Thursday, November 21, 2013

Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood

First Line: Four a.m. Who invented four a.m.?

Corinna Chapman may wonder who invented four a.m., but she's the one who gave up her high-profile life as an accountant and banker, walked away from a very unpleasant husband, and decided to follow her heart. Her heart told her to open Earthly Delights, a bakery in Melbourne, Australia, and we all know that bakers have to get that bread in the oven early.

Although Corinna's content with her life, the fates seem destined to try to change that. A junkie almost dies on her doorstep. Other junkies are dying all over town. Graffiti is being sprayed on businesses owned by females in the area. Tenants in her apartment building are receiving threatening letters, and the daughter of one of her neighbors has gone missing. If life is to return to normal, Corinna is going to have to do some investigating of her own once that bread comes out of the ovens.

Having already sampled and enjoyed Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series, I looked forward to this book with anticipation, but found Earthly Delights to be very uneven. I loved the setting in Corinna's bakery, the descriptions of bread making, and the creation of new recipes for muffins and the like. Corinna's eccentric neighbors in the very unusual Roman-style apartment complex known as Insula were also interesting and brought a lot to the story what few times they appeared. The only real exception to this list of secondary characters was Jase the homeless boy, who did share the spotlight with Corinna more. Jase's skill in experimenting with food and his growing relationship with Corinna really lit up the book. Also, the feeling of contentment and well-being whenever Corinna talked about the life she'd made for herself was a plus. However, there were a couple of things that really dulled my enjoyment.

The only real Australian flavor in the book comes from an occasional slang term like "arvo" ("afternoon") and too many Australian political references at the beginning that meant absolutely nothing to me. There wasn't that much investigating done either-- partly as a result of Corinna's being tied to the bakery for long periods of time. The identities of the perpetrators in the subplots were rather easily guessed as well. This first book reads more like a character study of Corinna and her romance with a handsome stranger named Daniel. Perhaps it was because Corinna was so satisfied with her life, but Earthly Delights lacked any sort of real spark to engage me enough to continue with the series.

Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood
eISBN: 9781615953721
Poisoned Pen Press © 2007
eBook, 240 pages

Cozy Mystery, #1 Corinna Chapman mystery
Rating: C+
Source: Purchased as an eBook through Amazon.


  1. Cathy - I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this one more than you did. I've found actually that a lot of people prefer one or the other of these series - they really are different. I happen to love the interactions among the people in Insula, and I love the wit in the stories. But I'll grant you it's a different sort of series.

    1. After I'd written my review, I went to Amazon to see what others thought, and it does seem that people prefer one series or the other. I admire Greenwood for creating two very different series, and I do understand that the first book isn't always the one that hooks the reader. There's a lot I liked about this book, but unfortunately it just didn't grab me.

  2. It just shows that individual taste is at play in all of our reading preferences. I like this series, the characters, bakery, wit, Melbourne and the cats. I've read this one and the next book, and my only limitations in reading them are time and that there are too many books out there and I'm eager to sample different authors works, countries of settings, etc.

    Sorry you didn't like this book. I can't get into the Phrynne Fisher books, but am going to try as I got a friend the TV episodes on dvd.

    1. I've sampled and enjoyed the Phryne Fisher series, but I haven't felt compelled to go back to it. To be completely honest, I prefer the television series based on the books.


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