The Icing on the Corpse

A Camilla MacPhee Mystery, Book# 2     

By Mary Jane Maffini

ISBN13: 9780929141817

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra     



In the second Camilla MacPhee mystery, it’s now forty below in Canada’s capital, but victims’ advocate Camilla is feeling the heat. When a savage serial batterer goes on the rampage looking for revenge against his former girlfriend, the terrified woman turns to Camilla and Justice for Victims for help. But a sudden change of fortune causes her client to really feel the chill. Camilla wades into the investigation, now one of murder, and gets a frosty reception from the police. Soon everyone connected with the case is either cooling their heels behind bars or trying to avoid cold storage in the morgue. Camilla’s really skating on thin ice looking for this killer – literally.


The second installment of the Camilla MacPhee Mystery series, The Icing on the Corpse, is an engaging whodunit. As I get to know Camilla and her family and friends from this series, I grow more infatuated with the Camilla MacPhee Mystery series.

Camilla is a widower of four years, still missing her husband Paul. She certainly is carrying around great animosity towards the individual who was responsible for Paul’s death. Luckily, her passion for her work at Justice for Victims provides her someplace to be:

“Work is what saves me. It has been four years since that loser chu-a0lugged a six-pack then swallowed a palmful of downers and hurtled his RD-7 into the Toyota Tercel carrying my husband. Now Paul is just a picture above my desk, forever thirty, but the lowlife who killed him still breathes and drives. Perhaps a time will come when I can forgive.”

Let me first start off by saying, Mrs. Parnell (Camilla’s neighbor) is still a hoot. Always willing to help Camilla! Getting into no end of trouble, but with great instincts and a heart (which she tends not to show). And her age does NOT get in her way. She is one spry ole gal with guts! And surprisingly, her sleuthing skills are effective!

Another favorite character is Alvin – you could just sense Camilla’s frustration with Alvin:

Answer the phone, Alvin.” I did not swear. I did not indulge in sarcasm. I did not hyperventilate. Not even on the third ring. I didn’t want Alvin to press my buttons. This was harder than is sounds. “And take a message if it’s one of my sisters.”

And of course, you could always sense Camilla’s reluctance with regards to her sisters.  Especially now that a wedding is looming and Camilla is a bridesmaid. All this and a murder to solve….what is a gal to do.

Being from Ottawa – some of my favorite quotes from the book:

Some Monday’s start badly. When the wind chill factor approaches minus forty, you can count on it.”  AND “You don’t have to be crazy to live in Ottawa in the winter, but it helps.”

I liked how this book is around Winterlude time in Ottawa. Note: Winterlude was created in 1979 to celebrate Canada’s unique northern climate and culture. It is held in Ottawa–Gatineau each February.

This mystery has many potential suspects, which certainly added to the intrigue. And I am happy to report that I was not able to deduce who the actual ‘whodunit’ killer was until the end…just the way I like my mystery reads!

“But if the police or the Crown get wind of the fact that Lindsay left the house, they might even decide Elaine and Lindsay colluded to kill Benning. They could both end up in the hoosegow.”

With many suspects, Camilla waded through this list carefully, But (as one may know from the first book in the series) things do not always go according to plan when Camilla is in sleuth mode. But this does add to the intrigue as well as the chuckle factor.

I am hesitant to say too much about the murder and how Camilla solved it because I really think the reader should experience that themselves.  All in all, a fine cozy mystery with all the requisite components….an interesting (albeit a bit unusual) protagonist, a murder to solve and many helpful individuals to help our amateur sleuth. One is kept guessing until the end (okay…I was) and further interesting character development so that one truly hopes there is another book in this series (and there is…Little Boy Blues). I can’t wait to continue this journey. Thank you Mary Jane Maffini.