Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (Chocoholic Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters and story
Cons: One small plot point that's not fully explained
The Bottom Line:
Clearing the boyfriend
From a brilliant frame job
Will keep Lee hopping

Joe Gets Framed

The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up is the third book in the delicious Chocoholic Mysteries. The series stars accountant Lee McKinney, who works as the business manager in her Aunt Nettie's chocolate shop. They live in the small resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan. Lee hasn't been there long and is just starting to date former lawyer turned boat repairman Joe Woodyard.

When Hershel Perkins picks a fight with Joe at the local post office, Lee and the other locals think little of it. Hershel is known as the town crank; nice enough, but he's fought with just about everyone.

But that night, Hershel goes missing. All the evidence points to Joe, but Lee refuses to believe her boyfriend could have had anything to do with it. When Hershel is found dead, the stack of evidence against Joe could be overwhelming. Even Lee begins to have her doubts when she overhears some local gossip. Still, it's such an obvious frame job even the sheriff is looking for other suspects. An attempt on Lee and Joe's life only confirms the fact that something else sinister is going on in town. Can they stay alive long enough to clear Joe's name from town gossip and the law?

Even though this is the third in the series, a reader could easily jump in here. We get just enough background to remind us of the characters, but not enough to slow down the story. And the characters are expertly brought to life. Since I've read all the books in the series, they feel like old friends. Lee and Joe get the most development, and I love watching their relationship grow. And we're introduced to a fun new character I wish got this much page time in further books.

The plot moves along nicely, with several scenes that had me turning pages as quickly as I could. While it reaches a logical conclusion, there was one plot point that needed a little ironing out. It wasn't enough to detract from the book overall for me, however.

Even my normal complaints seem minor issues in this book. Lee's malapropisms are toned down. I usually complain about the "chocolate chats," a page every few chapters devoted to chocolate trivia. This time, the history of chocolate is shared, and it's actually pretty interesting.

The book is an easy read. I can fly through these books in a matter of hours. The writing is adequate, but nothing that will challenge you in any way.

If you are looking for something other then a light, cozy mystery, you'll be highly disappointed. Then again, what do you expect from a book titled The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up? Those who do enjoy cozies will love this charming series.

Enjoy more delightful chocolate crime with the rest of the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

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