The day I signed up for Book Chick City's 2010 Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge, I put several cozy, arm chair detective style mysteries on hold at the local library. The first to arrive in, as I was finishing up my last entry for the L.M. Montgomery Reading challenge (from which I won a very pretty Emma Parker locket, that I will be posting about later), was Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs. It seemed providential then, when I read the first line of Childs' novel:
"It might have been Kindred Spirit Days in Elmwood Park, but Suzanne Dietz wasn't exactly feeling the spirit."
I thought you Montgomery fans, might get a kick out of the coincidence.
As to Eggs Benedict Arnold, it is the second book in Crackleberry Club series by Laura Childs, and the first I've read of the series, though I have read several from Childs' two other series, the Tea Shop, and Scrapbooking Mysteries.
It is just over 300 pages long, but written in an easy weekend sort of style. With a line like - "Don't put all your eggs in one casket." - typed across the back cover, you know you're in for a light read. But, that's generally what I'm looking for in a mystery, not too much thinking, just some light entertainment, with enough challenge to keep me wondering, but easy enough to solve, so I get to feel smart, and if there are a few recipes at the back of the book (which there are in this case), all the better.
I enjoyed the mystery of Eggs Benedict Arnold, well enough. And I think the Crackleberry Club, a breakfast/lunch cafe, with a small book shop, and a knitting nook, run by three "girl" friends, two of them recently widowed, would be a place I wouldn't mind spending time in. But, I'm not sure about the small town of Kindred, somewhere in the Midwest, with a quonset hut strip bar, and meth problems, surrounded by a lot of farm land. Childs invests a lot more time into the city settings in her other series, and I missed that in this one.
I also found the language a little off color, and the characters lower classed than I care for. I was hoping for Miss Marple, and J.B. Fletcher, but I got Alice, and the girls, from Mel's diner. There were several scenes that seemed to have been borrowed from Childs' other novels, too. Not to mention, that I found three glaring grammatical mistakes (they have to be pretty obvious for me to notice them in the middle of a story, so I'm not sure why the editor didn't catch them).
With that said however, by the end of the story, I was warming to the characters. I think I might even like to visit the Crackleberry Club again, if they'd clean up their language, change their dating habits, and polish their manners just a touch.
It's great to be a homeschooler.