(A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
6th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
E-Book File Size: 1468 KB
As Suzanne is getting her hair colored at Root 66, she’s stunned to witness the County Services office next door suddenly go up in flames. Concerned neighbors throng the streets, and the fire department does their best. Unfortunately, their best isn’t enough to save longtime civil service worker—and friend to the Cackleberry Club—Hannah Venable.
Soon enough, it’s discovered that an accelerant was used to fan the flames. Someone set the fire on purpose—was Hannah the intended victim? Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to smoke out the culprit.
Unfortunately, the list of suspects is as varied as the Cackleberry Club’s menu. When Suzanne finds a possible connection between the fire and the nearby Prairie Star Casino, she comes to realize that the arsonist wanted something very big and bad kept secret. And if the ladies aren’t careful, they may be the ones gambling with their lives…
Laura Childs has packed this book to the brim. The County Fair is about to start with Suzanne on horseback and Petra baking- both hoping for ribbons, the Cackleberry Club is hosting a dinner theater production, a vintage wedding is taking place in the park and Petra is making the wedding cake and a cute little baby is found out behind the club, not a human baby, but still oh so cute. But the whole story starts with a fire at the County Services Bureau. A fire that leads to explosion and leaves the secretary Hannah Venable dead. It could have been much worse. Several people were in the vicinity when the debris was flying including Suzanne who was at Root 66 and thought she smelled smoke and went outside to find the source.
Suzanne, Petra and Toni are three of my favorite cozy mystery characters. The author makes them come alive on the page. They are friends that are more like sisters. Their lives are all just bound together. Their dialogue is witty and quick and they really do have huge hearts and open minds about most things. Two of them don’t think much of Junior and his crazy ideas. He really takes advantage of Toni but she still seems to love the guy. I also like that Suzanne is dating a younger man who seems to really and truly love her.
As always the ladies, especially Suzanne, are poking their noses into the police investigation. The fire was ruled arson and that makes the death murder. Good thing the sheriff has his own permanent stool at the Cackleberry Club counter because you just know that where the clues lead trouble will follow. They make end up a little scorched but we don’t want these ladies getting burned.
With so much happening you would think it would be hard to follow but master storyteller Laura Child just lets it flow. She teases us a bit, diverts our attention, takes a few turns and a corkscrew twirl, and keeps us wanting more. This story was almost enveloping in the way it draws the reader in and holds on tight. A serious crime has been committed but she balances it with daily life, some romance and the perfect amount of laughs and giggles to make this thrilling and entertaining read.
A perfect cozy to cozy up with on a cold winter night.
About This Author
Laura Childs is the author of the Cackleberry Club Mysteries Tea Shop Mysteries, and Scrapbooking Mysteries. Her books have been named to the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists and been featured selections of the Mystery Guild’s Mystery Book Club.
Visit Laura at www.laurachilds.com
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”