Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Most Welcome Return

Corinna Chapman # 7
Kerry Greenwood
Poisoned Pen Press
September 10, 2019

It seems that I have been waiting forever for The Spotted Dog rather than "only" seven years.  I have read, re-read and listened to the adventures of Corinna Chapman, plus-size baker extraordinaire, and her gorgeous Israeli detective lover, Daniel. So I was delighted to receive an advance copy. Set in a highly fictionalized Melbourne, Corinna owns and runs Earthly Delights, a bakery on the ground floor of the Insula, an apartment building inhabited by a weird and wonderful cast of occupants who have a supportive and loving community of their own.

The Spotted Dog opens as all the books do, at the 4 AM rising of Corinna to do the baking. Baking is her calling, but even after years, Corinna is not at her best. Thankfully she has an assistant, ex-addict Jason, who comes in even earlier. Corinna opens the door to release Heckle and Jekyll, the "mouse police" from their nightly duties. Down the alley, she sees a tall man shambling towards her and mumbling that Sister Mary sent him to see Daniel. Sister Mary is the local stalwart advocate for the homeless, addicted, and mentally challenged outcasts of Melbourne. Of course, Corinna brings him in, where he collapses. Someone has mugged him and stolen his beloved service dog, Geordie. Alasdair Sinclair and Geordie were invalided out of the Army after horrible experiences in Afghanistan. A companion mystery is that of a visitor to Insula, Philomela, left both in a wheelchair and mute after an accident. Then there are a series of break-ins occurring at Insula. Can all these happenings be connected?

Corinna, with her absolute comfort with her body and huge heart, is one of my favorite fictional characters. All the supporting characters from previous books at least make an appearance. The interlocking storylines are a bit convoluted in this one, however. The "Autlralianisms" are plentiful, so Google is definitely a friend! As usual, the food descriptions are mouth-watering and recipes are included. The Spotted Dog is another satisfying read, though perhaps not one of my personal favorites. It could be read as a stand-alone but I would recommend reading the entire series. Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen.

RATING- 4 Stars

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