Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Puzzling mystery with good characters
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
A light mystery
Good puzzle, great characters
So a pleasant read

Hollywood Visits Warner Pier, Michigan

Cozy mysteries and food seem to go together. That's certainly the case in The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle, the fourth entry in the Chocoholic Mysteries. The series stars Lee McKinney, a native Texan who moved to Warner Pier, Michigan, after her divorce to help her Aunt Nettie run TenHuis Chocolade.

It's fall, and tourist season is winding down. Since Warner Pier is a resort town, that normally means that things quiet down. Not so this year since Hollywood has arrived in town in the form of Aubrey Andrews Armstrong. He plans to make a movie based on the book Maia Michaelson wrote on her family history.

But Lee McKinney suspects something isn't right from the start. For starters, Maia is a poor author and it's hardly likely that her little book would attract the attention of anyone not related to her. Aubrey seems too smooth and too good to be true. Lee seems to be the only one to realize this, however. Even normally level headed Aunt Nettie has agreed to go out on a date with him. With no one willing to listen to her, Lee sets out to find out what she can about Aubrey by herself. But she's hardly started when she finds a dead body. What's the connection to the movie? Can Lee stay alive long enough to find out?

As with other books in the series, I loved this one and could hardly put it down. Lee and her friends are wonderful characters that continue to grow on you. With each book, the main characters are fleshed out a little bit more. Lee has a nervous habit of mixing up her words, and that seems to be diminishing with each book. Personally, I find it funny, but some people find it overly cutesy and annoying.

While I had a couple of the sub-plots figured out early on, the main mystery surprised me from the get go. I didn't even guess who the murder victim would be. Even the final clue didn't help me solve the case. I had to wait until Lee explained things. Then, it all made perfect sense. That's not to say that there weren't plenty of clues. As always with this series, things progressed quickly.

The writing is smooth like always. There's nothing in the first person narration to slow you down or trip you up.

This does bring up the only word of warning I might have about this book. The book is a light, quick read. If you prefer darker, grittier mysteries, you won't enjoy this book at all.

Warner Pier is a great place to visit and Lee is a great tour guide, as she proves again in The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle. My only complaint is that we have to wait a year between visits.

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

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