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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 3 star ratings
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    Laura Childs’ Eggs on Ice

    The local town production of the Christmas Carol is in rehearsal in Kindred, Minnesota. Suzanne, co-owner of the Cackleberry Club café and her cohort, Toni are part of the stage crew. Suzanne realizes that the huge Ghost from Christmas Past is not the scripted ghost. She then realizes that the man playing Scrooge, attorney Allan Sharp has been murdered during the scene. The story has intrigue, mystery, suspense. There is quite a tangled web of clues, plenty of secrets revealed with lies uncovered. The mystery has been uniquely blended with a cast of complex, well defined, some quirky and all very interesting characters. An enjoyable Christmas mystery. This is book # 8 in the Cackleberry Club Mystery series. It can be read as a stand alone as the author weaves the past and present together effortlessly. Recipes Included. I volunteered to read Eggs on Ice. Thanks to the Penguin’s First-to-Read Program for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
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    The Cackleberry Club is at it again!

    Eggs on Ice by Laura Childs is the eighth A Cackleberry Club Mystery. Suzanne Dietz along with her partners, Toni and Petra own The Cackleberry Club in Kindred. It is a combination café, bookstore and craft corner. Suzanne and Toni have volunteered to work backstage at the Oakhurst Theatre where the Kindred Players it is putting on a production of A Christmas Carol. Allan Sharpe, the town curmudgeon and a local lawyer, was cast perfectly as Scrooge. Suzanne and Toni are learning how to operate the curtains and lighting board while watching the scene between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past. Both actors play their parts beautifully, but Scrooge fails to get up when the act finishes. Suzanne approaches Allan and discovers he was stabbed. She gives chase to the ghost until he threatens her with his knife. The next day Amber Payson comes into the café to speak with Suzanne. Amber is the police’s prime suspect and she needs Suzanne’s help in clearing her name. As the days go by, the evidence mounts against Amber, but there are many people who disliked Allan including the play’s director. Then someone sets fire to Junior’s trailer and he needs a new place to live (oh, dear). Is the fire connected to the murder? Suzanne and Toni are searching for clues and find another victim. The Cackleberry Club ladies needs to find the murderer before he strikes again. Can they find the nefarious killer or will one of them end of a Ghost of Christmas Present? Eggs on Ice contains good writing along with gentle pacing. Eggs on Ice is a cozy mystery that is best not read as a standalone. Details that readers need are not included in the eighth A Cackleberry Club Mystery (some information is imparted as the book progresses). I recommend beginning with Eggs in Purgatory. The Cackleberry Club is a unique restaurant with a Book Nook and the Knitting Nest. It sounds like my type of café. We get wonderful descriptions of the unique yarns they carry. I have never heard of the some of the yard blends Petra works with and has ordered for the shop (though, I am eager to find and create objects with them). The main characters are likeable and relatable. The three women are best friends despite their diverse personalities. Suzanne is the main voice of the story. She is engaged to Dr. Sam Hazelet and they have a warm, loving relationship. Toni is unique with her beliefs and her husband. There are a variety of off-beat characters in the story with Junior Garrett, Toni’s wacky sort-of husband, being the quirkiest. He constantly finds himself in trouble thanks to his bad choices and lack of intelligence. The murder occurs in the first chapter of the book. We then follow Suzanne as she goes about her daily activities (working, spending time with friends and her fiancé) and questions interested parties she encounters. Suzanne along with Toni do break into one interested parties’ home to look for clues. There is little action in the book until the end. I like Suzanne’s style of questioning. She is not intrusive or demanding which I appreciate. I kept hoping Suzanne would put together the clues and identify the killer (whom I identified before the body left the theater). It was interesting how Suzanne subdued the killer, but it seemed unrealistic (the item has a safety feature that prevents it from being used in that manner). The ending was abrupt and felt incomplete. It needed another chapter to wrap up the whodunit satisfactorily (answer questions about the crime and the killer’s reasoning) and give readers a happy ending (see them celebrating Christmas would have been nice). I did not feel that Eggs on Ice is on the same level as the authors other works (A Tea Shop Mystery series and A Scrapbooking Mystery series). There are details missing from the story such as the main characters last names (Toni and Petra) and I am curious what state Kindred is in. There are recipes at the end for the items served in The Cackleberry Club. I wish there had been instruction for how to make the quilted tote mentioned in the book by Petra. Eggs on Ice is a cute and humorous cozy mystery set is a charming small town filled with off-beat individuals.
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