added to the suspect list.
Not too much time has passed since the first book and Suzanne, Toni and Petra are still working their way to profits at the Cackleberry Club in this tough economy.
As the book begins, they're volunteering at Kindred Spirit Days an annual event in their town of Kindred. They just hope people don't think the slop they're slinging isn't from their restaurant.
Petra notices that local funeral director, Ozzie Driesden hasn't come back to pick up a reserved pie so Suzanne offers to take the pie over to the funeral home. When he doesn't answer she goes looking for him. She doesn't have to go far after discovering his body and that's the last thing she remembered before being chloroformed.
After the chloroform wears off, she tries to remember what happened but is clueless as she recounts her actions to Sherriff Doogie. He's pretty sure it's Ozzie's assistant, Bo, who has a rap sheet a mile long, but Bo denies any involvement in Ozzie's death, since Ozzie was teaching him how to become a funeral director.
The next night Suzanne notices Bo packing up some flowers from the home and then he disappears until she and Toni find his body in the next county.
But Toni starts to worry since her husband, Junior, has taken on another job "making good money" delivering auto parts on the side. Suzanne thinks it involves drugs while Toni thinks he's seeing some other woman. She talks Suzanne into going with her to spy on Junior at the diviest dive bar around.
Reluctantly Suzanne agrees and when they spot Junior they start to follow him after he leaves the bar only to be caught by the occupants of the rural house they've been led to.
Meanwhile, Doogie's other suspect, Missy, is busy getting things in order at the new store Alchemy which is owned by local romance author Carmen Copeland. Missy's a suspect since she recently broke up with Ozzie and has been spotted around town with her ex husband Earl. He also happens to be a suspect.
Missy has asked Suzanne to be a part of the fashion show Carmen's planned as part of the grand opening and she's not too thrilled about it since the Cackleberry's getting ready for an event of their own.
As Suzanne does more investigating of her own, she finds out that Carmen had made an offer on the funeral home. Her plan is to turn it into an upscale restaurant and knock out the Cackleberry Club.
In this installment a lot more is going on and Carmen Copeland is the exceptional standout in characters because she thinks the world (should) revolve around her. What I'd like to see is a possible book with Carmen and Natasha (from Krista Davis' Diva mysteries). I'm sure that would be the icing on the proverbial cake.
With the end of the book comes some recipes and maybe one day I'll attempt to make something.