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Authors: Joanna Carl

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #General

The Chocolate Mouse Trap

BOOK: The Chocolate Mouse Trap
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Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for the Chocoholic Mysteries
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up
“A JoAnna Carl mystery will be a winner. The trivia and vivid descriptions of the luscious confections are enough to make you hunger for more!”
—Roundtable Reviews
 
“Delicious.”
—Cluesunlimited
 
“A fast-paced, light read, full of chocolate facts and delectable treats. Lee is an endearing heroine.... Readers will enjoy the time they spend with Lee and Joe in Warner Pier and will look forward to returning for more murder dipped in chocolate.”
—The Mystery Reader
 
“The descriptions of the chocolates are enough to make your mouth water, so be prepared.... Once again, I enjoyed each page of the book and am already looking forward to my next visit to Warner Pier, Michigan.”
—Review Index
The Chocolate Bear Burglary
 
“Do not read
The Chocolate Bear Burglary
on an empty stomach because the luscious . . . descriptions of exotic chocolate will have you running out to buy gourmet sweets . . . a delectable treat.”

Midwest Book Review
 
“[Carl] teases with descriptions of mouthwatering bonbons and truffles while she drops clues.... [Lee is] vulnerable and real, endearingly defective.... Fast-paced and sprinkled with humor. Strongly recommended.”
—I Love a Mystery
 
“Kept me entertained to the very last word . . . a great new sleuth.... Interesting facts about chocolate.... a delicious new series.”

Romantic Times
The Chocolate Cat Caper
“A mouthwatering debut and a delicious new series! Feisty young heroine Lee McKinney is a delight in this chocolate treat. A real page-turner, and I got chocolate on every one! I can’t wait for the next.”
—Tamar Myers
 
“As delectable as a rich chocolate truffle and the mystery filling satisfies to the last prized morsel. Lee McKinney sells chocolates and solves crimes with panache and good humor. More, please. And I’ll take one of those dark chocolate oval bonbons. . . .”
—Carolyn Hart
 
“One will gain weight just from reading [this].... Delicious . . . the beginning of what looks like a terrific new cozy series.”

Midwest Book Review
 
“Enjoyable . . . entertaining . . . a fast-paced whodunit with lots of suspects and plenty of surprises . . . satisfies a passion for anything chocolate. In the fine tradition of Diane Mott Davidson.”

The Commercial Record
(MI)
Also by JoAnna Carl
The Chocolate Cat Caper
The Chocolate Bear Burglary
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up
The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle
SIGNET
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, September 2005
Copyright © Eve K. Sandstrom, 2005 All rights reserved
 
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
ISBN : 978-1-101-56376-2
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To Dave,
still my special guy
Acknowledgments
As ever, I owe many thanks to Morgen Chocolate in Dallas and the great staff there—especially my daughter, Betsy Peters. I also received help from Michigan friends and neighbors Susan McDermott, Tracy Paquin, and Bonnie Miller. Computer advice came from Joe Diaz and John Hornbeck, and literary information came from Dr. John Morris.
Chapter 1

I
’m sick and tired of killing this stupid inspirational junk,” I said. “If Julie Singletree doesn’t stop sending it, I’m going to kill her, as well as her messages.”
I’d been talking to myself, but when I raised my eyes from the computer screen, I realized I was also snarling at Aunt Nettie. She had nothing to do with the e-mail that had been driving me crazy, but she had innocently walked into my office, making herself a handy target for a glare.
Aunt Nettie smiled placidly; she’d understood that I was mad at my e-mail, not her. “Are you talking about that silly girl who’s trying to be a party planner?”
“Yes. I know she got us that big order for the chocolate mice, but I’m beginning to think the business she could throw our way can’t be worth the nausea brought on by these daily doses of Victorian sentiment.”
Aunt Nettie settled her solid Dutch figure into a chair and adjusted the white food-service hairnet that covered her hair—blond, streaked with gray. I don’t know how she works with chocolate all day long and keeps her white tunic and pants so sparkling clean.
“Victorian sentiment isn’t your style, Lee,” she said.
“Julie is sending six of us half a dozen messages every day, and I am not interested in her childish view of life. She alternates between ain’t-life-grand and ain’t-life-a-bitch, but both versions are coated with silly sugar. She never has anything clever or witty. Just dumb.”
“Why haven’t you asked to be taken off her list?”
I sighed and reached into my top desk drawer to raid my stash for a Bailey’s Irish Cream bonbon (“Classic cream liqueur interior in dark chocolate”). I’d worked for TenHuis Chocolade for more than two years, but I wasn’t at all tired of our products, described on our stationery as “Handmade chocolates in the Dutch tradition.” When you’re hassled by minor annoyances, such as e-mail, nothing soothes the troubled mind like a dose of chocolate.
Aunt Nettie was waiting for an answer, and I was hard put to find one. “I suppose I kept thinking that if I didn’t respond she’d simply drop me from her jokes and junk list,” I said.
“You didn’t even want to tell her you don’t want to receive any more spam?”
“Oh, it’s not spam. She’s made up a little list of us—it’s all west Michigan people connected with the fine foods and parties trade. Lindy’s on it, thanks to her new job in catering. There’s Jason Foster—you know, he’s got the contract for the new restaurant at Warner Point. There’s Carolyn Rose, at House of Roses—she carries a line of gourmet items. Margaret Van Meter from Holland—the cake decorating gal. And the Denhams, at Hideaway Inn. We’re all on the list. And since we all deal in fancy foods, Julie has named us the ‘Seventh Major Food Group.’ You know—grains, dairy, vegetables, fruit, meat, fats, and party food.”
“It
is
a funny name.”
“It’s the only witty idea Julie ever had.” I gestured toward the screen. “This message is typical. ‘A Prayer for the Working Woman.’ I haven’t read it, but I already know what it says.”
“What?” Aunt Nettie smiled. “Since I’ve worked all my life, I might benefit from a little prayer.”
“I can make you a printout, if you can stand the grossly lush roses Julie uses as a border.” I punched the appropriate keys as I talked. “I predict it will be about how downtrodden women are today because most of us work.”
BOOK: The Chocolate Mouse Trap
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