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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2009. ISBN 9781741759822

This is the latest novel about the baker Corinna Chapman, who runs her bakery, Earthly Delights, in the middle of Melbourne, with the help of her apprentice Jason (a muffin-making genius), her two shop assistants, Kylie and Goss, who want to get into soap opera and her cat Horatio. Lucky Corinna has a gorgeous lover, Daniel Cohen, who is the actual detective, but shares in his cases.

As usual, the novel is a hoot. No murders, just a case of a missing couple, Joseph and Mary - er, Manny and Brigid, two teenagers who have run off together just before Christmas, Corinna's least favourite time of year (bah, humbug!). Brigid is part of a rich but nutty evangelist family who subscribe to a cult that believes Jesus was rich and who are waiting for a miraculous child called Shiloh, Child of Peace. Of course, there are miracles and miracles and in the twenty-first century there is more than one way to create your own. Brigid is heavily pregnant and her horrible parents want her back, but not for her own benefit.

And then there is Serena the rose-loving donkey and the carol-singers upstairs who have their own animal-rights agenda, despite their pretty voices.

The author carefully sets up her Christmas story so that you have the full Holy Family scene. But she does it with a broad wink.

As usual, the novel ends with recipes, after the usual group feast at Insula, the Roman-themed apartment block where Corinna lives. I haven't tried the recipes yet, but will - unlike the recipes at the end of some books, Kerry's actually work - she makes them herself.

You could probably read this book on its own, but why not go back and read the rest in the series if you haven't? They're well worth it.

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