Eggs on Ice
Cackleberry Club Mystery #8
By Laura Childs
Author’s website: laurachilds.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Some say that casting crusty attorney Allen Sharpe as Scrooge in the Kindred Players production of “A Christmas Carol” is just playing to type. He’s not the most beloved man in town. In fact, you’d have a dickens of a time finding someone who liked him. Still it’s a shock when the Ghost of Christmas Past stabs him during the first rehearsal. Suzanne, co-owner of the Cackleberry Club cafe, Kindred’s favorite combination diner, craft store and bookshop, chases the murderer out of the building but loses him in the alley.
As the days pass the list of suspects grows longer. Is it the disgruntled partner? The former secretary whom Sharpe sexually harassed? Or is it fellow owner of the Cackleberry Club, Toni’s almost ex-husband, Junior? The women of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he can add another victim to his Christmas list. (Goodreads)
Eggs on Ice, the eighth Cackleberry Club Mystery, is definitely not the best book in the series. It gets off to a great start with the murder occurring right away. During a rehearsal of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is killed by the Ghost of Christmas Past right out in the open. Ingenious! However, the tale goes downhill quickly with suspects that are not well developed or engaging and a mystery that is not compelling. I do not feel like we get to know the victim Allen Sharpe well enough to care about finding justice for him. The inclusion of a second murder feels like filler. The reveal of the killer and his/her motive feels rushed and not worthy of murder.
Main characters Suzanne, Toni, and Petra co-own the Cackleberry Club Café. They are varied in background, attitude, and skills, but they make a great team. That said I always feel like Petra is not featured enough and rarely plays a role in investigating. Toni, who is often Suzanne’s sleuthing partner, frequently seems clueless and is increasingly getting on my nerves. Her almost ex-husband Junior baffles me. Is his stupidity supposed to provide comic relief? Suzanne always has good intentions and is compassionate, truly wanting to find justice. However, in Eggs on Ice she never seems to put the clues together and solve the mystery. Coincidence and being in the right place at the right time lead to unmasking the killer.
As always, the cozy café setting is the best part of the series. How wonderful it would be to go someplace for a delicious breakfast, browse the book nook, and surround yourself in glorious textiles in the craft corner. I enjoy the descriptions of the food, the elegant Christmas Tea, and the yarns. These details are why I keep coming back to read more books. Several of the recipes included in the back of the book look appealing.
I will continue to read the Cackleberry Club series in hopes that the next installment is back to the level of writing I have come to expect from Ms. Childs. Recommended to cozy readers looking for a Christmas backdrop.