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The Chocolate Snowman Murders by JoAnna Carl
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The Chocolate Snowman Murders

by JoAnna Carl

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This was my first experience with the Chocolate mysteries. Was a fun entertaining holiday mystery wrapped around a local holiday festival. The lead character in the book works for her aunt in an upscale chocolate shop. The plots revolves around mysteries from the past with some of the cast of characters from the winterfest committee. ( )
  ChrisWeir | Dec 8, 2014 |
This isn't the murder of chocolate snowmen, but two murders related to a winter festival in the town of Warner Pier, the badge of which is a snowman and the chocolate ones help to unearth the murderer.
It's light and fluffy and not all that difficult to work out whodunit. Murder 1, page 60, murderer identified (by me) at page 120; murderer and motive has to wait until; page 320. The detective, in this case, is lee & her husband Joe. She works for the chocolatiers in town, while he trained as a lawyer and is the town attorney one day a week. It's engaging enough, but not exactly gripping or intellectually challenging. The inserts with information on chocolate just seem a bit contrived and don;t add anything to the story, while interrupting the flow. A bit too cosy for me - but I could murder a chocolate snowman. ( )
  Helenliz | Dec 7, 2013 |
Like it happens sometimes, a fair handful of characters were introduced what seems like simultaneously. I inferred from that crowd that one of them was going to be the victim. It was fun right from the start to guess who it would be to die. The fun in this book stayed constantly. I thought Mozelle was the one to bite it. I was wrong. When the true victim appeared in the story, I had my doubts absolved. Here was a revolting chap, ideal and all fattened up - not only literally - for sacrifice.

I was less joyful with the second murder. It seemed pointless. It was pointless. There is no more dangerous than a murderer who's paranoid. It looked like the guilty one had used up all goodwill from fate or whatever, and had run out of safe ground. In retrospect it seemed that the nice person, the second victim was lost forever, but then a superficial character found redemption and was the new nice person in the Warner Pier committee. I'm guessing that touch was intentional, but you never know what is the intent in a fast paced, solid if not brilliant book.

The one constant conclusion with this series is that each book differs from its siblings, although there is a common signature. I was pleased to be able to picture parts of the scenery and the landscape, and that's saying a lot as spatial recognition is not my forte. The tight, no nonsense, and suspenseful prose of the climax caught me unawares. I missed minor appearances like Tracy and Brenda. And aunt Nettie. The latter gave me the impression that she had retired and left the shop to Lee. It seemed that only the committee was present in Warner Pier.

I am surprised that Joe never once became annoying in the series. After all he's, quote unquote, the best catch in West Michigan. Nevertheless he was the state debate team winner and wrestling champ too. Maybe it's because the focus is on his wife, but I think he will always be more of a Mary Sue than a Gary Stu, if that makes sense. He's supposed to be rugged and virile but he's in the background. Having said that, there are more males than females in this story. There are more unpleasant male characters too. Whether I personally find that true in real life is an opinion that stays variable from day to day.

I've now read eight books of Joanna Carl and that's a relatively prolific output. Unless you're a writer and your name is Nora Roberts, or Barbara Cartland, or Danielle Steel, or Agatha Christie. Okay so J Carl is not so prolific but it has been a real treat to read these books of hers over the span of a year. I dread the day when I'll have naught to look forward to except the books of other authors. I've made my peace with reading all of Miss Marple books, and I hope to handle the loss of this series' unblemished presence better. At least it's not outstayed its welcome. Unlike this review, and unlike life, really. My next to go to series would be crucial. Until then let's hope for the best. ( )
  Jiraiya | Jun 22, 2013 |
This Chocoholic Mystery series never disappoints! In this novel, both Lee and her husband find themselves ensnared in a murder investigation in which one of the detectives looks on them as his chief suspects. Things just get more complicated when Lee tries to understand the clues. For an entertaining read, complete with chocolate trivia that will have you flipping the pages even as you reach for the chocolate, you can’t do better than this. These engaging characters soon seem like old friends, and the more you read, the more you will want to read about their lives in this Michigan town. ( )
  Maydacat | Dec 21, 2012 |
This book certainly wasn't a master-piece but it did provide a nice easy-holiday-mystery-read. I didn't find the characters as endearing or compelling as some of the other popcorn series characters. This was partly because the main character wasn't flawed enough. Sure, she sometimes gets her tounge twisted under pressure which makes for some humorus scenes, but other than that she's almost model-esque. This might be because I have not read the previous novels in which she overcomes some trials to reach her current state. But, the mystery was thought-out well enough, and I enjoyed the portrayal of the small-town festivities and the tidbits of chocolate trivia sufficiently to recommend this book. ( )
  tsisler | Jan 14, 2011 |
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For the Old Broads--
Carolyn, Judy, Marcia, and Merline
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"If you don't want to serve on committees," Maggie McNutt said, "you should stop bringing chocolate to meetings."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451225066, Hardcover)

The scrumptious—and deadly— hardcover debut of the national bestselling Chocoholic Mysteries.

Lee McKinney Woodyard knows that being in the luxury chocolate business isn’t all sweetness and light, and neither is the holiday season. But she tries to draw the line at cold-blooded murder.

As treasurer of WinterFest, Lee is up to her elbows in the arguments, egos, and last-minute mix-ups that happen behind the scenes. But she’s coping, even when the guest juror of the art show shows up drunk. Lee leaves him to sleep it off, and is stunned the next day when her husband, Joe, discovers someone has put the visiting dignitary into a permanent state of repose...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

As treasurer of WinterFest, Lee McKinney Woodyard is getting tired of the egos, arguments, and last-minute mix-ups, especially when the guest juror of the art show shows up drunk, a situation that gets worse when her husband discovers that the visiting dignitary has been murdered, in a mystery set in the luscious if deadly world of chocolate.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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