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The Chocolate Cat Caper

(A Chocoholic Mystery #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,863 ratings  ·  272 reviews
After giving up her career as a Texas trophy wife, 28-year-old Lee McKinney finds herself in a Michigan resort town, keeping the books for her Aunt Nettie’s luxury chocolate business. But she soon finds that her new life isn’t all truffles and bonbons!

Clementine Ripley, the defense attorney everyone loves to hate, is throwing a party that calls for several thousand dollar

Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 2002 by Mystery Guild Collection (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,863 ratings  ·  272 reviews

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Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
A very predictable and non-descript mystery. Everything is predictable about this novel. The murders, the murderers, the weapon, the motive everything even the romance is predictable.
But even then I would have been willing to give it three stars since it was an easy read and somewhat enjoyable. If not for the annoying non-consistent speech impediment or is it a brain impediment from the main character. When she is tense she says the wrong words, but when she is kidnapped all of a sudden she has
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Well, huh. I've been reading quite a few cozy mysteries lately. Why is it that the "heroine" of them all has just gotten out of an awful relationship and has moved back to a small town? I mean, I guess the small town is part of the cozy mystery genre, but do all the female leads have to be the same template? This one started out okay. I was kinda into it, though Lee kind of annoyed me. At least she wasn't short, like most of the heroines in these books. That's at least one difference. The culpri ...more
Sarah E.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since giving up on the Hannah Swensen murder mystery series, I have been looking for a replacement. Even if the books end up getting awful like Fluke's series did, at least I would have some to fill up the time or help me when I feel slumpy. Two of my favorite things are present here: chocolate and cats, so I thought it was a shoe-in. I am beyond disappointed and honestly, I'm downright irritated. Whoever let this get published, let it get published with SO many typos. One of the characters ...more
Moriah Venable
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After divorcing from her husband, 28 year old Lee McKinney moves back to Michigan to the small town of Warner Pier, to help her Aunt Nettie with her accounts of her chocolate business called TenHuis Chocolade. Her first week back, is very eventful. She brings the order of $2000 worth of chocolate to the town's defense attorney Clementine Ripley who everyone loves to hate. She goes to speak to Ripley's assistant who says she will give them a check, when Ripley's Visa Card is declined. At the hous ...more
Erin L
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to get to this book and I now regret that choice. Yes, it's the first in a rather lengthy series, but I enjoyed the characters and the setting for a cozy mystery. We get our typical small-town setting with a woman starting over after *insert life-changing moment here*. She's single, but not ready to mingle, and murder and mayhem make it even harder for her to consider flirting, yet apparently she manages it.

I didn't feel like the emotional side was as well developed as it could
Nice start for a new series

This is an easy summer read.
I liked the fact that the main character has a flaw. Malapropisms which causes her to sometimes say a wrong word if speaking to fast. This makes her human to me.

The writer has also has explained past relationships without going overboard and gives a good idea of the characters and town.

I enjoyed the trivia about chocolate that was included and will be reading the next in the series. Just to see if Lee might keep the cat. I can only hope.
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cats, chocolate....What more could you want in a cozy mystery? This one had even more, with a great cast of characters, an appealing setting, and an interesting storyline.

Lee McKinney was a likable main character, and I enjoyed getting to know her. Her Aunt Nettie was a wonderful supporting character, and there were other great ones that I won't name so as not to give anything away.

In this book, a famous, disagreeable defense attorney, Clementine Ripley, is preparing for a party when she is mur
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
This is the first book in the Chocoholic Mystery series by JoAnna Carl. I've read one other book in the series so far, and I think they are basically decent brain candy.

I love the chocolate as it's described in the story, although I am sure that it leads me to eat more of it. The little tidbits of information about chocolate are also interesting and the quiz at the end is entertaining.

The story was engaging, but I figured out what was going on from the beginning, which I cannot ever do with th
Mary Kay Kare
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
According to the website Stop, You're Killing Me, Carl is actually Eve Sandstrom. I read some of her earlier books and have been looking for more ever since so I jumped right on this. Big mistake. Apparently someone has been explaining to Sandstrom how you're supposed to write and the result is a book full of cliched characters and all the things I hate most in modern cozies.

My beloved spouse/relative/friend/yoga instructor is being framed! And the police are too stupid/lazy/corrupt to see what
Melvin Rodríguez-Rodríguez
There are three things every mystery needs: to be compelling, plausible and surprising. The Chocolate cat caper's plot is plausible, sometimes it's not that compelling and overall it's not surprising. The main character, Lee McKinney, is a Texas blonde that sometimes passes as a bit dumb and has tendency for malapropisms that's supposed to be funny but mostly distracts from the story. With the exception of the lovable and funny Aunt Nettie and her teenage employees, the rest of the characters ar ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I really enjoyed this book - its the first in this series, and I plan on reading more!

The way that the story includes a chocolate store and mentions different kinds of truffles was very make me hungry for chocolate! =)
I also enjoyed the chocolate trivia included in this book.

This book has a good mixture of mystery and a "new" romance. I also liked the way that the story had me guessing "who done it"..until the last few pages.
Kai Hunter
I read this book out loud to my mother over the phone for the Read Harder book challenge. It was a fine cozy mystery, but it made me want chocolate. I think we were on chapter three when my mom wondered who done it, so I told her who I thought and I was right. I was a bit miffed that the cat didn't play a bigger role in the plot, but you can't have everything. To sum it up, a nice cozy with a cat and chocolate.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
I felt that the characters were flat an not that interesting. I thought the ending was stupid, but as this is the first book in the series, I will consider reading at least book 2 and seeing if it get's better. This may simply been a case of "first book I ever wrote" syndrome and may get better as it goes on, or perhaps it never does. We'll see.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, meh
There's a single word to describe this first foray into the world of Chocolate cozy mysteries, and that word is..... meh. I cannot think of a word that better emcompasses how I feel about this book. Whenever I look at a cozy mystery they nearly all follow the same copy paste format. Divorced woman goes to move to x town to do x business. And this does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING DIFFERENT. The theme in this series is chocolate.
If I were to pick apart this one and find anything that differentiates it bet
Talia Colley
After Lee's divorce, she moves to Warner Pier, Michigan to keep the books for her Aunt Nettie's chocolate shop. When a famous criminal attorney falls over a balcony dead after eating one of Aunt Nettie's chocolates that Lee delivered, the chocolate shop and its employees are under suspicion. So Lee starts to investigate to find out who really killed Clementine Ripley. This is book one in the Chocoholic cozy mystery series, so there are lots of tidbits about chocolate included. I just wish I act ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: michigan
Recently divorced Lee McKinney has moved from Texas to the small resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan on Lake Michigan to get a fresh start in life and do the bookkeeping for her Aunt Nettie's gourmet chocolate shop. While helping to cater an event at a well known attorney's home, the attorney takes a tumble off a balcony and ends up dead. Everyone at the event is now a suspect, including Lee, as well as the attorney's ex-husband, Joe Woodyard, who Lee once had a crush on many years ago while vi ...more
Nicole Brown
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A cozy mystery that involves the delciousness of chocolate alongside a tongue-tied quirky heroine, Lee who proves that she's strong enough to meet the challenge.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
3.5 stars
Linda Spyhalski
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2020
This was a very easy and fun read! I especially enjoyed the chocolate trivia. This is the first in a series written by JoAnne Carl and was given to me by my sister!
Dawn Michelle
3 1/2 Stars
Read January 8, 2010

Cute book. Loves all the chocolate talk. Enjoyed the facts about it as well. And the mystery wasn't half bad either. I knew who had done it before the book ended (though it was a guess), but I didn't know why. And it took me awhile to get there because she wrote the story so well and through in a lot of red herrings.

Lee has moved back to Michigan from Texas (she left her rich husband and needed a new place to live) and has moved into her Aunt's house and has taken
This was the book selected for the October 2018 read for my cozy mystery book club. It did not appeal to me.

Several things put me off this book.

The main character, Lee, frequently says the wrong word. I found that grating. I suppose it makes her flawed, which is good, but it was awkward. And that affliction seemed to disappear at the end of the book. Hmmm . . .

There were many typographic errors in the text. Shoddy work.

The story was not compelling. While I pretty much figured the culprit out ea
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-cozy
Why read: Looking for more culinary inspired mysteries.

What impressed me: All you ever wanted to know about chocolate and more. For all that this book lacked in character development, it certainly proved the author's knowledge about chocolate, both its origins and the candy-making process. While I'll never be motivated enough to make my own chocolate, I really enjoyed reading about others doing it.

What disappointed me: This was a very short, and therefore not all that in-depth, book. 230 pages i
Apr 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Following her divorce, Lee returns to Michigan and the love of her aunt Nettie while she tries to get her life back in order. Nettie owns a luxury chocolate shop in the small tourist town. When a customer dies after eating a chocolate laces with Cyanide, Lee feels that she must get involved in the investigation to protect her aunt, herself and and the reputation of the shop.

This is a charming book. The first person narration is very chatty and readable. The characters are well developed and lik
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
I am fairly new to the cozy mystery genre and I was a bit disappointed in this first book in the Chocoholic Mystery series.

I found the author's writing style to be amateurish. The main character was not that appealing and her speech problem (she tends to substitute the wrong word when speaking) was annoying. Instead of being a sleuth and actively working on solving this mystery she seemed to blunder upon clues, often without even realizing that they were clues. The ending was awful. lol

I do ha
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Ok, I'm giving this 3 stars, because when I finished reading I felt fairly entertained. However, after only about 5 minutes of actual thought AFTER finishing the book, I realized that I felt rather cheated. I knew who the killers were from the very beginning of the book (read: before the murder even occurred), and further thought really just made me more and more frustrated with the idiocy or willful blindness of all the characters in failing to see it too. But, while that frustration makes me w ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
The descriptions of the chocolates were mouth wateringly delicious, the rest not so much. I didn't find myself interested in any of the stories characters and I found the heroine annoying. The author gave her a working memory disorder so she tends to use words inappropriately then correct herself. This combined with an over use of exclamation points and weird names (TenHuis Chocolate, Deputy Jerry Cherry) is jarring and makes for choppy reading.
The story moves like a Saturday morning cartoon. P
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
The best cozy I hated so much I only read about 20% before I stopped. Hated protagonist. Is the speech problem a real thing? If so I might have put up with book a little longer. It was so annoying and in ALL the dialogue, I couldn't take it. If author was just trying to be funny, she should have kept the impediment to a few surprising turn of phrase. Instead, I thought she was trying to impress us with a flurry of words for no purpose.

That said, I liked the setting, the plot and the other chara
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was the first book in the Chocoholic series which was recommended to me by a friend. I enjoyed it. The main character makes these word mistakes when she is nervous. At first I found it annoying but the author stressed it less as the book went on which made the character more enjoyable for me. I have the second and third books and am planning on reading them next.
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: murder-mysteries
This was a very good book.
It ran differently than Joanne Fluke and Diane Mott Davidson, but somewhat the same.
I really like the chocolate facts. I am hoping for a few small recipes, though, in future books.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I got a free copy of this book at a book fair. I chose it because it had chocolate and cat in the title - two things I love. I didn't expect much from it, but have to say that it was a fun read. I look forward to reading more in this series. Love the candy connection and the quirky characters.
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JOANNA CARL is the pseudonym for the multi-published mystery writer Eve K. Sandstrom. The author writes about the shores of Lake Michigan and has been reviewed in Michigan newspapers as a “regional writer.” She has also written about Southwest Oklahoma and once won an award for the best book of the year with an Oklahoma setting.

Eve K. Sandstrom is an Oklahoman to the teeth: she was born there, as

Other books in the series

A Chocoholic Mystery (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Chocolate Bear Burglary (A Chocoholic Mystery, #2)
  • The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (A Chocoholic Mystery, #3)
  • The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle (A Chocoholic Mystery, #4)
  • The Chocolate Mouse Trap (A Chocoholic Mystery, #5)
  • The Chocolate Bridal Bash (A Chocoholic Mystery, #6)
  • The Chocolate Jewel Case (A Chocoholic Mystery, #7)
  • The Chocolate Snowman Murders (A Chocoholic Mystery, #8)
  • The Chocolate Cupid Killings (A Chocoholic Mystery, #9)
  • The Chocolate Pirate Plot (A Chocoholic Mystery, #10)
  • The Chocolate Castle Clue (A Chocoholic Mystery, #11)

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