Everyone who knew the bozo wanted him dead. Odd, then, that a complete stranger was accused of bursting Moe Davidson’s balloons. But it’s been a month since the miserable shop owner of Clowning Around was killed, and everybody’s moving on, including Lee Woodyard. Her chocolate shop, TenHuis Chocolade, is next door to Moe’s shuttered tourist trap, and it’s giving her delicious ideas to expand. But over whose dead body?
Moe’s widow, Emma, and her two stepchildren list the property for sale, but when Lee tours the building, she finds Emma unconscious. Now Lee wonders whether Moe’s real killer is still at large and is taking care of unfinished business. Unfortunately, since the town is celebrating Clown Week, there are so many potential suspects in grease paint and floppy shoes it’s not even funny.
For Lee, protecting Emma, freeing an innocent man, and rolling out hundreds of her clown-themed chocolates is a pretty tall order. But so is staying alive long enough to find out which one of her neighbors is a killer in disguise.
Includes Tasty Chocolate Trivia!
By JoAnna Carl
When my editor asked me to start a new cozy series, I felt totally blank. After all, he’d previously been asking for “harder edged,” which is editor-speak for “more sex and violence.”
Now he wanted cozy?
“Just what is cozy?” I asked myself. Cats? Quilts? Tea? Chocolate?
At that word my heart leapt with joy. What could be cozier than chocolate?
And I had a daughter in the chocolate business!
What fabulous access to inside information for research! Someone I could call at ten o’clock at night and ask the melting point of chocolate! Wow!
Before I got through I had added a blond heroine who was an accountant. Well, yes. It just so happens that I also have a blond daughter who’s a CPA.
She is also among a group of my more interesting relatives who 1) are extremely intelligent and 2) get their words mixed up. It’s called “Malapropism” and it can be hilarious.
When this daughter was 16, unbranded products became popular in the nation’s grocery stores. She found this trend interesting.
“Michelle’s mom bought some of that geriatric beer,” she told me. I think she meant generic.
Malapropism makes people underestimate the insight and abilities of those afflicted with it, a real advantage for a fictional detective. And believe me, anybody who can pass the CPA exam has lots of insight and abilities. Even if she does mix up “empathy” and “apathy.”
Anyway, with access (I thought) to information about both chocolate and accounting, I was all set. And I’ve milked my daughters’ knowledge for fourteen books, including in my new opus, THE CHOCOLATE CLOWN CORPSE, to be published in November.
My son didn’t have such an obvious role in the inception of the Chocoholic books. He is the only one of my offspring who is a book freak like his mother. He is a college librarian now working on his third graduate degree. It took me thirteen books before I could work in a suave, good-looking librarian – with A Secret – into the series. Such a person appears in THE CHOCOLATE BOOK BANDIT. Its paperback edition will be out in November.
Now I want to make it clear that none of the characters in my books are anything like any of my kids. And not one of my kids has ever stumbled over a body, found a clue, or taken part in a car chase.
The characters are themselves, and, believe me, so are the kids. But if I hadn’t had that germ of an idea about my daughter answering questions about chocolate, if she hadn’t been willing to give me a tour of her work place, if her boss hadn’t been friendly and cooperative – well, my initial realization that chocolate was the coziest thing in the world might never have become a series.