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Eggs in Purgatory: A Cackleberry Club Mystery by Laura Childs
Cover Artist: Lee White
Review by Ernest Lilley
Berkley Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425224953
Date: 02 December 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Laura Child's Website / Show Official Info /

"Suzzane Dietz didn't set out to start the Cacleberry Club..." a friendly restaurant in what used to be a gas station her husband owned before he died. And she sure didn't set out to get mixed up in murder, fundamentalist religious cults, and a hidden scandal in her husband's life...but that's what she gets in this excellent first adventure for the three gals who run the Cackleberry Club.

More by Laura Childs:
Tea Shop Mystery:
Dragonwell Dead

Scrapbooking Mystery:
Motif for Murder
Frill Kill
Death Swatch

Cackleberry Club Mystery:
Eggs in Purgatory

Suzanne's husband Walter owned the old gas station and rest stop out on Highway 65, but after he died of pancreatic cancer and the oil company jacked up the prices she found that owning a gas station wasn't really what she wanted to do. Just about that time though, "her best friend Toni's husband took up with the floozy bartender at the American Legion, and Petra's husband got so bad he had to go into the Pine Manor nursing home. And the three women came together. Middle-aged, semi-desperate, with more grit than you can shake a stick at."

Three month's later, they've got a thriving cafe with a popular book nook, a steadily growing clientele...and oh yes...their lawyer dead in the back parking lot with the house special, Eggs Purgatory all over his face and blood on the steering wheel.

Now, you might worry that the cafe being a crime scene would slow business, but evidently murder just wets some folks appetites. But there's more murder on the menu, and as Suzanne get's sucked into the town's troubles (and her own) it begins to look like she might be a killer's desert choice.

This first Cackleberry Club mystery sets up the cast nicely. Her relationships with the Toni and Petra, the other two gals who work at the cafe, offer a lot of options for future stories, as does the grudging respect she earns from Officer Doogie, the town's chief cop.

The setup in Eggs in Purgatory is much like two films I like; Baghdad Cafe (1990) and the much more recent Waitress (2007) with murder mixed in instead of (or in addition too) romance. Ironically, Waitress did involve a real life murder, when the tremendously talented writer/director/co-star Adrienne Shelly was killed in her Manhattan apartment shortly after finishing the film. Plucky gals and restaurants are a good combination in my opinion. You might also try Jimmie Ruth Evans' Murder Over Easy (2006) featuring Wanda, a waitress at a southern diner that has a talent for investigation, while you wait for the next adventure at the Cackleberry Club: Eggs Benedict Arnold coming this December.

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