Regular readers (or Bookbaggers as I affectionately call y’all 🙂 ) will be well aware of my love for Corinna Chapman and the series so far, so I’ll keep this short and sweet 🙂
Devil’s Food is the third Corinna Chapman mystery and revolves around a few mysteries all involving a similar problem: dangerous weight-loss. The first one starts when Corinna’s shop assistants, Kylie and Gossamer (who are typical weight/image obsessed teens) lash out at each other then dissolve into hysterics. Upon investigation Corinna finds a mysterious weight-loss tea in the girls apartment and resident witch Meroe confirms that the tea contains deadly ingredients and the girls strange behaviour was due to a slight overdose. Soon other residents of Insula (the Ancient Roman themed apartment the books are set in) Jon and Kepler hold a meeting to discuss a similar issue – suspicious herbs have been found in free trade products that Jon imports. Corinna and her detective boyfriend Daniel follow a couple of leads – a late-night club called Cade Vlad Tepes where Kylie and Goss say they got the tea; and the creepy Discarnate Brotherhood which have recently commissioned Corinna to make their ‘Famine Bread’ an unpalatable loaf made from lentil flour. On top of all this Corinna’s judgemental hippie mother, Starshine arrives out of the blue and demands Corinna helps her find her father, Sunlight, who is in Melbourne ‘finding himself’ and has been uncontactable.
Corinna somehow manages to balance all these dramas and still bakes fabulous bread, enjoys a G&T or two and a warm cat on her lap, and has romantic interludes with her hunky man (good on her!). This book is my favourite of the series so far, for a few reasons:
- Corinna and Daniel’s relationship has progressed and they’re so sweet that I feel really happy for them (even tho they’re not real :P)
- The residents of Insula came together like a real family in this book – helping Kylie and Goss recover; helping Jon and Kepler with the mystery of the herb-filled urns; looking after Jason (Corinna’s former-junkie-turned-master-muffin-creator baker’s assistant) when he is sick; and lastly celebrating Jason’s 16th birthday.
- The mysteries’ conclusions were actually surprising! usually I guess whodunnit at least with one or two mysteries In a many layered mystery, but with both conclusions in Devil’s Food, the guilty parties didn’t even cross my mind until all was almost revealed 🙂 It’s much more fun that way.
- At the end of most chapters was a creepy little snippet which starts with “the man who was not yet a murderer” and became more and more chilling as they went on. It was a very mysterious touch that made me want to read another chapter…and another.
- At the beginning of the book is a diagram showing all the apartments of Insula and who lives in them, which I found very useful as it’s a series with a wonderful host of characters which are sometimes tricky to keep track of. A similar diagram can be found on the official Corinna Chapman website if you’re interested.
Overall It was a very enjoyable book – a fun, warming winter read perfect for holidays (which I’m currently on :D). I can’t wait til I get my hands on the next Corinna Chapman book – Trick or Treat – and the last one (so far!) – Forbidden Fruit.
I give Devil’s Food by Kerry Greenwood: