Friday, February 5, 2010

The Chocolate Bear Burglary

The Chocolate Bear Burglary
Author: JoAnna Carl
Signet, 2002
225 pages

It's winter in Warner Point, Michigan, and the little tourist town on the lake is working hard to prepare for its annual event, Bear Week. The whole town is decorated with bear motifs. Main character Lee and her Aunt Nettie are decorating the walls of their chocolate shop with chocolate molds shaped like bears. One of the molds looks dirty, but when Lee offers to clean it, Aunt Nettie explains that chocolate molds should never be washed. This is the first of several teachable moments in this second-in-a-series Chocolate Shop Mystery, but it's also a foreshadowing of things to come.

Lee's ex-stepson Jeff unexpectedly comes to town from Texas, acting surly and distant, yet needy. He's 18 now, but this is the same kid who could lie without blinking, who at an early age was a master at pitting his parents against each other to get whatever he wanted. Lee isn't sure why he's come to her in his time of need. Nor is she sure why he sneaks out of the house at night.

There's a nighttime burglary at the chocolate shop, and just days later, the antiques dealer who lent them the chocolate molds is found dead on the street. Jeff just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time for both incidents, and suspicion looks his way. Of course, any number of people could be involved, really . . .

I read the book in about two hours, and figured out early on who the "bad guy" was. It was a nice read for a cold winter's night. Lee seems to be getting used to life in Michigan. I'm looking forward to seeing how her character progresses in the next installment.