Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chocolate Cat Caper by JoAnna Carl

Lee McKinney is the former Texas trophy wife who's moved to Warner Pier, Michigan to help her aunt, Nettie TenHuis, run TenHuis Chocolade which is any chocoholic's slice of heaven. It's time for the big cat fancier gala at Clementine Ripley's house as she honors her cat, Champion Yonkers (the cover's supposed be his chocolate mold). Lee delivers the chocolates because her car has AC (being she's from Texas and all and no Texan can live without AC) so the chocolates won't melt. There is a strict order not to leave the premises or deliver the chocolates without check in hand, because it's such a large order and the Visa declined the purchase. For some reason, this causes an uproar at the Ripley estate. Joe, Clem's ex and a hunk Lee used to dream about during her summer stays, also causes an uproar when he wants his alimony. Lee eventually gets check in hand and prepares to head back when Clem takes a dive and the paramedics are called in, of which one who's an insatiable gossip. Immediately, everyone is under suspicion, because Clem made a lot of enemies during her career as a defense attorney. Lee steps in to save the reputation of her aunt and the store, but many speculate that Joe fits in there somewhere. Lee eventually unveils the killer and things return to normal for Warner Pier, until the next murder.

I'm not a chocoholic, so the chocolate tidbits were wasted on me, however, I did enjoy the story so it's a series that I might continue later, though I must admit, the romance part between Lee and Joe did draw me in a little. I have a few nits with the story (the mystery proved a trifle confusing) and, once again, the paramedics are playing detective. I think I should write a list of places not to get sick in, so sick that EMS might be called out, because some of them seem to take their time and start making judgment calls whether or not the police should be invited to the party. In real life, I've never known paramedics to stand back and say, "Something's fishy, so we shouldn't try to save this person, but call the police instead and report our suspicions." So far, this only seems to happen in fictional cities, so my list should be small and the places unreachable nor do I travel -- at all. Still, I'll have the list at the ready and if I see any of those names I'll politely tell the travel person, "Thanks, but no thanks." My last nit: What happened to Champion Yonkers? The last the reader sees of Champion Yonkers, he's supposed to be staying with a pet sitter until Joe can find out what to do with him, but nothing more is said about what happens to him and the cat was vital to the story. If you like mystery and murder and chocolate, this is the story for you.

8 comments:

Amanda said...

Mmm...chocolate...

PS - I love that you used "chocolate" as a tag.

Christina said...

I had to put "chocolate" in the tags, there was so much chocolate information (several pages separate from the story) in the book it deserved its special note of honor. Chocoholics will definitely eat this one alive. And I read this book strictly for the mystery. I'm sure some will say I need reevaluation.

hamilcar barca said...

just how does one become a former Texas trophy wife? eat too much clocolate and get traded in? shoot the chauvinist so-and-so? smarten up and take him for half his wealth?

Jason Gignac said...

Mr. Barca -

Perhaps you could move to Arkansas. Or get a sex change.

Amanda said...

Okay, I read Jason's comment and had completely forgotten your question, Terry, and I was wondering why in the world Jason would tell you that...

hamilcar barca said...

ah, Arkansas! where the men are men, and the sheep are scared.
;-)

Christina said...

Lee divorced her husband (though she didn't take him for any of his money), though the options y'all provided are something to consider, kind of extreme, but options nonetheless.

hamilcar barca said...

well, my third guess was close. that's an unusual background to use for the main character of the book. fiction seldom holds trophy wives in high regard. that's a nice change of pace.