Saturday, March 12, 2011

Semisweet - A Maggie and Odessa Mystery by Jill Brock

Reviewed for: Review The Book
Published by CreateSpace

This is the third book in the Maggie and Odessa series, however this is the first I have read. The book is entertaining with distinctive continuing characters, as well as a mixed bag of tricky characters filling out the current book. I found it unusual and interesting that although I believe Maggie is the main character, the story is told by Odessa, like Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Maggie is ostensibly working as file clerk and receptionist for a private eye but she is determined to take on a case of her own. In "Semisweet" she gets her chance, or more correctly, she makes her chance. Odessa, O to her friends and Dessa to her boyfriend Lee, is Maggie's "sidekick". Odessa is a dessert chef, working both privately and at her sister Candace's restaurant, the Blue Moon, when she isn't running after Maggie helping solve crime.

The story opens with a terrified Odessa being held with a knife at her throat in the almost empty restaurant. Good opening, certainly gains the reader's attention, and I liked the humourous touch in this scene as well. We meet Maggie first via cellphone, as the knife wielder is handcuffed and led out of the restaurant. A bright, cheery happy voice breaking the tension. We meet her in person two days later accompanied by the woman involved in what Maggie refers to as her first case. Her boss was out when she took the call and she decided this was a good time for her to take on a case of her own, licensed or not.

The story revolves around this case, a strange one if ever there was. Maggie is to act as a wedding planner for Mrs. Verde's daughter, Eloise. The well-to-do Mrs. Verde will pay whatever the cost. Odessa is to make the wedding cake and desserts, and even Candace is involved as caterer and assistant to Maggie as a planner. Strangely, while planning the wedding for Eloise, Maggie is also supposed to be digging up dirt on Henry, the bridegroom-to-be, and make sure the wedding doesn't happen! What could be cozier? If this were not enough, Maggie has to take along her 8 year old Houdini son part of the time, frustratingly helpful as he is. This, then, is the theme of this humourous but captivating book.

Jill Brock has created many opportunities for sleuthing, especially when finding dirt on Henry is not panning out very well and time is running out. When strange events start gearing up, usually with Odessa as a victim, things get interesting.. This causes the story, though focused, to take several changes in direction. These events run the gamut of lies to murder, but who is really involved? Is Henry really Mister Nice Guy, or is he an expert at illusion? There is a lot of fun and adventure in this cozy mystery, with enough questions to mull over and enjoy. I predict these characters will become favorites.

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