Sunday, April 22, 2012

Drop Dead Chocolate-Jessica Beck

Drop Dead Chocolate

Jessica Beck

Minotaur, Apr 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250001054

In April Springs, North Carolina elections are coming soon. Mayor Cam Hamilton has been in office for years having won reelection numerous times. This election he has no opponent. Dorothy Hart is incensed with the mayor over winning the bid for a tax payer-funded job. Her daughter Suzanne Hart, owner of Donut Hearts, pushes her mom to file as a candidate, which she does. The election won’t take place because someone brutally kills the incumbent in the office that was going to be Dorothy’s election headquarters.

The police chief recuses himself from the homicide investigation because he is dating Dorothy. Suzanne’s boyfriend Jake leads the inquiry as there is no other choice with experience available and he is one degree further removed from the homicide than the chief is. He informs Suzanne they will not be able to see each other until the case is resolved. Knowing her mother is a prime suspect, Suzanne, as she has done before (see Killer Crullers and Sinister Sprinkles), decides to investigate. She quickly learns the late Hamilton demanded bribes and kickbacks among his multitude of nefarious activities; this leads to multiple suspects with a motive to end the extortion.

Suzanne acts like natural born investigator whose skills match those of her highly regarded experienced boyfriend. Once the sub-genre fan accepts her need to prove her mom’s innocence in spite of knowing Jake is great at his job (implies she distrusts her boyfriend), her actions are plausible and logical as she talks about the case with her suspect list in a shocking news manner. This Donut Shop Mystery is a charming Carolina culinary cozy and readers will enjoy visiting April Springs.

Harriet Klausner

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