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    Fifth book in A Supper Club Mystery series

    The Battered Body by Ellery Adams is the fifth novel in A Supper Club Mystery series. James Henry is the head librarian for Shenandoah County Library in Quincy’s Gap. His father, Jackson is getting married on Christmas Eve to Milla. James wants the newlyweds to be on their own when they return from their honeymoon, so he has been looking for his own home. After trying on his suit for the wedding, he notices that his weight has gone up considerably since Milla started cooking for the two men. James consults nutritionist, Dr. Ruth Wilkins and starts keeping a food journal. Now if he can just avoid the cheese doodles (and cake, cookies, the break room snack machine). At dinner about two weeks before the wedding, Milla announces that her sister is coming for the wedding and she will be making the cake. It turns out that Milla’s sister is Paulette Martine, a famous chef and “Diva of Dough”. Milla requests that James pick her up at the airport and warns him that Paulette can be “prickly” (that doesn’t bode well). Prickly turns out to be an understatement for the Diva’s attitude (rude, condescending, and critical are more accurate) and she estranges every person she encounters (unless there are press present). One morning James receives an early call from Lucy that the Diva has been found dead in the Widow’s Peak Inn kitchen covered in the cake batter she was mixing (what a waste of good cake batter). The Supper Club members are once again caught up in a murder. Can they whip up the killer and get the wedding back on track? The Battered Body is an entertaining cozy mystery. I thought The Battered Body was well-written, it had a steady pace and good flow (smooth transitions between sections). I do recommend reading Carb and Cadavers before embarking on other books in A Supper Club Mystery series. It will help you get to know the characters, their backgrounds and relationships. There is quite a bit going on in The Battered Body. The Fitzgerald brothers are intelligent, caring men. The libraries Elf on the Shelf is missing, and they intend to get it back. Scott has a girlfriend, and it is putting a strain on the twin’s relationship. They need to find a lady friend for Francis. James is hoping to start again with Lucy Hanover, but there may be an insurmountable obstacle in their path to happiness. James struggle with dieting adds levity to the book. I thought the author did a wonderful job at portraying the struggle many people have when trying to lose weight (especially during the holiday season and when a famous chef is in town cooking/baking up a storm). Bennett Marshall, the postal carrier, is going to appear on Jeopardy and he is diligently studying. Murphy Alistair’s book is coming out soon and the Supper Club is dreading it. They know that Murphy will not be kind. It is pleasant to see the changes in Jackson Henry. He has certainly transformed since the first book in this series, though, there is still is some gruffness about him (adds to his charm). The mystery was well-crafted, and readers will be surprised at the end. It is not one that can be completely solved before the reveal (we are not given all the details until later in the book). I welcomed the delightful quote from Cicero which books lovers everywhere can relate to. The quote is “a room without books is like a body without a soul”. I am eager to read the next installment in A Supper Club Mystery series.
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