Susan's Reviews > Earthly Delights

Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood
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Earthly Delights is the first book in the Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood, set in modern-day Melbourne Australia.

Corinna is a former accountant who changed careers when she found that she loved baking more than accounting. Earthly Delights, her bakery located in the Insula apartment building between Calico Alley and Flinders Lane in Melbourne, is named after The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. Insula is the Roman word for apartment, and Corinna's building is entirely decorated with Roman deities. Corinna lives alone with her cats: Horatio (the aristocrat), Heckle and Jekyll (the Mouse Police).

Corinna's offbeat neighbors in Insula nclude: a professor, a Wiccan witch, 2 anorexic teenagers, a middle-aged couple with an annoying dog, 3 young nerds aka The Lone Gunmen, a roof gardener, a dominatrix, and most recent, a middle-aged drunk. Each takes part in Corinna's efforts to solve several mysteries:
- a sudden epidemic of junkie deaths in Melbourne
- violent and threatening vandalism in Corinna's apartment building
- a missing abused girl

In the course of solving the mysteries, Corinna meets and befriends young waif Jase/Jason and the sexy Daniel, who will undoubtedly return in the series.

Corinna spends plenty of time baking, with tantalizing descriptions of her creations; a few recipes are included. Corinna's narrative is entertaining and challenging to read, chock full of references to Melbourne, current pop culture and classical literature. My book bristles with post-its (references to check) every few pages. Near the end, the main characters go to a Goth nightclub in costume, and the unusual experience is described in detail.

A few favorite quotes:
"I have a theory that kitchens, once they reach a certain level of complexity, attract new gadgets into their orbit, like planets."

"How that girl does it I do not know. All she has to do is stand still and gossip enters her skin by some sort of osmosis."

"Horatio strolled nonchalantly ahead of me, sniffing at the occasional bloom in the condescending manner of a lord mayor at a local flower show. One almost looked for the elaborate gold chain around his furry neck."

Although Corinna's last words are: "Memo to the universe re Corinna Chapman as an investigator: I quit", luckily for readers this is a series. I look forward to reading Corinna's continued adventures.
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