(Ya know, every once in a while I have to stop and wonder that the books I describe as light and fun and enjoyable revolve around murder and violence.... But if you read cozies you know what I mean. Someone is dead, but there's not a lot of incest, or abuse, or difficult medical decisions involving the death of a family member. They're all about 'innocent' murders :-) Okay, ignore that aside. I just felt that it needed to stated.)
Anyway, my mom sent me the newest book in Childs' most recent series: the Cackleberry Club mysteries. Eggs in Purgatory is an interesting twist on the recent phenomenon of themed murder mystery series. Many books revolve around a central focus - knitting, cooking, dog shoes, bear collecting... you get the idea. The Cackleberry Club seems to combine a half a dozen different themes into one coherent story. The three main characters - middle-aged tough but lovable women - run a restaurant/bookstore/yarn shop. The restaurant serves tea and scones along with down home eggs and grits. They purchase locally produced products from the neighboring farm community. They have book and knitting groups and are planning a cake decorating contest.
Confused? Overwhelmed? Yeah, that's kind of how I felt. The jumbling together of every contemporary popular theme seemed a bit forced to me.
Nonetheless, I liked the characters. They were a bit grittier than the typical Miss Marple style sleuth. They had real problems and didn't hesitate to wield frying pans at ex-husbands and swear at obnoxious customers.
Oh wait. The point of the book is to solve a mystery in the middle of all of this cooking and book sorting. Yes, there's a mystery. Personally when the murderer stepped forward my first response was "who's that?" I appreciate leading the reader on different plausible paths to divert from the real killer but I was so completely diverted that the actual murderer hadn't made enough an impression on me to even be remembered.
All in all, diverting. But not one of Childs' best books.