Cooking the Books, by Kerry Greenwood

Corinna Chapman is supposed to be on holidays. She has closed the bakery for January, sent her apprentice Jason off on holidays and is supposed to be relaxing.

He smiled at me. My heart did a complete flip-flop with pike. Beautiful Daniel, my Sabra turned private detective, who out of all the women in the city picked me, an ample size 20 who worked too hard making bread at my bakery, Eartly Delights. Since the advent of Daniel I have become susceptible to the idea that miracles might really happen.

Corinna Chapman is supposed to be on holidays. She has closed the bakery for January, sent her apprentice Jason off on holidays and is supposed to be relaxing. But when an old friend asks – nay, demands – that Corinna help her with the baking for the set of a soap opera, she finds herself back at work baking. And, of course, wherever Corinna goes there is a mystery or two to solve.

On the set of ‘Kis the Bride’, where Corinna’s two bakery assistants have scored roles, a diva is searching for clues to the fate of her long-lost son, and someone is busy sabotaging the soapie. Meanwhile, elsewhere in town, a young accounting intern is being harassed by her employers. Along the way she’s managed to lose a stack of valuable bonds. Daniel, Corinna’s beautiful boyfriend, and a private eye, has been hired to find the bonds and restore the girl’s name.

Cooking the Books is the sixth title featuring the divine Corinna Chapman, baker, ex-accountant and part time sleuth. As a reader you can’t help loving Corinna – and she is surrounded by people who find her similarly pleasing – Daniel, Jason, the grils, and most of the eclectic residents of her apartment building. The other problem the readers strikes is battling hunger pangs. Corinna loves food, and the reader is taken on a culinary journey. Fortunately author Kerry Greenwood provides some recipes at the back of the book.

Wonderful stuff.

Cooking the Books

Cooking the Books, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2011
ISBN 9781742370217

This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

Forbidden Fruit, by Kerry Greenwood

It is Christmas time, a season that Corinna Chapman hates, and a heat wave is stifling the whole city. But still bread and muffins must be baked, and Corinna and her apprentice Jason are doing just that, keeping their clientele – which has grown to include a rosewater loving donkey – happy. In between times, Corinna is kept busy helping her divine private investigator boyfriend Daniel as he searches for two teenage runaways.

Brigid is heavily pregnant and Manny is helping her run from her family, who have been keeping her captive. Daniel and Corinna’s search is hampered by the runaways’ fear, and by the strange men in suits who seem to want the girl, and her baby. Fortunately, they also have at their disposal an eclectic range of helpers – free spirit freegans, over-zealous vegans, internet hackers and even a witch.

Forbidden Fruit is the fifth adventure featuring baker Corinna Chapman and her intriguing friends and associates. Corinna is a dry witted, feisty woman, with an unmatchable view of the world. Readers will be delighted to see regular characters from previous volumes including Meroe the witch, dreamy Daniel and shop girls Goss and Kylie, as well as new characters including Brigid and Manny and Serena the donkey. Food lovers will also love the elaborate detail of the food which is entwined throughout the plot.


Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Trick or Treat, by Kerry Greenwood

‘Gone, gone,’ mourned the young man. He seemed unaware of Meroe’s existence. He kept bumping against her in a vague way, as though she was a wall in his path. She turned him gently so that he was facing an actual wall and he continued to try to walk through it.

Corinna Chapman is worried. Not only has a new bread shop opened up nearby, but her gorgeous boyfriend Daniel has an old friend staying with him – an old friend who is blonde, leggy and up to something. Perhaps most worrying of all, however, is the way that people are going mad in the proximity of Corinna’s shop after eating, of all things, bread. Surely Corinna hasn’t inadvertently poisoned them?

Trick or Treat is the fourth adventure for Corinna, a reluctant amateur sleuth who has turned her back on life as an accountant to run her bakery. Whilst it is definitely a crime fiction novel, it is also something more, as Corinna’s little corner of Melbourne is brought to life with an eclectic cast of misfits, eccentrics and just plain nice people. The more one reads of this series, the more one feels that the people are real. The reader is drawn into their lives and their dramas, caring what happens to them.

Good stuff.

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2007

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Devil's Food, by Kerry Greenwood

He gave me the axe. I let out the breath I had been holding and went upstairs to prepare to face the day, which meant that while I was dressing my coffee would be brewing. You may keep your energy drinks with their strange over-scent of curried grass. I am faithful to the superlative bean. No coffee, no baking. It’s a simple rule.

Corinna Chapman loves food. In fact her life revolves around it. She’s the proprietor of the Earthly Delights bakery and is at her happiest when she is watching customers enjoy her wares,. So, when a strange cult is established in her neighbourhood she is not happy. The cult advocates starvation as a way to God and eats only famine bread which tastes, to Corinna, like sawdust.

As if the cult isn’t upsetting enough, Corinna has a more personal drama to deal with. Her mother, Starshine, is in town, in search of Corinna’s father, Sunlight, who is missing on the streets of Melbourne. Corinna and Daniel, her handsome private eye boyfriend, must find Sunlight, and unravel the sinister happenings which seem to have links with the cult.

Devil’s Food is the third mystery featuring Corinna Chapman. It uses the winning formula of mystery, adventure, food and friendship. Corinna lives in a whimsical apartment block populated by an eclectic mix of residents and numerous cats, all of whom play roles in each mystery and its resolution, so that the reader has a growing sense of knowing these characters. Whilst the mysteries touch on dark and frightening events, they do so through the eyes of a warm and wryly humorous protagonist in Corinna, making them enjoyable and entertaining, and easy to devour.

Very digestible.

Devil’s Food, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2006

Heavenly Pleasures, by Kerry Greenwood

Corinna Chapman likes the quiet life: good food, good company and her daily work as a baker. She doesn’t really want mystery and intrigue in her life. Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t have much choice.

Corinna’s apartment building seems to be a magnet for mystery and mayhem and, with her new lover Daniel a private investigator, Corinna seems destined to be involved in solving these mysteries.

This second book in the series sees a prankster spiking the chocolates at the nearby Heavenly Pleasures chocolate store, an attempt to blow up the apartment block, and strange new residents moving in.

This new series has some of the hallmarks of author Kerry Greenwood’s other long running series – the Phryne Fisher mysteries: mystery (of course), good food, gorgeous young men and a sassy central female character. But Corinna Chapman is not a modern day Phryne Fisher. Where Phryne is classy and independently wealthy, Corinna is overweight, frumpy and tied to her bread shop. Where Phryne has a butler and a ladies’ maid, Corinna’s helpers in her shop are Jason, a recovering drug addict, and two anorexic models. What is common in the two is that Greenwood manages to portray each so skilfully.

Heavenly Pleasures is a delicious offering and, for those who may have been put off by some of the darker parts of its prequel, Earthly Delights, this title is a little more mainstream in taste.

Heavenly Pleasures, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2005

Earthly Delights, by Kerry Greenwood

Kerry Greenwood, creator of the 1920s sleuth Phryne Fisher, has a new, modern-day investigator to delight her fans. Corinna Chapman is a reformed accountant who, having escaped that profession and a boring marriage, now runs ‘Earthly Delights’, a city bakery in Melbourne. She lives in a 1920s apartment building where each flat is named after a Roman God and where the tenants are as colourful as a rainbow.

Corinna is content with her lot, until the morning she finds a drug addict dying outside her back door and later starts receiving threatening notes. Suddenly Corinna is entwined in the double mystery: who is killing the city’s drug-addicts and who is trying to get rid of Corinna and her fellow tenants.

Greenwood makes the transition from historical to contemporary seamlessly. Corinna Chapman is not just a modern-day Phryne Fisher, but there are enough of the ingredients which attract Greenwood’s readers to endear them to this new character. Notably familiar is the prevalence of good food and sensual assignations as well, of course, as a mystery which draws the reader inside the sleuth’s life.

Great reading.

Earthly Delights, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2004