J.B. Stanley once again teases our taste buds and sates our appetites with Chili Con Corpses, the third installment in her utterly delicious Supper Club Mystery series. On this occasion, we bump into two supper club members, James and Bennett, working hard at the gym when Murphy Alistair, the editor of The Shenandoah Star Ledger, walks into the Y, accompanied by two drop-dead gorgeous strangers - twins Parker and Kinsley Willis. Later, while James and Bennett are rewarding their hard work at the gym with a treat from the Custard Cottage, Murphy and the twins show up again, and introductions are made. Parker is a vet who attended Virginia Tech with Murphy, and Kinsley is her quirky twin sister from New York.
The supper club members, a.k.a. The Flab Five, are five Quincy Gap, VA residents with very different backgrounds and interests, who get together on a regular basis for friendship and moral support in their quest to lose weight and improve their health. Since they have all made great strides toward their goals but are getting a bit tired of constantly dieting, Lindy suggests they try something new - so the club members all sign up for 10 Saturday cooking classes at Fix ân Freeze - to have fun and allow themselves to splurge on Mexican cuisine once a week.
James Henry, local librarian and supper club member, figures prominently in this particular supper club mystery. He's having some health issues, is having some problems in his romantic relationship with fellow supper clubber, Lucy, is worried about his father, is trying to resolve a dilemma dealing with a lottery ticket left at the library, and is unfortunate enough to stumble upon a very dead body while serving as a chaperone at Lindy's behest on a school field trip. When things start to look really bad for Lindy, the supper club members decide to do some sleuthing on their own. They are actually downright clever and come up with several ingenious ways to ferret out information about the possible suspects, although it isn't until all five of the club members are involved and working together that things really start to heat to boiling.
This is a thoroughly delightful cozy mystery, with a wonderful cast of realistic main characters, any of whom this reader would enjoy meeting in person, enough suspense and action to keep the story moving right along, and, as if that weren't enough, there are also several scrumptious Mexican recipes included! All in all, Chili Con Corpses is a very satisfying read, and I'll be waiting anxiously for J.B. Stanley's fourth Supper Club Mystery!
Carol Ann H. 3/24/2008
Third in the Supper Club Mystery series. Once again, the dialogue is a little stiff and the characters sometimes seem a bit slow ("An alibi - good point!") , but they are very likeable, although a little less so here than in the past two. These weird relationships of James' are confusing and distracting (what does he want?) Still a short easy recommended read for cozy fans only.