Eggs on Ice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

It is always great to visit Kindred and sink into a chair at the Cackleberry Club (although Toni and Junior annoy me no end, Suzanne, Petra, Sam and the animals more than make up for that), I really like the fact that the Cackleberry Club is always prepared to step up and do something for someone else, whether an individual or a group, charity doesn't always begin at home sometimes it begins at the Cackleberry Club.

Christmas is on the way and A Christmas Carol is going to be the production at the Kindred Theatre, the three ladies of the Cackleberry Club are helping behind the scenes (Petra is helping with costumes as it is something she can fit in around hospital visits to her husband, Toni and Suzanne are backstage dealing with lighting and effects), the man playing Scrooge seems to be typecast as he seems to be Scrooge pre the four ghost visits, even so it seems  shocking that someone would kill him, but this is what happens, now with the weather getting worse and the Sheriff concentrating on one person as the murderer Suzanne needs to decide if she is going to be good (and stay out of it) or bad and try and help.
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It's hard to believe this is book 8 in the Cackleberry Club series.  The girls are all involved in the Christmas production of A Christmas Carol and are shocked when Scrooge is stabbed to death during the final dress rehearsal.  winter in Minnesota can be brutal but so can a murder suspect getting investigated by Suzanne and the Cackleberry club girls.  Laura Childs has many series and this one is way up there on my list of favorites.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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If you are looking for some Christmas spirit come to Kindred where the Kindred Theatre is putting on A Christmas Carol. The three lovely ladies of the Cackleberry Club are helping behind the scenes Petra with costumes while Toni and Suzanne handle the lighting as well as special effects. The man playing Scrooge fits the part so well that someone goes so far as to murder him.The weather is getting horrible and the Sheriff seems to be concentrating on only  one person as the murderer which causes Suzanne to start asking her own questions in an effort to solve the murder. Sweet town filled with wonderful characters that will make you feel like you are home while keeping you guessing along the way. Perfect for fans of the genre or those looking for some holiday cheer. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
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The Christmas season is in full swing in Kindred, Minnesota. The town is getting ready for their local show, “A Christmas Carol”. The lead role of Scrooge is being played by Allen Sharpe. Sharpe isn’t very well loved, so many feel that he has been perfectly cast. Then, during rehearsals he is killed by the Ghost of Christmas Past leaving the town shocked. Regardless of how many people disliked Sharpe, he didn’t deserve that.

To make things even more terrifying, one of the co-owners of the Cackleberry Club Cafe, Suzanne Dietz, is threatened by the killer. Suzanne isn’t going to be scared away, she is determined to discover who the killer is. With a little help from one of her fellow co-owners, Toni, they risk their lives to learn the truth.

This is the eighth book in the Cackleberry Club series and actually the first one I read. I can’t believe I haven’t tried to read this series sooner, especially since I’m a huge fan of Laura Childs’ writing and her other cozy mystery series. I was a little concerned that I was jumping in too late but I had nothing to fear. I felt drawn into this series from page one. 

Although these characters had a history I obviously knew nothing about, I was able to catch on quickly with the information intertwined throughout the book. I truly felt like I already knew these characters and they were old friends. There was no “getting to know you” period needed for me.

The storyline itself was intriguing with quite a number of suspects. I did have my suspicions about who did it but had no clue as to how or why. I was surprised by the exciting ending. 

As often happens to me when I read a Laura Childs’ book, I devour it quickly and then can’t wait for the next one. In this case, I have a nice backlist to read. This is the perfect book to read the week before Christmas. I loved every minute of it.
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In towns across America, small and large, a holiday production of A Christmas Carol or versions thereof are an annual tradition. The week leading up to any performance is an exciting yet tense time. In Kindred, Minnesota, as the temperatures fall, the curtain is readying to go up. 
Gathered together in the front row to watch a dress rehearsal, the cast is spooked when an actual ghost seems to float across the stage. The ladies working as stage hands are even closer to the action and can't believe how real it seems. But what happens is not in the script!
Suzanne and Toni make for an exciting and interesting pair of investigators. Add in a fire that complicates life for them and a schedule that is already packed to overflowing and there is never a moment to catch your breathe. Although Sheriff Doogie does find time to indulge in some bargain pancakes. 
I liked the diverse suspects and how all the parts were skillfully woven together. We got to know the residents of Kindred a bit better and I am looking forward to visiting again.
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Eggs on Ice by Laura Childs is the eighth A Cackleberry Club Mystery.  Suzanne Dietz along with her partners, Toni and Petra own The Cackleberry Club in Kindred. It is a combination café, bookstore and craft corner.   Suzanne and Toni have volunteered to work backstage at the Oakhurst Theatre where the Kindred Players it is putting on a production of A Christmas Carol.  Allan Sharpe, the town curmudgeon and a local lawyer, was cast perfectly as Scrooge.  Suzanne and Toni are learning how to operate the curtains and lighting board while watching the scene between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Both actors play their parts beautifully, but Scrooge fails to get up when the act finishes.  Suzanne approaches Allan and discovers he was stabbed.  She gives chase to the ghost until he threatens her with his knife.  The next day Amber Payson comes into the café to speak with Suzanne.  Amber is the police’s prime suspect and she needs Suzanne’s help in clearing her name.  As the days go by, the evidence mounts against Amber, but there are many people who disliked Allan including the play’s director.  Then someone sets fire to Junior’s trailer and he needs a new place to live (oh, dear).  Is the fire connected to the murder?  Suzanne and Toni are searching for clues and find another victim.  The Cackleberry Club ladies needs to find the murderer before he strikes again.  Can they find the nefarious killer or will one of them end of a Ghost of Christmas Present?

Eggs on Ice contains good writing along with gentle pacing.  Eggs on Ice is a cozy mystery that is best not read as a standalone.  Details that readers need are not included in the eighth A Cackleberry Club Mystery (some information is imparted as the book progresses).  I recommend beginning with Eggs in Purgatory.  The Cackleberry Club is a unique restaurant with a Book Nook and the Knitting Nest.  It sounds like my type of café.  We get wonderful descriptions of the unique yarns they carry.  I have never heard of the some of the yard blends Petra works with and has ordered for the shop (though, I am eager to find and create objects with them).  The main characters are likeable and relatable.  The three women are best friends despite their diverse personalities.  Suzanne is the main voice of the story.  She is engaged to Dr. Sam Hazelet and they have a warm, loving relationship.  Toni is unique with her beliefs and her husband.  There are a variety of off-beat characters in the story with Junior Garrett, Toni’s wacky sort-of husband, being the quirkiest.  He constantly finds himself in trouble thanks to his bad choices and lack of intelligence.  The murder occurs in the first chapter of the book.  We then follow Suzanne as she goes about her daily activities (working, spending time with friends and her fiancé) and questions interested parties she encounters.  Suzanne along with Toni do break into one interested parties’ home to look for clues.  There is little action in the book until the end.  I like Suzanne’s style of questioning.  She is not intrusive or demanding which I appreciate.  I kept hoping Suzanne would put together the clues and identify the killer (whom I identified before the body left the theater).  It was interesting how Suzanne subdued the killer, but it seemed unrealistic (the item has a safety feature that prevents it from being used in that manner).  The ending was abrupt and felt incomplete.  It needed another chapter to wrap up the whodunit satisfactorily (answer questions about the crime and the killer’s reasoning) and give readers a happy ending (see them celebrating Christmas would have been nice).  I did not feel that Eggs on Ice is on the same level as the authors other works (A Tea Shop Mystery series and A Scrapbooking Mystery series).  There are details missing from the story such as the main characters last names (Toni and Petra) and I am curious what state Kindred is in.  There are recipes at the end for the items served in The Cackleberry Club. I wish there had been instruction for how to make the quilted tote mentioned in the book by Petra.    Eggs on Ice is a cute and humorous cozy mystery set is a charming small town filled with off-beat individuals.
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I always enjoy a visit to Kindred and the Cackleberry Club.  In this one a local lawyer is stabbed during a rehearsal of The Christmas Carol by someone dressed as a ghost.  Suzanne gives chase but loses him.  Since she witnesses the murder she sets out to solve it.  I thought the murder was very clever and original but the rest of the mystery was very weak and did not make sense.  There were a lot of holes and the solution was rushed at the end.  The characters and the restaurant are still a lot of fun.  So pull up a stool and enjoy the food.  This series does not have to be read in order.
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EGGS ON ICE, the eighth book in the Cackleberry Club Mysteries by Laura Childs, brings A Christmas Carol to life on the pages. Protagonist, Suzanne, and her best friend, Toni, volunteer behind the scenes for the community production. They get caught up investigating when Scrooge is murdered by the Ghost of Christmas Future right in front of their eyes during dress rehearsal. I thought it was a very unique and clever setup for the murder and added a certain mystic to the scene. It just so happens that Scrooge is played by the town’s miserly scrooge and as they investigate, find even more people who weren’t all that unhappy with his death. I enjoyed the imagery and colorful descriptions the author provides in introducing the characters, which accurately captures their personalities. It makes the people in the story memorable. 

The interaction between Suzanne and her best friend, Toni, provides great interaction and opportunities for one-liners which had me chuckling. I found it heartwarming that Suzanne not only volunteers for various community projects, but also takes in rescue horses to foster until she finds people to give them forever homes. Her caring personality is exhibited over and over again, even when having to deal with Toni’s trying ex-husband, who is short a brick or two but is arrogant enough to think he’s got the full stack. 

I also appreciate that Ms. Childs starts her books off quickly with a crime, which moves the story along instead of dragging down the pace with too much backstory and set up. Even if you haven’t read any previous books in this series, this is easily read as a standalone. While there isn’t a ton of action in the investigation (Suzanne has a business to run and she devotes herself to it) there is a heart-pounding conclusion to wrap the story up, and had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
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It is Christmas season at Cackleberry Club Cafe. The town was getting ready for the Christmas Play, The Christmas Carol. During rehearsals, the scene with Scrooge and the ghost was playing out on stage in a very odd way. When the ghost exited, Scrooge was dead. Who killed Alan Sharp? He was playing Scrooge, but he was the most unliked man in town, so many people could have done it. The fact that the whole cast saw the murder, yet no one realized what was happening makes it even harder for Sheriff Doogie to figure out. When a second murder occurs and Junior's trailer gets torched, things just become more confusing. Suzanne is once again asked for help by Amber, the main suspect. Is she risking her own safety and that of her friends?

Laura Childs is a gifted author when it comes to blending the setting and the characters into her mysteries. I would love to visit the fictional Midwestern town of Kindred in this book. This series' strength comes from the friendship between Suzanne, Toni, and Petra. Suzanne is the ringleader when it comes to detecting. Petra is the calming influence and Toni wants to party. They all work so well together in the business with each bring a specific talent to the enterprise. Another strength is the Cackleberry Club Café itself. This is where everyone goes to meet, gossip, and dine, which allows Suzanne to gather information and ask questions. The one thing that bothers me is the men. Sheriff Doogie can't seem to figure anything out without Suzanne's help/interference, Junior is a bit of a doofus and Sam, who is a doctor, can't make a meal? I know this is a book about the women, but the men make them look bad as well. The author did a great job at keeping me guessing. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, there was a twist and I discovered I was wrong. The murder’s motive was the usual, money, yet it was barely mentioned. Overall, this was an enjoyable read, however I liked the earlier ones in the series better.
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Review of EGGS ON ICE by Laura Childs
(Cackleberry Club #8)

A really compelling cozy mystery laden with intrigue, this is Book 8 in the Cackleberry Club series, about three wonderful individuals who run the Cackleberry Club Cafe, Book Nook, and Knitting Nest (all-in-one-combination in a former service station). Currently their small-but-growing Midwestern town, Kindred, is nearly snowbound; the amateur play production is not going well once the Scrooge is murdered; and Suzanne is nearly killed herself in a rushed attempt to apprehend the "ghost" killer. Her fiance, Dr. Sam, wants her to stay safe; Sheriff Doogie wants her to buzz out; and the whole of Kindred is ready to panic in case it's a serial killer.

For the reader, it's all great and good fun in the sense that an Agatha Christie is gorgeously enjoyable. Too many suspects, too little evidence---who, who, who is the culprit? And why?
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The Kindred Players are gearing up for Christmas, getting ready to put on a production of A Christmas Carol. Local attorney Allen Sharpe is playing Ebeneezer Scrooge and he’s perfect for the role. A harder heart would be tough to find. When he’s stabbed to death on stage by a masked actor, Suzanne chases after him, but he manages to escape. The Cackleberry Club set to work tracking down suspects, but there are plenty to choose from. Could there even be suspects within the Club? Child’s provides good, solid entertainment for her readers
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