Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
JoAnna Carl on the WEB: Website, Goodreads
Books in the series:
The Chocolate Cat Caper (2002), The Chocolate Bear Burglary (2002), The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (2003), The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle (2004), The Chocolate Mouse Trap (2005), The Chocolate Bridal Bash (2006), The Chocolate Jewel Case (2007), The Chocolate Snowman Murders (2008), The Chocolate Cupid Killers (2009), The Chocolate Pirate Plot (2010), The Chocolate Castle Clue (2011), The Chocolate Moose Motive (2012 HC)
Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from The Chocolate Moose Motive, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
When Lee hires a free-spirited employee with a tie-dyed, troubled past, she discovers that even the counterculture can conceal a killer....
As much as the chocolate concoctions at TenHuis Chocolade can tantalize people’s tongues, Lee’s newest hire is more likely to make them wag. Forsythia “Sissy” Smith is the granddaughter of Warner Pier’s resident hippie, but the fact that Sissy is a third-generation flower child is the least of Lee’s concerns. The previous winter, Sissy’s husband, Buzz, was found dead, and even though her alibi was airtight, the gossips are still pointing their fingers at her.
Then the chief gossip is found dead, with Sissy on the scene. Was she lured there? Or is she the killer? Lee has a sneaking suspicion that someone is out to keep a dark secret from coming to light. And they would have no problem killing a certain clever chocolatier who might uncover the truth....
Readers return to Warner Pier in the twelfth book in The Chocoholic mystery series by JoAnna Carl. The Chocolate Moose Motive continues the adventures of Lee Woodyard and the crew from TenHuis Chocolate. Fans of the series will enjoy the quaint Michigan setting and returning to characters that have become old friends. The long lived series is full of interesting chocolate facts and trivia and some excellent recipes, but the main ingredient is always murder!
One of the things that I like about this series and The Chocolate Moose Motive in particular is the characters. Carl has created a town that will make readers nostalgic and having them missing their own hometowns. Warner Pier is like most small towns, full of interesting and sometimes eccentric people and always ripe for gossip. I liked the fact that Carl introduced two new characters in Sissy and her grandmother Wildflower in this book. I hope we see them again in future installments. Carl often mentions intriguing people that she doesn't always go on to incorporate more fully into her stories. There are so many that I hope get their own story someday.
Readers will enjoy returning to their old favorites, Lee and Joe and Aunt Netty of course, but it was nice to see Sissy in this novel. She is a young woman who the whole town suspects of murder, even though it was proved she didn't kill her husband. I liked the fact that Lee takes a chance on Sissy and tries to help her. I liked Sissy's hippie influences and die-dyed attire. She brought a new kind of interest to the series. She is just a young woman who seems to have gotten on the wrong side of the town gossip. In a small town that can be very awkward.
As usual, Lee is more curious than any cat you've ever seen. When she overhears Sissy and her father in law arguing she does a little snooping and finds out Sissy's story. She then hires her to work at TenHuis Chocolate. I liked the fact that Lee was able to figure out what most of the town didn't want to believe, Sissy was innocent. Lee is one of those heroines you don't find too often in cozies. She doesn't have an overly inflated attitude about her sleuthing. She doesn't think she is better than the police, nor does she come across as super nosy. Carl writes her as a very curious lady, who happens to find a clue here and there and puts two and two together with the best of them.
I think the author put a little too much emphasis on Lee's speaking issues and not quite enough on the main ingredient other than murder, chocolate. I loved all the facts about chocolate and the fudge recipe in the back of the book is too die for, but I felt like there was not as much info as we usually get with Carl's chocoholic books. I guess as a reader I'm just used to Carl writing a bit more detail when it comes to the family business. I haven't read too many cozies where the protagonists day job is a chocolatier and that's one of the reasons I love this one.
The mystery was a little predictable and I figured out whodunit quite awhile before the big reveal. That's not always a bad thing, as most of the it's all about the journey. In this one, each clue that Lee found reinforced my idea of who it was and that was kind of nice for a change. It didn't keep me second guessing like a lot of them do. I thought the suspect was believable as the murderer, but the motive was a little sketchy and wasn't as well fleshed out as I would have liked.
Overall this was good book, not the best in the series, but certainly not the worst.
The Chocolate Moose Motive is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym for a multipublished mystery writer. She spent more than twenty-five years in the newspaper business as a reporter, feature writer, editor, and columnist. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and also studied in the OU Professional Writing Program. She lives in Oklahoma but summers in Michigan, where the Chocoholic Mystery series is set.
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