Lee McKinney has given up her career as a Texas trophy wife and moved back to the small town of Warner Pier, Wisconsin, where she spent the summers cashiering in her aunt's TenHuis Chocolade shop. Lee is helping out her Aunt Nettie by working at the store and balancing the company books while studying for her CPA exam. She knows that the store, while doing well, needs all of the extra summer business it can get to stay profitable so when a large order comes over from Clementine Ripley, Warner Pier's wealthiest and most hated resident, Lee urges her aunt to accept it regardless of her personal feelings on the matter.
Lee comes to regret this decision as Clementine Ripley dies the night of her party due to cyanide poisoning in the amaretto truffles that her Aunt Nettie provided. Things look even worse when Lee finds out that her Aunt Nettie blames Clementine Ripley for the death of her husband, which definitely provides her with a motive and she certainly had the means! But Lee quickly discovers that her Aunt Nettie was certainly not the only one who held a grudge against the infamous defense lawyer. There is Marion McCoy, Clementine's personal assistant, who ran her life, but didn't seem to really like her; Joe Woodyard, Warner Pier's golden boy and the subject of Lee's teenage crushes, the former Mr. Clementine Ripley inherits the entire estate; the Police Chief, who retired to Warner Pier after Clementine Ripley ruined his career in the big city, but couldn't escape her shadow; Mayor Herrerra, who looked like a fool when Clementine Ripley backed out of her deal to sell her land to the city to build an observation facility; not counting the town's notorious gossip Greg Glossop, Clementine's slick and charming investment partner and every criminal that Clementine Ripley kept out of jail.
This report prepared by Debbie
Signet, March 2002, 5.99, 240 pp.
Lee McKinney was considered a trophy wife because she came from an impoverished background and married a very wealthy Texas bachelor. She left him when the marriage went sour and refused a financial settlement so she was more financially impoverished than before her marriage. Her aunt Nettie, who lives in the Michigan resort town of Warner Pier, hires her to manage her chocolate business.
Clementine Ripley, a world famous and widely detested defense attorney, orders a few thousand dollars in specialty chocolates for a party she is throwing. Lee delivers the candy to her and is a waitress at the party whose Clem dies from cyanide poison injected into one of the chocolate candies. With her and her aunt's reputation and freedom on the line, Lee decides to do some sleuthing and manages to become a hostage to the killer.
Do not eat THE CHOCOLATE CAT CAPER on empty stomach. The descriptions of the individual pieces of candy are so mouth-watering; one will gain weight just from reading about them. JoAnna Carl has created a delicious mystery starring a heroine who will endear herself to the audience. This is the beginning of what looks like a terrific new cozy series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner