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A Cackleberry Club Mystery

By Laura Childs

Berkley, 2008 ($6.95)
ISBN-10: 0425224953
ISBN-13: 978-0425224953

Reviewed by Rebecca Henderson

Middle-aged friends Suzanne, Toni, and Petra form the dynamic trio at work behind the counters at The Cackleberry Club restaurant in Laura Childs' EGGS IN PURGATORY. When patrons begin to turn up dead and clues point in every direction, owner and chef Suzanne takes the disturbing investigation into her own hands. Rife with plot twists, suspenseful scenes, and delicious recipes, EGGS IN PURGATORY will delight culinary and mystery connoisseurs alike.

Laura Childs' is clearly a seasoned mystery writer, and all her skills are brought to bear in this excellent work. Each scene is carefully written, packed with eloquent and sometimes funny descriptions of characters that will delight readers. Childs' plotting is impeccable. She doesn't overwhelm readers with too much information up front, but spaces her clues out over the course of the book, working them into the rich descriptions throughout the book. The book is fast-paced and exciting, never slowing as it moves through a number of plot twists, alternate suspects, and interesting characters.

One of the most striking elements of this book is Childs' clear love for cooking and food. Readers will undoubtedly find themselves drooling with pleasure at the amazing descriptions on every page of EGGS IN PURGATORY. Thank goodness, Childs even includes recipes at the end of the novel so readers can attempt some of the amazing culinary creations that have been tempting them through the book. While Childs is clearly a gourmand and a master in the kitchen, her recipes are realistic for even readers with more basic cooking skills, and are based mostly around traditional American food.

In sum, EGGS IN PURGATORY is a suspenseful, humerous, and thoroughly enjoyable mystery. Childs' characters are fun and appealing, and the story treads the line between serious suspense and lighthearted fun with ease. Readers will certainly look forward to more works in this series, both for the good reads and for the great eats!

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