Book Review: Eggs on Ice by Laura Childs
By Janet WebbDecember 13, 2018
Eggs on Ice, Laura Childs’ eighth entry in the Cackleberry Club mystery series, provides cozy readers with a merry dose of murder for the holiday season.
If you’re searching for an enjoyable Christmas “Cozy,” look no further than Eggs on Ice. It has a classic set-piece opening—Allan Sharp, a heartily disliked lawyer who plays the role of Scrooge in Kindred’s production of A Christmas Carol, is stabbed to death by the Ghost of Christmas Past. That certainly makes for an unforgettable dress rehearsal.
Suzanne, co-owner of the Cackleberry Club café, Kindred’s favorite combination diner, craft store and bookshop, chases the murderer out of the building but loses him in the alley.
Suzanne Dietz is incorrigibly intrepid in the face of personal danger, much to rueful dismay of “Dr. Sam Hazelet, the town doctor and her own personal hottie,” but life goes on. The three owners of the Cackleberry Club, Petra (the cook and quilting*knitting genius behind the Knitting Nest), Suzanne, and Toni, know from experience that their café will be busier than ever the morning after Allan Sharp’s demise. The food is an attraction as well.
So . . . rosemary scones and sticky rolls. Elvis French toast. Hash browns and turkey bacon. Breakfast burritos. Peach cobbler pancakes. Scrambled eggs and veggie omelets. Everything farm-to-fresh, but hearty enough to keep a person fueled for the cold.
Small town gossip fills the air as customers crowd through the doors. Laura Childs cleverly captures the ebb and flow of the theories that spiral around Kindred’s latest murder.
“Small-town folk,” Toni said. “Our underground network has better communication ops than the US military.”
“And everyone’s got a theory on whodunit.”
“Guy at table eight suspects al-Qaeda,” Toni said. She tapped a finger against her head. “Ca-rack-pot.”
There is no dearth of suspects. Amateur sleuth Suzanne and her colleagues have difficulty finding townsfolk that didn’t have an ax to grind with Allan Sharp. The death count mounts and as luck would have it, Suzanne is witness to another dead body—that of builder Teddy Hardwick: “His face had collapsed into a death mask, pale blue and shriveled from lack of oxygen.”
Frivolity, a frisson of fear, fabulous food, fellowship, and fun. Eggs on Ice has all these elements and more.
What are the elements of a successful Christmas Cozy Chronicle? Frivolity, a frisson of fear, fabulous food, fellowship, and fun. Eggs on Ice has all these elements and more. It is perhaps a cliché to envy the store at the core of so many small-town mysteries but I’m a goner for the Cackleberry Club. It has a café/diner with a menu that changes on a dime (and customers who demand and get individualized dishes!), a craft store that creates snuggly garments from innovative yarns spun from shed animal fur, AND a bookstore. I would never leave the premises, but Childs gives the reader a way to take Eggs on Ice home: she supplies recipes. “Church Basement Funeral Bars” took my fancy.
If you can’t get enough of the Cackleberry Club mysteries, number nine—Battered Eggs—is right around the corner.