Stake & Eggs (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Cover Artist: Lee White
Review by Harriet Klausner
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425255575
Date: 06 November 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Cackleberry Club Café owners (Suzanne, Toni, and Petra) wait for Kindred's new banker Ben Busacker to arrive for a meeting with them regarding the town's upcoming Fire and Ice festival. The three fortyish widows hear his snowmobile only to realize he crashed in the back of the café. Suzanne braves the snow storm to check on Ben. She finds the Kindred State Banker headless. Sheriff Roy Doogie arrives followed by the temporary coroner Dr. Sam Hazelet, who is dating Suzanne. The three ladies realize they heard two snowmobiles and conclude the rider of the second one placed a wire to sever Ben’s head; ergo this is murder.
The next morning on the local radio station town Mayor Mobley announces the festival will still occur. Doogie informs Suzanne that the victim had many enemies as he eliminated free checking and foreclosed on many properties since arriving with his snooty wife only a few months ago. Encouraged by the realization that several of their best customers are persons of interest with strong motives to kill the banker, Suzanne, assisted by her Cackleberry Club café partners, investigates the homicide in order to prove that none of their frequent guests are killers.
The latest Cackleberry Club Mystery (see Eggs in Purgatory, Eggs Benedict Arnold, and Bedeviled Eggs) is an enjoyable cozy starring three BFFs who turn their café into an In place in the Midwestern town of Kindred. The ladies are close buddies who share being young widows and the café ownership; but each also possesses a different personality. Their jocular camaraderie provides a sense of realism as for instance they use humor to deal with issues and, in their case the murder, on their property. The townsfolk especially the sheriff and other customer-suspects add local color as well as additional friendship.
Suzanne sets the tone of the cozy when she bravely goes out into a blizzard to see if Ben is okay; only finding him garroted which leads to her puking. Still in spite of her stomach churning (not a good thing to happen to a café owner) she shows further courage as she listens closely to customers talking about the homicide before deciding to make her own inquiries with her two BFFs joining her. Fast-paced throughout, fans will enjoy this entertaining whodunit as the Cackleberry Club are on the case and Laura Childs also provides several recipes (note that tea is served in the author's Tea Shop Mysteries as this is a coffee caper).