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Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood

Cooking the Books

by Kerry Greenwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Corinna Chapman Mysteries (6)

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1451282,607 (3.82)5



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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I used to really enjoy this Corinna Chapman series, but I am becoming disillusioned with Corinna and her hefty size 20. The book swelters with all the food, and causes me to run to the kitchen and chow down. I enjoyed most of the characters, but the ending with twins separated at birth stretches the story, a little. The beautiful building Insula played a very uneventful role in this novel, as well as the other inhabitants of Insula. The story dragged from day to day at the studio, a seemingly poor choice of a setting. ( )
  delphimo | May 15, 2013 |
The sixth in the series, Corinna Chapman, talented baker and reluctant investigator, starts off trying very hard to do nothing at all on her holidays. She is blackmailed by an old school mate into agreeing to do the baking for the film set of a new soap called 'Kiss the Bride' but how long it will last is anyone’s guess as serious sabotage is going on. Elsewhere in Melbourne a young woman is being bullied almost to the point of suicide by her employers and Daniel, Corinna’s love interest, has been hired to find some missing documents. You just know the two stories are going to collide and Corinna is going to be in the middle of it. Lots of subplots going on that add to the fun.
  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
It is summer in Melbourne, Australia and baker Corinna Chapman has closed her shop, Earthly Delights for a few weeks in order to have a vacation. That surely wouldn't work in my neck of the woods but it is a detail that reminds the reader that there are other exciting and different places in the world.

Amidst the hot northern wind that the Aussie's have no name for but many others do, like mistral, khamsin, sirocco or Santa Ana's mischief and mayhem is bound to occur because tempers get hot, people are uncomfortable and emotions are stirred. A Chinese friend of Corinna's calls it Dragon's Breath which is very apt.

Corinna is a little bored with her vacation and helps an old school friend out by helping her in her job as a caterer for a new TV soap about a wedding planner. Some funny and some not so funny things are happening on the set and Corinna is on the spot to help her partner Daniel, a PI who has been asked to find the culprits who are behind the pranks. Daniel is also working on another case of stolen bonds so the days and nights are filled with mysteries. There are several other sub-plots that keeps the reader alert.

In the case of the bonds the duo are following clues based on nursery rhymes and other literary references. It is this that gives this book a lift because I always like a variety of mental stimulations. I had known that many nursery rhymes had meanings reflecting the times in which they were born but I got a lovely mini-education about the rhymes. Just my cup of tea or cupcake as the case may be. Following the clues I used Google images to see what Corinna and Daniel were visiting and this further enhanced my enjoyment of this book. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
People looking for crime fiction at the lighter end of the mood spectrum are not always well served. An increasing number of so-called cosy mysteries rely on ridiculously quirky gimmicks rather than actual plots and these same books seemed to be aimed at barely literate 11-year olds rather than adults seeking a bit of respite from grim environments and human anguish. Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman books are therefore a very welcome aberration in that they offer proper plots, intelligent writing and loads of humour alongside the dearth of bloody corpses.

Cooking the Books is the sixth instalment of the series and sees Corinna struggling to grasp the concept of being ‘on holidays’ (I could teach the lady a thing or two here). She has closed her Melbourne bakery for a month and her apprentice has gone on a surfing holiday but when an old school mate asks for assistance with a catering job for a new TV production Corinna agrees willingly enough to bake bread and help out with other cooking duties. On the set of Kiss the Bride things are a bit fraught though as someone is playing a series of nasty practical jokes on the show’s star and tempers soon fray. Meanwhile, Corinna’s boyfriend Daniel, who is a private detective, is engaged to track down some missing bearer bonds which were left in a phone box by a harassed accounting firm intern and seem to have been spirited away by a homeless man called Pockets who has something of a literary bent. Having been raised in Israel Daniel doesn’t have the cultural references to the nursery rhymes being referenced in Pockets’ clues so relies on Corinna for some assistance with this case.

I thought this book brought the series back to its best form, showing that you can have a thoughtful and engaging crime plot even when there are no dead bodies to be seen (well not until right near the end). The theme explored particularly well here is that of bullying and its various incarnations in our workplaces. You really do get a sense of the psychology at play when some people bully and others put up with being bullied. Happily for the victims in this instance help is at hand in the form of Daniel and Corinna who are, in my experience, of a lot more practical use than real-world bullying reporting mechanisms. Sometimes a situation calls for an articulate plus-size lady (and/or a bloke who might have been in Mossad) to lay down the law rather than the completion of a form in triplicate. Just sayin.

Once again the story here involves Corinna and Daniel’s ‘family’, i.e. their neighbours in the inner-city Roman-inspired apartment building and the plethora of acquaintances they have made throughout the city. It is always nice to read a depiction of community and people helping each other out; a nice anecdote to the kind of book I read more regularly. The junk-food inhaling computer hackers, airhead actress wanabees, master salad dressing maker and white witch provide laughs, plot advancement and colour throughout the story. The arrival of an anchovy-obsessed tiger offered something new and different and I did find myself hankering for a big pussycat of my very own.

Sure Cooking the Books is a light, quick read but it’s both fun and funny, has mouth-watering descriptions of wonderful food, shows Melbourne off very nicely and offers a decent plot and warm, engaging characters to boot. What more could you want?

My rating 3.5 ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Have now finished all the books published in this series and I just adore them. All the characters, human and animal, are marvelous. Most live in the Insula, a pseudo-Roman apartment building, and the sense of community among them is lovely. The stories are exciting, dramatic sometimes, leavened with copassion and humor, very appropriate in a series about a baker. Highly recommended. ( )
  reannon | Dec 23, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerry Greenwoodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Phillips, KarenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Corinna Chapman, talented baker and reluctant investigator, accepts an offer from a caterer friend to do the baking for the film set of a new soap called "Kiss the Bride." While on the other side of town, a young woman is being unmercifully bullied by her corporate employers -- employers who spend a lot of time cooking the books.… (more)

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